Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bedok Residences Queue: Real Interest or Marketing Gimmick?

Some have begun questioning whether the demand for units at Bedok Residence was genuine or merely a publicity gimmick.  These doubts were raised when it was reported in The Straits Times that some students and foreign workers were paid to wait in line.

In response to these questions, CapitaLand's CEO Wong Heang Fine issued a response via the Straits Times forum page.  Wong's response essentially said that "by 5 pm of the first day, 350 of the 450 units released for sale was sold," which thus supports the view that "the queue comprises genuine prospective buyers."

From the crisis communications perspective, while I assess that CapitaLand correctly identified stakeholders' concerns and managed to address it via direct refutation using facts, I however feel that CapitaLand 's response could have been raised a notch if it had first empathized with the stakeholders.

This is because I strongly believe that every crisis is both a threat and opportunity.  Seeking first to build empathy before delivering your message will build valuable reputational credit and position CapitaLand as the developer of choice.  In short, paid publicity is expensive and companies should seek to integrate its marketing and communications functions to leverage on each other.

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