Travel & Tourism: KLM

We’ve been talking about running different themes here at the ‘heads of late and one that continually pops up over and over is that of Travel and Tourism; who’s engendering positive word of mouth and who isn’t.

Not one to focus on the negatives, I thought I’d kick this session off with a focus on my favourite social-airline; KLM.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (to it its full name) has been playing around in social for a few months now and their activities to date really are quite interesting. Rewind back to December last year and you’ll find this delightful ‘social (media) experiment’ around putting smiles back on the faces of KLM’s travellers.

I’ve talked about ‘Surprise and Delight‘ before and how brands (big and small) can reap success in this area; believe it or not, creating smiles and happiness is a fantastic way to build both customer loyalty and positive conversation.

The great thing about KLM is, they didn’t stop there. After testing the water with the above marketing campaign, they then added social to the care side of the business – with their ‘Extended Service on Social Media‘ initiative.
To quote:

“Want to get that seat by the window, rebook your ticket, or find out how to bring your surf board? Tell us on Facebook, or send us a ‘tweet’!

Ask your question on any day of the week, between 8:00 and 23:00 hours, and we will reply within the hour.

Requests such as rebooking your flight, we try to arrange for you within 24 hours. By using “instant messages” or private messages, your personal data remain protected.”

Good job guys.

Finally, to top it off, last week they launched this neat little viral video to demonstrate the new space available in their business class section.

Being charming, funny, informative and coming in at 1min 40s precisely, the video hits the sweet spot just right. So that’s Marketing, Care and now Comms; all covered off with smart use of social media.

And why? To create positive word of mouth, brand loyalty and of course, ultimately – an uplift in sales.

KLM – we salute you.

1000heads: Using insights to engage niche audiences

We like a good case study here at 1000heads and, having wrapped up some work with Sainsbury’s recently, we thought we’d take you one of our latest efforts.

1000heads is built on three core competences; understanding, ideas and relationships. Each one of those areas of expertise has a direct link to the different units within our business and, each one of those supports the other with their own unique work. Montoring to analysis, analysis to insights, insights to activation, etc etc…

You’ll see what we mean shortly 🙂

Onto the case study.

View more presentations from 1000heads .

Through understanding (we miss our food!) we formulate ideas (let Sainsbury’s give it back to you!) that ultimately build relationships between people and brands (positive word of mouth + recommendation = sales).

If you’ve read this far, why not leave a comment? 🙂

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

While it’s easy to give We Are Social (WAS) a right good pasting over their handling of the Eurostar debacle over the weekend – let’s put things into perspective.

For starters: less than 24hrs after the whole thing started playing out, there was a video response from the Eurostar CEO himself, Richard Brown. This is not something to be sniffed at kids.

A video apology, delivered via YouTube, to the LittleBreak website in the form of a blog post. In this day, that is a feat in itself.

How many other CEOs of train operators could you name who would consider doing that (outside of a BBC interview)?  Seriously?

Please do not think for one second that I’m making light of all those people trapped on the train/in the tunnel/in folkestone for God knows how many hours – I’m not.

But look at it like this – if the CEO had put that video up within, say four hours of the incident taking place, how easy would it have been to cry:

“OMG! What is he doing wasting time posting on a blog? He should be out there dedicating his time to getting those people out!”

WAS were originally (I assume), hired to create sales and conversation around ‘little breaks’ – facilitated, naturally, by Eurostar. Note: This would mean working with Eurostar’s Marketing and PR team, not their Customer Care dept. Whether or not the addition of a reactive care stream to We Are Social’s (now ongoing?) brief is the mark of a bad agency remains to be seen.

What isn’t necessary – in my opinion at least – is playing the blame game when it comes to addressing ‘twitter concerns’.

Remember – this happened on a Friday night and played out over the midnight hours. Come Saturday morning, the problem was still going on. I know I (at least try to) take weekends off sometimes, I’m pretty sure others do too. But, when the call came in, the WAS guys got themselves over to Eurostar HQ pronto and were camped out there from midday onwards.

By the end of play, they had that video up.

If care was part of the package then someone SHOULD have been online.
It wasn’t, so there wasn’t.

The end.

A Hero’s Quest: Launching a TV channel in 2009

Back in the Spring, I attended a launch party for a new free-to-air digital channel called Quest TV.

