Morey Creative Studios Blog

HubSpot's PR Lesson in Crisis Management

HubSpot's PR Lesson in Crisis Management

Jaime Franchi

Jaime Franchi
Published December 04, 2015

Last week, HubSpot – the foundation upon which most of the client work at Morey Publishing rests – was acting quite glitchy.

There were some significant delays. For one of our clients, data entered onto time-sensitive applications that should have been expedited immediately were delayed up to approximately seven hours. For other clients, workflows were delayed, affecting user experience. Some form fields that are typically automatically exported, had to be inputted manually.


But not the end of the world.

What helped us effectively communicate with our clients and weather the inconveniences of this glitch-storm was the flawless-and open- communication from the mothership. HubSpot’s  continual “trust” updates and ultimately this message, helped us navigate this rare pitfall.

HubSpot didn’t avoid the issue. They didn’t stonewall their clients with evasive answers or excuses. They misjudged how a migration of information from one database to a new upgrade would affect the entire system.

And they owned it. Early and often.


“It’s been a tough week here at HubSpot, but even a tougher week for you, our customers,” a statement sent to partners by HubSpot founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah began. “A planned database upgrade went terribly wrong in recent days, leading to significant downtime and frustrating outages for many of you, for much of the week. We are very sorry to have let you down.”

It was a relief to know exactly what was happening and that they were handling it, that they took the issue and our concerns seriously. It was a PR lesson in crisis management.

For some of us older folks, it brought to mind the Tylenol disaster and how that set the bar for how to handle a PR crisis. In 1982, seven people in Chicago died as a result of tampering with Tylenol capsules. The capsules were filled with lethal amounts of cyanide, causing Tylenol to face a dilemma: what to do in the immediate aftermath, and how to restore consumer confidence. The way they handled the first directly affected how the public embraced the second.

Johnson & Johnson immediately removed all Extra-Strength Tylenol from the shelves across the country, resulting in a $100,000,000 net loss. By putting the public's safety first, and being open about the dangers of the tampering, consumers were ready when they reintroduced the product to market later, with thoughtful measures taken, like triple-seal tamper resistant packaging (the first company to comply with an FDA mandate of such packaging) and replacing capsules with caplets.

HubSpot didn’t kill anyone.  However, it was a serious enough screw up to warrant them coming clean.

We love working with a company that has such a commitment to transparency and openness. As a growing leader in digital-age marketing, HubSpot is part of the new defining culture of tech, showing the world how to get things done the right way.

And when they don’t, how to treat their partners with the intrinsic values at the core of their credo: with respect, sincerity, and heart.

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