Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Qantas Luxury: What I Would Have Done


Last night I jotted down some thoughts as the Qantas Airways #qantasluxury crisis churned away online. 

I can see exactly how #qantasluxury happened. 

The executive team at Qantas would have been churning out BAU (business as usual) messages to rally the troops in light of the negative media they have been receiving around flight groundings and union standoffs.

So, BAU they did. 

Marketing person fires up the Twitter with her brief to position Qantas as a full-service, flagship brand up against price-fighter Jetstar. 

Giving away free merch on Twitter generally works very well for big brands and you get good, positive engagement results. 

So, marketing person rummaged around in the corporate swag cupboard (I have one myself) and bundled some gear to throw on Twitter as a wee promo. 

All very unremarkable and very common business practises. BAU. 

So where did it go wrong?

Qantas is not trading under BAU and it’s naive to think that they are.  People don’t forget the weeks of negative coverage. It’s the national carrier. It employs heaps of people. It is a very high-touch, high-engagement brand and business. 

Qantas misread the sentiment and the generally higher educated and politically aware, news savvy people that are on Twitter gave it back to them. 

I’ve been involved in a number of crisis comms situations (mainly offline in traditional media) and the difference between a train wreck and a ‘whew I can’t believe we got away with that’ is often the ability of the comms manager to step back and not panic. 

Only someone who has been on the frontline can relate to that sickening feeling you get when your phone rings at 6pm on a Friday night and your project is going to be front-page news in the weekend papers for all the wrong reasons. 

What I would have done

First port of call for me would have been to the CEO.  The ‘Houston-we have a problem’ moment that drains all the blood from your soul. 

Second, I would call/email the entire executive team and tell them not to comment to media. This would include legal and possibly an external public relations firm if you have one too for investor relations. 

The message would be “don’t comment. Act dumb. Say you haven’t seen the #qantasluxury hashtag and you’re not the person that talks on those things.” Put everything through to the comms manager who can protect people and buy time. That’s what they are there for. 

Third, I would order everyone out of the pool on and offline. 

All social media accounts are to stop publishing including personal accounts. Go dark. (note: this is very controversial and I have never been able to convince any company to do it. However, I see public domain comment by employees online as a risk in a crisis situation). 

An email/ yammer to all staff with an equal measure of “it’s under control” and “if you talk to media we’ll bloody fire you.” Serious. I’ve had these chats before. 
Be aware that, especially when you are in a change management process like Qantas, disgruntled employees may forward the messages to media so write for the public domain. 

Fourth, I would call an analyst to start mining the data across on and offline media. 

I certainly would not be talking to anyone without seeing a top-line level of sentiment activity. Remember-when you are trending at number one on Twitter Australia your job is containment. Trying to send clever “hey guys thanks for entering” tweets is like trying to put out a bushfire with a garden hose. What topics can you provide clarification on? What arguments will you never win? Is it targeted at the CEO, unions, service, food, groundings, offshoring? I was very surprised to see mainstream news outlets publishing comments from interviews with Qantas people in the middle of the event. Far too knee-jerk. 

Fifth, I would assess the data and come up with a written statement. The recent Telecom “abstain” statement is an excellent example of this working well. The tone is “whoops we messed up, we tried to be funny but we weren’t.” It’s a big step back. Don’t try and be tricky. Comments suggesting that ‘any publicity is good publicity’ are absolutely ridiculous, lazy and unsophisticated. Bad media ruins brands in the same way that good media makes brands. 

With emotions running high, bad decisions can be made out of ego, blame, and sheer panic. 

Good crisis responses whether you get caught in a rip at the beach or responding to a natural disaster require planning, systems, trust and leadership. 

That’s what I would have done. 

Posted via email from cjlambert's posterous

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cookie Monster Explains #occupy


Anyway, here's a burst of Cookie truth that should be copy-and-pasted everywhere all across the Internet. Today, we are all Cookie Monsters!

Yes, there always going to be rich and poor. But we used to live in country where rich owned factory and make 30 times what factory worker make. Now we live in country where rich make money by lying about value of derivative bonds and make 3000 times what factory worker would make if factories hadn't all moved to China.

Capitalism great system. We won Cold War because people behind Iron Curtain look over wall, and see how much more plentiful and delicious cookies are in West, and how we have choice of different bakeries, not just state-owned one. It great system. It got us out of Depression, won WWII, built middle class, built country's infrastructure from highways to Hoover Dam to Oreo factory to electrifying rural South. It system that reward hard work and fair play, and everyone do fair share and everyone benefit. Rich get richer, poor get richer, everyone happy. It great system.

Then after Reagan, Republicans decide to make number one priority destroying that system. Now we have system where richest Americans ones who find ways to game system -- your friends on Wall Street -- and poorest Americans ones who thought working hard would get them American dream, when in fact it get them pink slip when job outsourced to 10-year-old in Mumbai slum. And corporations have more influence over government than people (or monsters).

It not about rich people having more money. It about how they got money. It about how they take opportunity away from rest of us, for sake of having more money. It how they willing to take risks that destroy economy -- knowing full well that what could and would happen -- putting millions out of work, while creating nothing of value, and all the while crowing that they John Galt, creating wealth for everyone.

That what the soul-searching about. When Liberals run country for 30 years following New Deal, American economy double in size, and wages double along with it. That fair. When Conservatives run country for 30 years following Reagan, American economy double again, and wages stay flat. What happen to our share of money? All of it go to richest 1%. That not "there always going to be rich people". That unfair system. That why we upset. That what Occupy Sesame Street about.

Posted via email from cjlambert's posterous

Monday, November 14, 2011

Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific Corporate Social Media Study 2011

<div style="width:477px" id="__ss_9867062"> <strong style="display:block;margin:12px 0 4px">Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific Corporate Social Media Study 2011</strong> <div style="padding:5px 0 12px"> View more documents from Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific </div> </div>

Posted via email from cjlambert's posterous

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Apple Brand Architecture

Excerpt from Richard McManus post

Jobs was ousted from Apple in 1985 in a failed leadership battle with the CEO at the time, John Sculley. In 1997, he returned to Apple and one of my favorite Jobs stories comes from that time. On his return, he reduced Apple's bloated computer product range from about 40 to just 4. This passage, set in an internal meeting, describes how he did it:

He grabbed a magic marker, padded to a whiteboard, and drew a horizontal and vertical line to make a four-squared chart. "Here's what we need," he continued. Atop the two columns he wrote "Consumer" and "Pro"; he labeled the two rows "Desktop" and "Portable." Their job, he said, was to make four great products, one for each quadrant.

via @readwriteweb

Posted via email from cjlambert's posterous