This week I'm dealing with a misresolved online reputation case by a brand that soon went from nowhere to sell more than 12 millions of euros in online training with a successful product... but an equivocal marketing.
If you have little time, I invite you to watch this one-minute video summary:
August 2019: MBA programs go into crisis
Before we go any further, and although it may seem very obvious, M.b.a. stands for "Master in Business Administration". It is a degree that has enjoyed a lot of prestige since its graduate students had no problem finding a good job.
Less than a year ago the magazine Forbes, in its US edition, the US edition of the world. USA, Warned:
“…For the second year in a row, even the top-rated business schools in the U.S.. USA. are beginning to report significant decreases in MBA applications, with double-digit decreases. Last year, the top ten business schools combined saw a drop of about 3.400 MBA applicants.
The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan experienced the worst drop, a decrease in the 8,5% of 3.485 to 3.188 Applications. Harvard fell 4.5%, UC-Berkeley Haas 7.5%, Wharton 6.7%, Stanford 4.6% and Stand 8.2%."
Possibly the rise of programs that have to do with digitization, but there are multiple reasons.
Deans attributed the decline to factors that include a strong US economy. But it's not the first time, who maintained the occupation, Trump's immigration rhetoric, the rising cost of the full-time MBA market title and cannibalization by the success of graduate degrees in business, MBA programs and other factors.
Four people seized the moment
Borja Adanero, together with Rafael Gozalo, Hugo Arévalo and Kike Corral had a different vision: Offer real experiences of entrepreneurs explained in testimonial key and video.
The result was the launch of ThePowerMBA, a practical video study program that you could follow from your smartphone. Different media report sales in a year close to 12 millions of euros, what makes this project one of the best business ideas of recent years.
The best? they took advantage of the "gap" left by the big business schools, in two respects: digital and "lean" model. As for digital, some schools could have their MBA version online, but not "digital native". According to his own publicity, "you can see it like a Netflix series”. As for lightness, you'll finish it in a few months, nothing to do with an official college MBA, approaching two years.
The Cost comes into play aggressively: 490For ThePowerMBA vs. several thousand euros (depending on the center) for a college-certified MBA.
At the outing, you think you have to applaud
And I applaud, of course. Today, create a "legal" business model that makes you make so much money in such a short time, at least he deserves my respects and congratulations.
I had the opportunity to "play" with his application from the hands of a friend who was pursuing it. And the truth is that Engages. Zero theory, real cases, real problems, real opportunities told by their illustrious- protagonists.
Ok, I must warn you that ThePowerMBA is not an MBA. It's not comparable, nor in terms of study methodology, Certification, hours of study, Validation... That doesn't make it a bad plan., But you can't compare. It's not a shortcut., it's another way, and leads somewhere else.
So where's the problem?
The truth is that after my trial, I was willing to "enroll". And I made the mistake of "leaving a cookie" entering your website, and the nightmare began.
Wherever it went, he kept finding me his ads, with flashy headlines, even wrong, of the type "Have you studied Elon Musk at ThePowerMBA?" Or also "Try the Master created by youTube creators for free, Tesla, Shazam... and starts to understand the business like them”. Finally, better not to opt for an ethics Nobel.
It became a Persecution, and all because I didn't correctly select cookies before entering their website. I was getting so much publicity in so many places that I had to ask every social network not to show me their ads anymore. The reason: appear too often. But they kept popping up. I finally had to use the reporting method spam.
So far, me keep popping up. I don't discuss the good idea, but as an advertising I do not approve of these aggressive techniques of growth hacking. It's more, I don't put you the link to their website because I appreciate you as a reader/reader of my website and I don't want you to suffer their persecution.
That's funny.: the reputation crisis came for another cause
However, it wasn't the unbearable aggressiveness of their marketing that brought them a few days ago their first reputation crisis. It was the testimony of a UX expert who complained of having created free content for the entity without appearing in the credits. And then, following the success of her video pill, they put it in place - without asking- as part of your team.
Here's the origin of the reputation crisis: a simple tweet from Carlos Sanchez @chocotuits, a Spanish product designer working in New York with UX user experience methodology (And by the way, Magnificent photographer).
Given the reaction @ThePowerMBA to my tweets yesterday, I think it's pertinent to tell what my complete experience with them has been.
— Carlos Sanchez (@chocotuits) June 27, 2020
Are companies prepared to respond to a reputational crisis?
On paper yes. But the reality is stubborn. And many companies continue to make mistakes that are dealt with in 1st Communication.
ThePowerMBA's problem was not Carlos' tweet, was a cluster of wrong answers, many of them managed via fake profiles generated by bots and, so, that instead of reducing the problem made it bigger.
The head of marketing itself (now it's called CMO) promised Carlos to remove the content (your video) from the web, thing he didn't do, because by going viral, some students communicated with Carlos by sending him screenshots of his video - which had not been removed-.
The matter went so far that even many people who had finished ThePowerMBA - and the enthusiasm led them to place it on their CV- ended up eliminating it out of shame? possibly.
I think in future MAPs (certificates) this case will be studied under the title "how not managing a crisis brand reputation".
Some key to avoiding reputational crises like this
Of course. You'll think that "a bull passed, we are all Manolete". But real-time MBA explores ways to prevent reputation crises, a simpler and less expensive strategy than addressing them when they have occurred.
- Naming: watch out for not confusing your audience. There are no MBA for 500 euros, so call it another way, because you can go from confusing to cheating.
- Marketing: I understand certain "aggressive" marketing techniques in the launch phase. After the initial phase, if the product is good - and in its realm it is- will move better in mouth-ear, so it's better to have a campaign aimed at students of the style "Member get member" or affiliation.
- Message: Is it so hard to call it "the favorite course of entrepreneurs"? Well, instead, they're using misleading advertising, as discussed above.
- Crisis communication: If you use bots, your code of ethics falls through the floor. If you give your face, don't do it to attack, it's better to take the mistake, Rectify, compensate who you have to make up for (doesn't come from there), and point the point of "rectifying is wise".
- The model of negocior Hifi. As you know, a hi-Fi hi-fi equipment sounds as good as the worst of its components. Well, with business models the same thing happens. Once a part makes water, the ship can sink. Beware that.
The thin line between success and failure
I think the creators of ThePowerMBA will move forward. The product is good, and its price justifies it. However, if I were the top boss, would change the entire marketing team and I would consider a rebranding with a serious company, as Grávita, for example.
A very thin line separates success from failure. It's good to keep active listening, leave the Arrogance sideways and keep in mind that David could with Goliath.
And speaking of Business Models, look at this online congress
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We started this 2020 with recession parameters. And if it was not enough, Covid19 arrived, that's still between us. Many business models are making water, either because of a lack of digitization or an unattractive value proposition, or for many other factors.
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This week the Personal Branding Strategy online course begins
To be exact, Thursday 9 of July the course begins at the University of Vic. All videos + PDFs, where teachers, and also tutors of the virtual area, we are Helena Casas And I.
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Have a nice week!!
Stock Photos from Sichon / Shutterstock