Unfortunately, due to some last minute complications, the launch was inexplicably delayed and is now scheduled to go live tomorrow instead.

What follows it the post I wrote on May 22nd. Most of the points still stand so I have no qualms about dusting it off and finally publishing.

Your thoughts and comments, as always, are welcome.

Enjoy.

______________________________________________________________________

Hero Quest was one of my favourite board games when i was a kid. Yeah you had your Monopoly and your Cluedo, but when it came to getting your Wizard on (and if D&D was too complicated) then Hero Quest was the way to go…

Last night folks, I attended the launch party for Quest TV.

With previews of programs such as Heli-loggers, Rescue Me and the old school Mission Impossible, the whole package was delivered in a jaunty, rather tongue-in-cheek but seriously amusing way.

However, because of the trek down to London from my office in Marlow however, I was late and arrived just as they were showing the channel’s idents. These I thought were quite clever and the scope to expand on them is definitely there, but we’ll come back to this one later.

As the evening went on I was introduced to a couple of representatives from Discovery – the television company behind Quest TV, and we spoke about how/why the social media outreach had been done specifically for this Quest TV’s launch. Aside from the low-cost aspect (and subsequent potential ROI), they insisted it was mainly stemmed from their desire to try something different.

A courageous move for sure and one that should be applauded. What with there being no real case studies to point to (regarding successes/failures with new ‘old media’ channel launches), they have carte blanche to pretty much do as they please. New TV Channels are a rarity here in the UK, so it’ll be interesting to see how they move this forward; it was noted at the time that the worst thing they could possibly do right now, would be to reach out… and then walk away.

Social media isn’t a channel, it’s the nonsense term applied to all things conversational and online, (these days I’ve taken to calling it ‘the web’), however – sticking to that principal – the web isn’t just another channel either. It opens up a world of interactivity and engagement which has never been seen before, especially in the world of ‘old/traditional’ media.

The idents that I touched upon earlier, are a great example of how the web could be used to further their brand.

Here’s a selection of the ones they had on show last night:

Not bad at all.

I can totally see an online campaign which involves viewers at home producing their own Quest TV idents. The ones shown above are short, fun and relatively easy to make. Why not further the conversation by reaching out to your own ‘users’ to help build the Quest TV brand?

Or, maybe ask viewers if they are on some kind of quest themselves. I’m reminded of the Britglyph project which famously had a mad Scotsman take part by placing his own rock in the rain in the middle of the night.
Hilarious, but awesome.

If that was online, what kind of scope do we have with TV?

Like I said the channel launches tomorrow and it seems Quest have already dipped their toes in, let’s see if they’re ready for a swim.

MIR: A tech evangelist’s perspective on the o2/CPW saga

Please note: It must be pointed out for reasons that will soon become clear that the following is my own personal opinion and not necessarily those of my employer, SpinVox.

Hello folks,

If you haven?t read Ben Jennings? excellent post on his view of how to deal with the iPhone debacle, then go and do that now.

This post is related.

How?

…I’ll tell you.

It was with great interest that I read Ben?s three step proposal for dealing with said horrifying iPhone badness. All three steps were interesting but for me, it was step two that really made me sit up and pay attention?

For those of you that missed yesterday’s piece ? here?s the part I?m referring to:
?Step 2: Hire an Evangelist.

Ben writes:
This only needs to be one person. Heck, they could even be a student, as long as they have the right information. Maybe they could run the information page [in step 1] too. This person?s role would be to engage with the customers on the O2 forums. Wouldn?t it be fantastic if CPW had forums too? Are CPW even aware that they are being talked about on O2?s forums just because there is nowhere else for this conversation to take place? The evangelist would be an invaluable tool to act as a barometer of what are the specific hot issues. The evangelist would also make the customers feel like they were being listened to, rather than ignored. They could even Twitter updates to gain that Web 2.0 cool.?

Why am I interested in this?

Well this actually makes up a part of what I do for SpinVox and, hand on heart, I honestly have NO IDEA why other companies/brands, big and small aren?t following suit.

There really is NO EXCUSE for not at least listening to the web to find out what people are saying about you, your products, you level of customer service, your shops… Basically, if anyone out there is saying ANYTHING about you, you can bet your bottom dollar they’re saying it online.

“Well that’s lovely James, well done. But CPW is everso slightly different from SpinVox…” I hear you cry.

