Today it was announced that Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post, will be taking the lead on Uber’s PR strategy, sitting on the board of directors after a disastrous year so far for the company’s public image.
In recent months, Uber have battled with claims of stealing self-driving technology from Google, as well as a serious of allegations of sexism and sexual assault throughout the organisation. Last month, the CEO of Uber Travis Kalanick resigned in response to key investors pleading for a change in leadership, however he remains on the board of the company.
Where does communications come into this? As the new face of the company, Ms Huffington said, “the goal should be not just to fix Uber but to fix the systemic culture of Sillicon Valley”. But from a PR perspective, how easily can this be fixed?
PR is no longer seen as an add on to a company, it should be involved in an organisation’s strategy from the very beginning. The culture deciphers the communications, and after a global communications crisis takes place, it’s often difficult to regain trust from the public. This is where a new PR strategy is vital. Can Arianna change the views of the many people around the world who are openly boycotting Uber and their new service Uber Eats?
It’s not just the customer that is important. Internal audiences are vital, and if employees are unhappy within a company, the business is unlikely to be as successful. Let’s hope that Arianna can get to the core of the company to change the way customers feel about the business.
Fiona Reyner, assistant account executive @mucklemedia