Earlier this week (12 November 2013), a Singapore blogger named Janice Leong was alleged to have threatened a Hair Salon with negative publicity if the Salon did not respond to her emails seeking sponsorship.
In response to the blogger's threats, the Salon owner made public the threat on several social media platforms which has since gone viral and has netizens flaming the blogger for her apparent sense of self-entitlement and gall to demand free services. The latest twist is that the blogger is now claiming that her accounts had been hacked and that she did not send the emails.
While many have been quick to condemn Janice Leong and her alleged actions, like Cadence Cherry I think that the Salon's response was over the top and designed more as a publicity stunt than as a reputation protection measure. I akin the Salon's actions to a school yard bully who deliberately shames the new kid in school who dared to sit on the bully's favorite seat.
While I am a strong believer that all publicity is good publicity, and I will actively seek it to advance my client's interest, there are however some lines I would not cross. "Destroying" someone to advance your own business is simply bad karma. In my opinion, the Salon's vindictiveness reflects the poor value system of its management and while I am currently not a customer of Salon, after this incident, I will never be one.
From a crisis communications perspective, the key lesson to take away from this incident is that the response to a reputation attack must be proportionate.