Old story; Facebook face-off forces HSBC PR climbdown

students.jpg Brandishing their red-brand flags, HSBC PR staff tried valiantly to repel the student hordes. (Or maybe this shot was from Greece and originallly posted by the tothebarricades blog.)

Earlier this month,
Facebook was used as a stakeholder lobby tool
when HSBC was forced to scrap interest charges on graduate accounts (£148 a year) after a “viral campaign” by student protesters.
The HSBC plans kinda made a mockery of the awowed aims stated on the education part of its Corp Social Responsibility-section website:
Nurturing talent
Direct funding
Involving our employees
Positive attitudes
Local solutions for local needs

Back to HSBC’s Facebook fiasco, students intended to turn up in large numbers at HSBC branches in university towns, forming long, interruptive ‘flash-queues’ at service counters, each asking the same repetitive questions. (Just like they do in takeaway food shops after a big Friday night out!). BOOM BOOM!
The splendidly-named Johnny Chatterton, apparent instigator of the Facebook face-off idealistically commented: “This is a warning to all banks. Consumer power via the net can force big companies to listen to, and respect, customers.”
As a result, HSBC’s PR people have now entered dialogue (as opposed to doing it from the start). HSBC’s Andy Ripley crawlingly admitted “This has been helpful in understanding customers.” Well, Andy, it wouldn’t take a genius to understand that people all over the world are sick of big bank rip-offs, of which your aborted student fees was obviously another example.

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