162. The Flipkart cover – how do you measure
I have come to become a big fan of Flipkart in the last couple of months because I run a weekly quiz on twitter. Arguably the best Indian quiz on twitter – 4 times a month in terms of prizes. I give a way close to Rs 2,500 worth of e-vouchers to winners. The winners have the freedom to choose health and knowledge.
I have always had a good image of Flipkart the brand; Flipkart as a corporate did not concern me except that it was interesting to note that a former coworker recently joined them to head communications. But what made me look at them closely was the Forbes India cover page image. I tweeted about this cover to understand what people thought of it.
And I realised there were several others tweeting, discussing and commenting about the cover even before the magazine had hit the newsstands or subscribers mailboxes. This led me to ask myself several questions – Most important of all a) can earned media when negative be measured or for that matter can earned media be measured at all as we may like to believe? b) Is media the court of reputation where an issue or a brand gets a positive or negative verdict?
The other questions that came up were c) Why do magazines run such stories? d) Whom do these stories benefit? e) Does the headline – “India’s e-commerce darling headed for a fall?” along with the graphic change my perception as an ordinary customer of this brand or as a potential investor if the company goes public? f) Is this a favour Forbes India is doing to the promoters and investors at Flipkart to wake up and make things better? g) While the reputation does get hit in the short term will it be good for Flipkart to take this as a point to ponder and get its act together if what the story states is true?
The fundamental point is how does one measure such a media outcome? h) Was Flipkart expecting this cover to be the way it was? i) What could they have done differently to avoid a cover like this? j) Does corporate communications have a role to play in the whole scheme of things? k) Who takes the blame for a cover like this? or there is no blame game here and l) Lastly, what about the conflict of interest issue that has come up of Forbes having a sister brand that competes with Flipkart?
I will write 2-3 more blogs as the issue unfolds and as I get to read this story in the next week or two. My interest is at two levels. Firstly as a student of reputation management and secondly, the author of the story was a former co worker at my first work place and the head of corporate communications was a former co worker at my current work place and we have had common conversations in the past on Twitter on other issues.