Revolutionary Measures

easyBrand Damage?

Aircraft: Boeing 737-33V Airline: EasyJet Regi...

Like a lot of people I’ve been impressed by the current easyJet TV ads. Celebrating ‘generation easyJet’, the group of travellers that the airline claims was created due to its low fares and wide range of destinations, it is modern, engaging and aspirational. There’s no overt mention of price (in contrast to Ryanair’s pile them high and sell them cheap advertising), and the overall approach is grown up and comparable to ‘proper’ airlines. The message is travel with easyJet to do the things you love.

However in an age of social media and consumer activism advertising can’t trump reality. Two recent easyJet blunders threaten to undo the slick ads, damage its brand and put off prospective passengers.

Firstly, it initially refused to let a passenger who criticised it on Twitter board his flight. Lawyer Mark Leiser sent a tweet after his plane from Glasgow to London was delayed, potentially preventing a soldier on his way to active service reaching his base in Portsmouth. easyJet allegedly said they wouldn’t help pay for him to get to his destination. After tweeting Leiser was pulled out of the boarding queue and told by a manager that he couldn’t get on the plane as ‘you can’t tweet stuff like that and get on an easyJet flight.’ It was only when the manager found out that Leiser was a lawyer that they changed their mind and let him on. easyJet later apologised and denied that it was its policy to ban passengers based on what they’d said. However by then the damage was done as Leiser’s original tweets were shared around the world and then picked up by major media.

A couple of weeks later easyJet managed to leave 29 passengers behind even though they’d passed through the boarding gate and completed check-in (and had hold luggage on the plane). Interestingly statistics from YouGov found that nearly 10% of UK Twitter users heard about the story, showing the power of social media to spread bad news.

Obviously easyJet is not the only airline to suffer at the hands of social media. After BA lost his parent’s luggage, Hasan Syed invested in a campaign of promoted tweets focused on the airline’s target audience, leading to the #BASucks hashtag trending. Eventually BA customer service responded, apologising for not getting back sooner but (I kid you not) the global airline’s social media team only works 9-5. Like easyJet, BA has an ambitious new ad campaign out now, highlighting its “To Fly, To Serve” motto. No news on whether they are going to amend that to “To Serve (business hours only).”

easyJet has invested over £5m in its new ad campaign and I’m sure BA has spent a lot more. But it looks like a classic case of being distracted by shiny things. A much smaller investment in social media and staff training might not look as impressive, but in today’s world may well go a lot further.

October 16, 2013 Posted by | Creative, Marketing | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bubble trouble?

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Tomorrow (Thursday) sees the much trumpeted flotation of LinkedIn, which is tipped to value the company at £2.6 billion. And it is likely to be followed by a host of other social media sites, from Facebook and Twitter to the likes of Groupon and Zynga, with similar stratospheric valuations. You’d be forgiven in thinking the global recession was over as investors seem to be scrambling to throw money at anything vaguely social.

It does remind me a lot of the previous dotcom bubble (yes, I am that old) where the likes of Lastminute.com in the UK achieved market valuations greater than unfashionable bricks and mortar businesses such as British Airways.

The question a lot of commentators are asking is – are we in another bubble and what happens when it pops? I’m not an economist but when you look at LinkedIn, which has said it won’t make a profit in 2011 and see that it values it at 17 times 2010 revenues (Google by contrast is at six times revenue) I’d worry. Essentially you are taking a punt on LinkedIn extending its offering and delivering future profits to match the valuation and while it has a strong, differentiated, brand things can change quickly in social media. Just look at the plummeting fortunes of early stars MySpace and Bebo……………..

Enhanced by Zemanta

May 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 60 other followers