Yes… and no.

Admittedly, not every company is like SpinVox and I do not pretend for one second to have a single clue about the inner workings of Carphone Warehouse, however what I do have is a certain amount of knowledge about being a Product Evangelist.

And rule number one? LISTEN!

OK, so it would seem that someone out there at O2/CPW is obviously ?listening? to the web, (or maybe just to Ewan), or else I doubt very much Dan Lane would have his iPhone activated right now, (which he does by the way ? in case you were worried).

But knowing how to engage with your community once the listening period has begun can be a fantastic way to circumnavigate these kinds of troubles and tribulations.

I cannot imagine for a second that someone, somewhere along the line at O2 and/or CPW didn?t put their hand up in THAT meeting and say:

?Err? But what if it all goes wrong??

What IF it all goes wrong? It DID all go wrong!

Fair enough, it?s going to take some balls for someone to say:
?Well it?s alright, we?ve got an Evangelist, it’ll be fine!?

But by having one as part of an over-arching customer service team (aligned with the PR and the Tech Teams) can and will make all the difference. Hell, why not make it part and parcel of the lead up to launch?

At least those savvy enough to know about said person/representative will know they have someone to turn to who isn?t bound by a single ?Failed Security Check? message.

Like Ben says, an evangelist can help the customers feel like they are being listened to rather than be ignored.

Having sales folk in-store? Standard.

What about on the end of your customer service line? Yep. Got that.

Ok, so how about ONLINE?

….Anyone? Hello?!

Having a reputation manager, product evangelist, community manager, customer champion, social media manager or just ANY kind of digital representative that can talk to your customers for you can and WILL make SO MUCH difference to your online reputation!

If CPW had their own forums then they could?ve redirected their complaints to the static info page that Ben laid out in Step 1, (see post referenced at the beginning of this one). If they had their own representatives on those forums then they could feed back live information.

Hell, it doesn?t even to be their forums. They could trawl the o2 ones!

Also, being an evangelist isn?t just about talking up your stuff all over the place (online and off), it?s about being a trusted face and a trusted place. The first port of call not just should anything go wrong, but also for potential customers, partners or even just for those who are looking for information about you.

(A recent SV example from a day or so ago can be found here, on Twitter).

Sticking with the point – if the CPW website is broken? Get to X.

Oh, not happy with the CPW customer service? You should drop a note to X.

Having trouble with that thing you bought from CPW? You should follow X, (s)he’ll help.

These are all examples where an evangelist would help your brand reputation.

Something, ANYTHING to calm those folk down who think they?ve been misled, cheated, defrauded, messed around, screwed over? (do I need to go on?) ?by CPW (and/or O2).

This isn’t rocket science folks and I am most certainly not revealing nuclear codes here –
A simple Google Alert will tell you who?s talking about you RIGHT NOW.

“It can’t be that simple James!” – No really.

It is THAT SIMPLE.

I just set one up for Carphone Warehouse, (set to ‘as-it-happens’) and within minutes I got a ping?

The first link points to the second link, the second link look something like this:

Familiar story huh?

Well how about hiring an evangelist to monitor this stuff?

To reach out to these disgruntled bloggers and say something like:
?Hi Tom
Look, we messed up. Big. We are REALLY sorry. In equal measure we also REALLY want you to get your iPhone. I honestly do not know when we will be shipping your iPhone 3G out to you, but if you?d like to email me your details I will do my best to find out what the current state of play is regarding your account.
Yours,

John Smith
CPW Evangelist?

Reasonably simple; make it personal, reach out to your critics and let them know they are being heard.

Help them understand that you are here to help and yes, even humans mess up sometimes.
Fingers crossed, Tom?s account details would be passed back, a rapport would build, information would be shared and the next thing you know you might even have a fan who?s happy to tell the world that actually, yeah CPW got it wrong.. but y’know what, they ARE trying to get things done.

CPW, if you’re listneing, engage your online community and ignore them at your peril.

And if you want to tack a bit of science on the end of that just to really hammer it home:
Recent studies show that the internet is the most influential medium when it comes to consumers purchasing decisions; twice as strong as that of Television and almost eight times the influence of traditional printed media.

Source – http://pov.fleishman.com/blogs/fhsocialnetwork/2008/06/new_research_reveals_the_impac.php

Here endeth the lesson.