Hicksville, N.Y. - The battle between the board of Men’s Wearhouse and its founder and former chairman, George Zimmer, continues to have a significant negative impact on the company’s online image. According to a report by GenSent Insights, the company’s sentiment score, a measure of the tone surrounding a brand on a scale of -100 to +100, plummeted from an average of + 68 in mid-June to a low of -52. The sentiment on Twitter alone fell from an uncommonly high score of +93 to a low of -80.
The online buzz surrounding the story has been substantial, according to GenSent Insights. On June 19, the day Zimmer’s termination was announced, total online mentions rose 8,657% to more than 12,000. Additional spikes in online volume also were experienced on June 24, the day Zimmer resigned from the board (2,253 total mentions) and June 25, when the company provided a detailed explanation for the termination (8,500 total mentions).
“Prior analysis of crisis situations have shown that the best response is to act quickly and decisively to resolve the controversy,” said Don Damore, president of GenSent Insights. “ Prolonging an issue only delays the recovery of a brand’s image. Once online conversations are focused on normal business again, the company’s sentiment score will return to pre-crisis levels.”
At the time of the termination announcement, public sentiment was overwhelmingly in support of the founder and former chairman with such tweets as:
“George Zimmer ousted at Men’s Wearhouse: Say it isn’t so!"
“End of an Era: Men’s Wearhouse fires George Zimmer, its founder and mascot”
“Men’s Wearhouse fires chairman George Zimmer abruptly 40 years after he set up chain”
However, after the detailed explanation for the termination was released by the company, public sentiment, while still negative overall, became mixed:
“After losing boardroom battle, former Men’s Wearhouse chairman George Zimmer plotting counterattack”
“Men’s Wearhouse founder Georg Zimmer tried power grab”
“The Lesson from George Zimmer’s firing: keep control”
“Men’s Wearhouse escalates battle with founder George Zimmer, but are they winning the fight with shoppers?”