Groupon “looks good”…Not!

9 Sep

Criticism is inevitable.  You cannot expect everyone to like what you do or how you do it.  The question is: “How are you going to respond?”

Groupon has been under serious attack from the SEC and potential investors after the announcement of its upcoming IPO. Questions arose regarding Groupon’s liquidity and the SEC told Groupon to stop using a self-made sales metric called ACSOI (adjusted consolidated segment operating income).  In response, CEO and co-founder Andrew Mason decided to send an impassioned email to his employees. Unfortunately for Mason, the email leaked to the public.  Rather than quelling fears, Mason raised further concern about his stability as a leader.

Mason states in the first paragraph of his email, “The degree to which we’re getting the sh– kicked out of us in the press had finally crossed the threshold from ‘annoying’ to ‘hilarious’.”   He goes on to summarize four key “points of excitement” for Groupon.  While Mason was smart enough not to put every other word in all caps, he instead used an overly conversational tone that made him sound childish.    Co-producer and co-host of D: All Things Digital, Kara Swisher points out that Mason is really just trying to make his company seem good by saying “it looks good.”

The strategy did not work because Groupon canceled its IPO on Thursday. Furthermore, Groupon’s newly hired head of corporate communications, Brad Williams, quit about a week after the email was sent out. Mason must acknowledge, both to his company and to the public, that it does not “look good” for Groupon.  He must take a step back and lay out a plan to make real changes within the company. Until then, the public perception of Groupon does not “look good.”

by Sam Knopf


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