Ever since Oreo tweeted that clever “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet during the Super Bowl power outage, brands have been looking at ways to capitalize on current news stories in social media. Most of them have failed, some miserably.
Real time marketing is apparently a tactic that includes a high level of risk.
Clever video from the 2014 World Cup by Stabilo
Sometimes though, organizations do manage link their brands to breaking stories in a positive way, like with this brilliant video from Schwan-STABILO, the German manufacturer of for example Stabilo Boss highlighter pens.
During the already classic 2014 FIFA World Cup game between reigning champions Spain and the Netherlands, Dutch forward Robin van Persie scored a wonderful diving header to level the score 1-1. The Netherlands turned the game around and beat Spain 5-1 in spectacular manner.
Stabilo immortalized the flying dutchman’s goal be recreating it in a flipbook video made with Stabilo pens. Very clever:
I have received a sneak preview of the latest results from Socialbakers, regarding the results of the top brand Facebook pages in Sweden for May 2014. It also includes statistics for Youtube and Twitter channels. The Swedish beer brand Norrlands Guld has the page with the highest average post engagement rate.
Coop posted two of the three most popular posts in May
I am also happy to see that a campaign I have been working on at my job for Coop has two of the three most popular post on Facebook last month. The campaign called #ekolöftet challenged the 8 parties of the Swedish Parliament to reveal how they intend to support the growth of organic farming in Sweden. More on that in Swedish here: http://ekoloftet.coop.se/
The Swedish local daily Sörmlands Nyheter (sn.se) today published an article with the headline “Ryanair pilots forced to fly free”. In the article, pilots describe how they get paid only for scheduled hours and not a minute more. If an aircraft is delayed, it means that pilots fly for free once their scheduled time has run out.
“This is extremely stressful, especially in the evenings. Everyone wants to come home and if you are going to fly the next day you have to get some rest between flights. Landing too late means you don’t get to fly the next day and then we have flown without pay ang get no income day after. This forces you to make stupid decisions and is a major safety hazard. I doubt that passengers know that the person flying them sometimes do so without pay,” says one pilot who wants to remain anonymous in fear of getting sacked by the airline.
The article describes the pilots’ dissatisfaction with current working conditions. In a follow up article, Ryanair’s Head of Communications Robin Kiely denied all claims from the pilots, claiming they were “rubbish”. In an email response to the paper, he also threatened to sue the paper if the statements from the pilots were published.
“If you publish any of these claims, we will initiate legal action against your newspaper,” Kiely wrote.
That seems like normal procedure at the airline, which just last week threatened to take legal action against British Channel 4, after a documentary about pilots’ concern over passenger safety. Apparently the PR strategy from Ryanair is to stop pilots from publishing any views on social networks (I blogged about it here in Swedish) and threaten to sue any media outlets that publish anonymous comments from pilots. That doesn’t sound like an airline that I would ever fly with.
It is not uncommon that brands suffer serious backlashes on social networks for controversial or offensive campaigns, tweets or Facebook posts. Sometimes the damage to the brand is minimal, but a local issue can quickly damage a global brand. Here’s one fresh example from Subaru in Dubai.
Last Thursday, four people were killed in a car crash on the Shaikh Zayed Road in Dubai, among them a nine-month-old baby. The driver reportedly stopped in the middle of the road due to a flat tire instead of pulling over to a safer place on the side of the road. Another vehicle smashed into the car killing four people.
Real Time Marketing gone bad
In an attempt to use the incident in its marketing, Subaru Emirates in Abu Dhabi posted a status update on its Facebook page with the following message.
“Women driver at it again.
An entire family has perished as a result of a grave mistake by a lady driver on SZR this weekend. A Jordanian woman parked her car right in the middle of the road on Sheikh Zayed motorway after it suffered from a tyre puncture. She ignored the driver’s warning to take her car off the road and fix the tyre on the hard shoulder area.
Unfortunately a driver who was passing through that area had warned the woman to instantly take her car off the road but that she did not listen. Call it her ignorance, 4 innocent soul paid with their life including a 9-month-old baby boy. Another woman in the car was said to be seriously wounded.
