German brand Siemens is in a spot of trouble in China.
Well-known blogger Luo Yonghao is leading a crusade against the brand. Luo built his personal fury over a malfunctioning Siemens refrigerator into a avalanche of consumer outpouring. The outrage culminated with a number of consumers smashing Siemens products outside the brand’s Beijing headquarters.
Their complaint? The doors “are difficult to close.”[more]
It seems Siemens real fault appears to be that it ignored (or underestimated) Luo’s repeated online complaints about a lack of customer service when he complained about his product. Luo is no average consumer, but a well-known web celebrity in China who now boasts more than a million followers on Twitter-like social network Weibo.
The press showed up en masse for the event, compounding Siemens’ headache and creating a nationwide PR crisis it continues to deal with.
The lesson here is that Western brands with twinkles in their eyes at the prospect of the China market have to understand that its consumers can be every bit as volatile and socially savvy as, well, consumers anywhere else these days.
In fact, maybe more so, as the Shanghai-based DaVinci furniture brand recently learned.