How to Respond Correctly to a Major Reputation Crisis

From business meetings, classes, and webinars to social gatherings, birthdays, and weddings, many of our daily social interactions have suddenly moved to the Zoom platform.

In just two months, Zoom’s traffic has increased from 10 million daily users to 200 million.

Together with the increasing popularity of the app came the “Zoombombings,” consisting of uninvited participants who “crashed” video conferences, harassed users, and posted inappropriate content, which further exacerbated the public’s concern that personal information has been compromised.

The Outcome

Overnight, Zoom suddenly faced a major reputation crisis. The company was publicly criticized and threatened with lawsuits.

The damage caused by such a crisis can take years to fix, if the immediate response is not accurate. However, Zoom seems to be responding in the best possible way. The company did not become defensive nor did it ignore its clients’ concerns. Rather, its leaders took responsibility and reacted quickly and transparently.

The public heard directly from the CEO (Eric Yuan): “We recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s – and our own – privacy and security expectations. For that, I am deeply sorry, and I want to share what we are doing about it.”

The company took on a complete-transparency approach, explaining why and how these security breaches happened and how it is addressing them. Zoom also made sure to continuously update users about its action plan for the near future.

Restoring Trust

Let’s take a look at the communications initiatives Zoom has taken since the crisis broke. In addition to making visible privacy and security enhancements to the platform itself, the company took the following steps: 

An excerpt from an email sent by Zoom to its clients
An excerpt from an email sent by Zoom to its clients


Yuan took complete responsibility for the breaches, owning up to the fact that Zoom did not put enough emphasis on privacy and security settings in the past.


He addressed the public’s concerns personally by hosting “Ask Eric Anything” webinars, where he discussed security, privacy, data, and any other concerns raised by Zoom users.


He froze future feature developments in order to focus all resources into strengthening
the app’s security features—Zoom’s “90 Day Security Plan.”


Since the breach, Zoom has been publishing weekly progress reports on its blog. These include updates on new features and developments, schedules, and work plans as well as takeaways from the previous week’s development sessions.

As a result, Zoom is succeeding in slowly regaining trust and restoring its image.

 The Numbers Speak for Themselves


Zoom Stocks

When the crisis began, Zoom’s stock (ZM) dropped by approximately 28.7%, from a high peak of 159.50 USD to 113.75 USD. However, with Zoom’s initiatives and transparency, the stock rose back up and reached a new high of 164.60 USD (an increase of about 44.7% increase) in just two weeks.

How to Prepare for the Unexpected

In order to survive a reputation crisis, and restore trust, one needs to be honest and transparent while taking ownership of the problem, delivering on promises, and acting on values.

If you or your clients ever encounter such issues, here are some useful tips on how to tackle the situation:


Address hard questions internally so that you feel comfortable answering them externally. You don’t necessarily have to proactively answer every criticism or challenge thrown at you. It depends on the circumstances of the crisis, but by making sure that you are ready for every question by knowing what your stand is and how to express it, you earn the freedom to put yourself out there and take the necessary action with no fear.


Show you care by issuing a press release or addressing the situation through your website and social media platforms. It’s hardly ever a good idea to ignore the crisis completely. Your clients and partners, especially your most devoted and trusting ones, will want to hear your take on the situation. Respect their loyalty; give them a reason to stay on your side.


Reassure your audience and clients that you are 100% there for them regardless of your current crisis. Respond to all inquiries, questions, and comments on social media in a timely manner. The key is to be accessible, responsive, and on the radar.


Be proactive and take initiative. Reach out to your current clients and partners or conduct livestreams and webinars for Q&A. Do your absolute best to accommodate their needs.


Encourage your partners and clients to become your brand advocates during the crisis. Make it easy and worthwhile for them to provide testimonials and share personal stories on social media that contrast the slander.


Consult a professional about online crisis management.

There are many techniques and methods that can be implemented at a time of a crisis, but what’s certain
is that building trust and more importantly – regaining trust – is an essential process that takes time and effort.

If you have questions, concerns, or are in need of any advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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