Well RTA cannot put in extra parameters for women to check their presence of mind during crisis situation while driving, its all about being responsible drivers.”
The post blaming the driver’s gender and nationality for the accident caused an uproar among local Facebook users and the post was taken down the day after. Subaru Emirates also posted a somewhat backhanded apology on Facebook:
A recent post on our Facebook Page offended the sentiments of a number of people.
Our sincere apology goes out to everyone for this.
We respect your sentiments and have taken down the post with immediate effect.
At Subaru, SAFETY IS OUR TOPMOST PRIORITY AND CONCERN.
The news posted yesterday was intended as a general awareness message. Sometimes with the best of intentions a final communication may come out wrong. This was one such instance. We just want to bring to everyone’s notice to please be more cautious while driving.
Our sincere apologies once again.”
Local crisis becomes international crisis
But the social media blunder dit not only hurt the brand locally, comments soon flooded the US Subaru brand page on Facebook were several people reposted the offensive post, forcing Subaru of America to respond and take action.
This case shows how important it is to respond to social media crises quickly and in a manner that doesn’t initiate further criticism. If you don’t, there is a real risk that the issue will spread more widely. It also goes to show that the concept of using current news stories for brand marketing easily can backfire.
This week, I had the opportunity to attend the Engage 2013 conference in London, courtesy of Socialbakers. Among the top speakers, we got to listen to Lionel Lassalle, Social Marketing & Co-Branding Manager at KLM who talked about KLM’s journey to transform social users into customers.
KLM has been working actively with social media for quite some time, and the airline’s presence in social media jump started with the crisis management during the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in April 2010. It was not until then that the company really started to take advantage of social networks in communicating with customers.
“The ash cloud changed everything”, said Lassalle.
According to Lassalle, one of the key factors in becoming a social business is to be able to break down the silos and start to co-operate between different parts of the organisation. Also, for KLM, customer service is the backbone of the organisation in social media. The airline has the ambition to answer questions in social media within 1 hour and to solve customer service issues within 24 hours. Currently, KLM answers within 15 minutes (on average) and solves issues within 9 hours. Impressive.
The experience from the ash cloud crisis management led to the establishment of three principles that guide KLM in social networks.
KLM’s three leading social pricinciples:
Service is sales
Be cool to hang out with
Don’t push, create stuff worth sharing
Social media can drive sales
One of the main take aways for me during the day was that we saw several examples where social media can actually drive sales. One project for KLM in the Netherlands increased sales with 30%. Also, Bruce Daisley of Twitter UK told us how sponsored campaigns on Twitter had shown that there can be a strong correlation between Twitter ads and sales. Some campaigns had been more than four times as effective as spending that additional amount on traditional advertising.
Becoming a social business
KLM has the ambition to be a social business and by relying less on stand-alone campaigns and working more with long term solutions, the airline has come a long way towards that goal. Here are a few more quotes about their social media strategy, from Lionel Lassalle’s presentation.
“We are connecting social media to our core business, which is flying.”
“We are heading to become a social business.”
“Social media is no longer a platform, it is integrated throughout the whole organisation.”
“From one side it makes our customer’s life easier, but it also constantly helps us to improve the quality of our service.”
And finally, about return on investment: “Is it worth the money? Hell, yeah!”
Below you can watch the entire presentation from Engage 2013.
Yesterday I blogged about how SAS, Emirates and SF got their brands hijacked on Instagram. Today I found two new examples of fake accounts that promise to give away gift cards in exchange for email addresses. Hundreds of Swedish Instagram users are currently giving away both email addresses and even mobile numbers on the fake accounts of Abercrombie & Fitch and coffee chain Espresso House.
Fake Abercrombie & Fitch at http://instagram.com/abercrombiesverige. The account bio says: “We are soon opening a store in Sweden! Follow the instructions in the image to get unique offers and gift cards”. The image caption says that the company will give a gift card worth 1,000 SEK to all followers of the account if they add their email address in the comments.