Friday 6 September 2013

Weekly Wrap Up: Corporate Complaining Goes #Twiral

When BA flyer Hasan Syed decided to complain about his lost luggage he did not decide to do it in the conventional way but instead bought a sponsored tweet: “Don't fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous”.

Although his tweet achieved 25,000 impressions, sending his complaint viral, it didn’t quite top the coverage achieved back in 2009 by musician Dave Carroll. When baggage handlers for United Airlines broke his guitar on a flight to Nebraska, Mr Carroll used a comical youtube video to complain.

Within one day the video had been viewed 150,000 times, and it has since accumulated over 13 million views. The story hit the headlines, and in May 2012 Mr Carroll published a book titled: United Breaks Guitars: The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media.

Both stories demonstrate the power of the #tweetcomplaint... Instead of Mr Syed’s and Mr Carroll’s greivances being hushed, hidden and dealt with discretely (as used to be the way) they were branded over the internet and the stories made famous.

These anecdotes act as a reminder to companies that they cannot just enjoy social media for the purpose of self-promotion, but must also monitor them for just such “rotten tweets” that could infect the rest of their corporate apple…

This new media power is a good a thing; it gives a voice to the people. Without wanting to sensationalize, it forces companies (and even countries) to be more accountable and democratic. At the macro scale, consider Malala Yousafzai and her 2009 blog promoting women’s rights under the Taliban ruling. Without social media and her connection to the BBC, the world might never have known about how limited female opportunities were in Pakistan. Similarly, without twitter BA might never have been forced to scrutinize its baggage handling policy to improve customer service…

So companies now have a new challenge to face: the challenge of social media. They must now manage their public profile, not simply control it as they used to. They must have their eyes open and their ears to the ground to ensure that whatever is being said about them is being noted, responded to and examined.

This challenge can be seen as nuisance to many companies, who have not the time nor the expertise to manage their twitter profiles as well as doing whatever it is they actually do. Social media is now an integral part of business, and if your business isn’t social, then you could be in trouble.

And even if you are able to monitor your own company’s profile, that isn’t enough. Just because your sales are up and revenue is looking good it doesn’t mean that you can’t also be hit by a negative comment going viral. Social media has meant that industry scandals are now contagious, and so if a competitor’s stocks are plummeting due to negative PR it is very likely that your stocks will quickly follow suit. The plunge of the Potash industry just this week is an example of how inter-connected and mutually vulnerable industry companies are…

So, take note of what is being said about you, your company and your industry. Consider how seemingly un-related news pieces could potentially spill over into your patch and destroy your reputation. Above all, make it easy for consumers to complain and manage your twitter account…

This week, Abchaps attended the Conservatives in Communications Young Professionals Committee meeting, whilst the market lunch programme continued its renaissance with focuses on social media and mining. The team also enjoyed the Edison Investment Summer Party at Skinner’s Hall.

Law firm Dentons has strengthened its technology, media and telecommunications division with the recruitment of Bavette Marzheuser-Wood from Field Fisher Waterhous, and Canaccord Genuity has been appointed as Financial Adviser and Broker for Tungsten’s acquisition of OB10 and resultant admission to trading on AIM.

'Twiral' - A tweet that goes viral either due to its scandalous nature or intriguing content.

Dust down the D-J for the Last Night of the Proms and Proms in the Park and celebrate as the BBC concludes its summer season. Get all classical with selection of mesmerising tunes from Elgar, Britten and Handel and Vaugn Williams; all led by the first female conductor Marin Alsop.

This Saturday London hosts a pub crawl with a twist: ‘Lit Crawl London’. The free literary festival is a raucous ramble through Convent Garden and Soho and gives attendees a chance to sample the local brew and also the words of up-and-coming writers, authors and poets.

Meat-lovers can rejoice as Meatopia returns to London’s Tobacco Dock tomorrow night. Feast on a cornucopia of barbecued and grilled meats from world-class chefs such as Hawksmoor’s Richard H Turner and BBQWhiskyBeers’s Sam Daffin and dance to diverse mix of live music from Groove Armada to Electro Blues.

This weekend you could be watching Back to the Future, Zoolander, or Grease on a rooftop in Shoreditch from the comfort of a hot tub, oh yes.

Follow us on Twitter @AbchurchComms

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