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United Breaks Guitar Case Memorandum

United Breaks Guitar Case Memorandum


Analysis of United Breaks Guitars Case Study

In reaction to Dave Carroll’s widely shared film, “United Breaks Guitars,” United Airlines showed both the good and bad sides of how businesses and individuals strategically cooperate in crises.

Positive Features:

Recognition of Error: United Airlines understood the significance of owning up to their error in breaking Dave Carroll’s guitar. Remorse and accepting responsibility for managing his baggage are essential to crisis management.

Public Apology: United Airlines demonstrated responsibility and transparency by apologizing. Customers’ trust can be regained by doing this since it shows that you are committed to making things right.

United Airlines made Dave Carroll an offer of compensation for the damaged instrument. This offers a concrete remedy for the issue and shows a desire to apologize.

Customer interaction: By answering Dave Carroll’s YouTube video, United Airlines had a direct conversation with him. This indicated that they were paying attention to their clients and proactively resolving the problem.

Negative Features:

The delayed response from United Airlines resulted in the video gaining substantial popularity and further harming the company’s brand. A speedier reply might have lessened the effect of the video.

Lack of Empathy: Despite providing compensation, there was a sense that United Airlines did not respond with much empathy. Since airlines are notorious for their stringent baggage regulations, a more considerate strategy would have been more successful in defusing the issue.

Failing to Prevent Escalation: United Airlines failed to take the necessary action to stop the situation from worsening to the point where a video became viral. Proactive baggage handling practices may have completely prevented this situation.

Limited Use of Social Media: To address the problem, United Airlines mostly turned to traditional media outlets. A more active presence on social media channels could have aided in managing the narrative and resolving customer concerns, especially considering the viral nature of the video on YouTube.

If I were to react to this circumstance differently, I might think of the following tactics:

Quick Reaction: To keep client complaints and concerns from worsening and turning into PR disasters, I would take immediate action. Minimizing bad press can be achieved by promptly acknowledging and resolving complaints.

Empathy and Understanding: Putting the customer’s irritation and inconvenience first in my response, I would focus on empathy. Exhibiting comprehension and a dedication to addressing the matter would be crucial.

Active Social Media Engagement: In light of social media’s importance in today’s communication environment, I would actively interact with clients on these channels to respond to issues and give timely updates. This would entail answering concerns on Twitter, YouTube, and other websites.

Proactive Steps: To lessen the possibility of harm to travelers’ items during luggage handling, I would invest in training and quality control to prevent such events. Problems are frequently better avoided than addressed after they arise.

In conclusion, there were advantages and disadvantages to United Airlines’ reaction to Dave Carroll’s film. Despite admitting their error, apologizing, and offering compensation, their apparent lack of empathy and slow response time hampered their crisis management attempts. To lessen the harm to their reputation, they should have been more active and sympathetic on social media and taken more proactive steps.

United Breaks Guitar Case Memorandum



1. Read the United Breaks Guitar Case

o You may also find the video referenced in the case at:

2. Answer the following question:

o Evaluate United’s response to Dave Carroll’s video. Please consider both positive and negative aspects. Would you respond differently? If yes, how?

? Be sure to think about how firms and/or individuals strategically interact


Please answer only the question that is asked.

Please limit your response to one page of single-spaced text or two pages double-spaced text and one page of exhibits (if applicable to making your argument).

o You may use any professional-style font in size 11 or 12.

You do not need to write background or executive summary. You can assume that I have read the case and will read your entire report.

Please do not copy exhibits from the case. Show only your own work in the exhibits.

  • No outside information can be used. Your submission should be based only on the materials provided in the United Breaks Guitars case.
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