Social Marketing 101 – Case Study @Uber_Sydney – DONT RAISE PRICES DURING A HOSTAGE SITUATION

I check the news every night, day, and morning on Twitter (yes, in that order).

You may know why, and if you don’t, you should…

it’s because Twitter is a blazing fast information path.


For business these days, being on top of what is going on around the world, and the potential of breaking world news impacting your business reputation in all ways, is ESSENTIAL. It has become Social Marketing 101, and perhaps #1 on that list of 101, is for big business to employ a REAL person to monitor BREAKING WORLD NEWS on Twitter… 24/7.


This morning’s news is a perfect example of why –

Case Study @Uber_Sydney and the Hostage situation –

Sydney, Dec 15, 2014


As I write, it is currently hitting midnight in Sydney Australia. When I woke, I found out about the hostage situation through this post on Twitter:

CNN Hostage report 1

The next post I read was this:

KTLA Uber post

I responded with:

Bad Business Uber

To which Uber Sydney responded:

Uber response

During the time BEFORE Uber responded to my Tweet, I had already posted the following to my Linkedin and my several Twitter accounts:


And then I saw the Uber response and decided to sit down and write this article…

BECAUSE there is no better teacher than reality.


So the lesson here? “Automated” may not always be better than human control?


(but a definite yes…as a secondary consideration)

The lesson here is that if Uber Sydney had not had REAL people watching their social media, aka Twitter, in REAL-TIME at MIDNIGHT in Sydney, they would never have been given the excellent opportunity to catch the blazing fast Twitter PR negative that was about to go viral on them around the world

(and probably still will)

AND turn it around into a social media PR positive by immediately correcting the situation and offering FREE rides to counteract their “automated system’s” fatal un-human-ated PR blunder of upping pricing during a Hostage situation in Sydney.


To summarize:


Social Media Marketing 101 – Crisis Situation

  1. Social media has made marketing to the world easier than ever before
  2. A crisis situation happens in real-time and the world is made aware in near real-time thanks to social media platforms like Twitter
  3. Automated systems do not have the ability to adjust for necessary empathy and compassion under such crisis circumstances
  4. Lack of empathy by corporations in a crisis situation is a MAJOR PR BLUNDER and will be announced to the entire world via Twitter at blazing fast speeds
  5. Adjusting for PR blunders, such as offering FREE rides to counter-act a hike in ride pricing because of automated surge demand response, is an EXCELLENT PR OPPURTUNITY
  6. Even though technology and Twitter have brought the world to its knees in speed and efficiency, NOTHING will replace the need for an appropriate LIVE human generated empathy response to a real-time, real-world crisis, redirecting negative PR into positive PR on social media.

 Hostage Uber string