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OYO attempts to create safe online space with new campaign

The video highlights harassment women face online, especially on the brand's social media channels, and demonstrates appropriate responses.

'Social media is full of beautiful people, and some not so beautiful trolls', reads the description on OYO's new YouTube video. The theme of the initiative by OYO's online relationship management team is creating a safe online space for women. This might be a tall order, considering the amount of harassment that women tend to face in the cyberspace on a daily basis. But in cases like these, it's the effort that counts.

The video plays out from the point of view of a male Instagram user, who's aimlessly scrolling through the platform. He lands up on OYO's Instagram page, which happens to feature photographs of female models and influencers in picturesque locations. Throughout the video, the user continues to type unsavoury comments on various photos (he doesn't post them though) and at the end, we see that they're inspired by real comments posted on OYO's various social media channels.

The second half of the video features OYO's team calling out these harassers, suggesting that they could post polite responses, instead. Interestingly, a commentator points out that the identities of the harassers hasn't been protected. This could possibly be an attempt to hold people more accountable for their actions online.

In the video, OYO admits that it all began as a Women's Day initiative, but has now led to a change in policy within the organisation. Instead of responding to harassers as a one-off activity, OYO claims that it is now going to undertake this activity on a daily basis. The video also claims that the activity led to an improvement in behaviour on OYO's social media channels. Some users, in fact, deleted their comments, and the company saw a 42 per cent drop in negative sentiment towards the brand over a period of 11 days.

Mayur Hola, Head of Global Brand - OYO Hotels & Homes mentions that its difficult to come across a woman who hasn't faced online threats, harassment or trolling in her life. "We have to ask ourselves how we, as responsible members of society are tackling this menace. This was the driving force behind this initiative," he says.

“As a hospitality chain, it is our responsibility to provide safe spaces for all our guests and especially women, be it offline at our hotels and indeed online on our social platforms. With this core thought, we mobilised ORM(Online Relationship Management), usually, a function that deals with consumer complaints and transformed it into a first responder that supports women and corrects lewd behavior. This campaign started out as a Women’s Day initiative and has now become a policy at OYO. We are now tackling this issue on a daily basis by identifying lewd trolls targetted towards women and schooling them through positive reinforcement," explains Hola.

Mayur Hola
Mayur Hola

Hola adds that a brand has to influence behavior, both within the organisation as well as our consumers or external audience. "We as a brand want to set an example and not stay at the surface level. In the past couple of weeks since this has gone live, there’s been a significant drop in online harassment of women on our platforms. Similarly, we will continue to mobilise every part of our organisation to address various issues that exist in the social media world. This is a first but important step in tackling lewd behavior against women,” he says.

Also Read: “I don’t think brands should be focusing on moment marketing at all”: OYO’s Mayur Hola

This is the first of OYO's communication, in a while, that isn't related to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Talking about how the role of a marketer has changed in these difficult times, Mayur Hola, head of global brand, OYO Hotels & Homes, said, in a recent interview, that marketers should now be focusing on cementing relations with consumers. “Brand thinking in times of COVID-19 should focus on the health of the brand. And I don’t think brands should be focusing on moment marketing at all for now,” he signs off.