For a team that is trying to hunt for a white knight to save its company from a Rs 3300 crore loss, a cruel joke is the last thing they needed this weekend.
It all started with a call to boycott and uninstall the messaging chat app Snapchat after its CEO Evan Spiegel was accused of saying that he didn't want to expand to 'poor nations' like India and Spain.
It sparked off a boycott movement for 'Snapchat' but caught unaware in this storm was the Indian e-commerce portal 'Snapdeal'. Social media users are mistakenly downloading Snapdeal app, down rating its services and threatening to stop using it.
"People asking us to make statement that @snapdeal is not @snapchat was possibly the last thing I thought I would ever need to do," tweeted Kunal Bahl, CEO, Snapdeal.
Timing couldn't have been worse with Snapdeal trying to evaluate merger offers from Paytm and Flipkart. Though the team is yet to comment on any financial losses from this confusion, it is dealing with a flurry of media queries.
"We are getting non-stop calls since Sunday evening. I have never seen this kind of social media outburst for a wrong news," said an official from Snapdeal.
"While Snapchat took a weekend to give clarification, you have Snapdeal team reacting instantly and quelling the controversy. So, I don't think there will be any impact on Snapdeal. Meanwhile, what Snapchat needs to learn is the 'power of now'. How the social media reacts fast and you have to move as information comes real time," said Dilip Cherian, Image Guru.
Looking at the lighter side, the Snapdeal CEO has reposted social media parody tweets too. He re-tweeted a message from @filtercopy which has a scene from Queen with a message 'We feel you, Snapdeal'.
The ridiculousness of the situation aside, this snippet is funny beyond belief. https://t.co/G2oEomZjQh
; Kunal Bahl (@1kunalbahl) April 16, 2017
And then from @thekartikkhanna, Gotta feel for @snapdeal. I think we all should contribute and buy this 'Plushie' in support for the founders, tweeted Bahl.
; Kartik Khanna (@thekartikkhanna) April 17, 2017
"There need to be checks and balances in social media as well. One person does it and the rest follow. While a clarification can come in a while and controversy is sorted, the immediate impact is for the brand to bear," said Renu Aggarwal, Principal Consultant, Wazir Advisors.
Come to think of it, Snapchat could take a cue from its crisis in 2015. Snapdeal's then brand ambassador Aamir Khan's remark on intolerance debate had unleashed a social media storm. Snapdeal not only scrapped Khan's contract but pumped in Rs 200 crore for a brand makeover too after the incident.
Commenting on the controversy, Aniruddha Atul Bhagwat, Co-Founder and Director Ideosphere Consulting said, "Snapdeal distancing themselves from comments made by their then brand ambassador and subsequently, choosing not to renew Aamir Khan's contract was a demonstration of the ideals the brand believes in, and this showed the brand's users that they are associated with principles and one that will stand up for what they believe in. Things will be said, misconstrued, and at times even meant in a state of frustration, but this can be a double-edged sword for any brand. A brand that responds swiftly will be respected, and a brand, which does not even choose to react, will see its brand image erode, and therefore, its business."