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Posts Tagged ‘bloggers’

Ryanair’s blogger reaction – why?

February 27th, 2009

It can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that Ryanair has been busy creating a lovely new social media case study for us all to use when extolling the pitfalls of not embracing social media.

If you have missed it, there are great write ups on Travolution, The Times, Guardian, Economist and Telegraph, plus probably the best of the bunch at datadial. That little bunch of headlines should tell you in an instant how dramatically this story has backfired on Ryanair.

However, if you have missed the story, here’s my attempt to shorthand it: Blogger notices glitch on Ryanair website and makes issue public, Ryanair staff respond calling the blogger an idiot among other things, not once, twice but three times, and then Ryanair release a statement confirming, and I quote:

“Ryanair can confirm that a Ryanair staff member did engage in a blog discussion. It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot  bloggers and Ryanair can confirm that it won’t be happening again.

“Lunatic bloggers can have the blogosphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel.”

Wow, that is so wrong on so many levels that I don’t know where to begin. Not only does Ryanair obviously not have any type of social media policy, which is odd considering how closely the social web is linked to travel and specifically air travel, but when they had the chance to correct the initial mistake(s) instead they decide to continue to abuse the individual and blogosphere as a whole.

Now, obviously, i’m coming to this debate late, and with good reason. When this story broke everywhere on Tuesday/Wednesday I knew I had a presentation booked in at a major airline on Thursday afternoon. I hoped to pick their brains about the possible reasons for this seemingly suicidal course of action.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to discuss the issue in as much depth as I had wanted, due to unforeseen timing issues, but the general points from the team here and in the meeting seemed to be:

1. Astonishment, plain and simple, how could Ryanair react this way?

2. Was this reaction related to a fear of getting involved in social media?

3. Was it a stunt?

Now, I think we can rule out the third option, as if this was a stunt; now would be a very good time to reveal the reasons as the damage is increasing by the hour. I’d love to think this was an elaborate ploy, but history and common sense tells us not.

Point one, the ‘astonishment’ is fairly obvious, but i’m going to spell out the first five failings in my mind, there are many more.

1.) complete failure to understand the basics of communicating on the socially connected web

2.) complete failure to consider bloggers as an authority that can drive positive and/or negative experiences of your brand

3.) complete failure to deal with what is a customer relationship issue – whether online or offline.

4.) complete failure to listen, engage and react positively to what could have been a small issue, but is now a beast

5.) complete failure to apologise once the issue had been raised, staff had reacted poorly to the point of being rude, and instead back up the failings that had gone before it

So that leaves us with fear. Now i’m not suggesting that fear of getting involved in social media caused this issue directly. But i am saying a potential fear to embrace social media, probably because of the favoured excuse of ‘losing control’ and ‘speaking with one voice’ has ultimately led to ignoring social media as a route to customers, which has in turn led to not training the individuals involved, not making whoever prepared the statement aware of the ramifications, and ultimately leaving the brand to be used as an example of ‘how not to do it’ on some of the UK’s leading media outlets. Let alone the discussion it has caused on Twitter.

The simple truth is it’s not possible to yet quantify the true scale of the problems this can cause for Ryanair, unless they turn it around quickly. We can already see the reaction, the search results that lead any online interest to this story when trying to book flights, and the backlash from customers. These reasons alone should be enough to see a change at Ryanair in terms of embracing, or at least understanding, social media.

But what’s this, a new story has just popped up from the BBC: Ryanair considers toilet charge not the reaction we were looking for.

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Metallica learn to love their web community

June 13th, 2008


It’s been one of the longest running sagas in digital communications. The story of a brand so unwilling to accept the thought of digital communications being at the heart of it’s future, that it has taken unusually harsh steps to avoid any sort of web involvement, especially in relation to its music.

The brand in question is Metallica – the world-famous metal band, and as i’m sure you know their hate-hate relationship with the web started in 2000 by taking legal action against Napster, accusing it of violating copyrights and instigating piracy, a course of action which other artists, namely Dr Dre, also pursued. 

However, where as other artists have not only embraced the web but flourished on it, Metallica’s uneasy relationship with the web has continued with a seemingly unending stream of ill-advised decisions when it comes to utilising, or in fact doing everything possible not to utilise, the web.

Fast forward to this week and Metallica were at it again, or so it seemed. The story goes that Metallica set up a listening party of their new album with music bloggers in London. Seems like a good idea to me..and a step in the right direction. But then, of course, the bloggers dared to post their opinions and reviews of the new album and consequently the Metallica web police took over.

Metallica’s management company requested that the reviews were taken down because the listening party heard an early mix of the album, which seems very strange considering they were invited to listen to it, and the vast majority of reviews were actually good!

This whole process seemed to be very much in keeping with the script, leaving bloggers and fans frustrated and spawning such headlines as: Metallica goes diva on the Internet…again, Internet ignorance leaves Metallica looking like cyber bullies… again, Metallica: A Tale of Lost Fans and those were the nice ones! UK music blog The Quietus takes up the story.

But then, in a move straight out of the social media crisis communications book, Metallica stopped what they were doing, and quickly communicated with their community via their website , saying it was all a mistake by their management team, they had been out of the country touring when it happened and immediately reinstated all the reviews, even posting them on Metallica’s site. Simple, honest, friendly and open!

Suddenly, we see Metallica in a whole new light, either they’ve finally taken some advice, or they are actually mellowing to the power of the web, which they should seeing working only too clearly with headlines such as: Metallica apologise for demanding bloggers remove reviews, Metallica “ear spanks” management, reinstates online reviews, Metallica allows fans to read about new album.

In one quick and simple move Metallica have gone a long way to rebuilding the bridges that they’ve burnt over the years, and although they need to work at it, the new site and new found attitude show they are on the right track.

Well done Metallica and a nice social media case study as well! 
Disclaimer time, we do work with Napster, and this piece is not supposed to be about Napster in anyway, the mention of Napster was merely relevant to the story. I should also mention that I was a fan of Metallica, and still enjoy the odd track…hopefully that covers everything! 

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Dunkin Donuts cave in to political blogger pressure

May 31st, 2008

Rachel Ray

At Liberate Media we like to offer examples of the power of social media and congratulate those that utilise the medium to drive change…usually for the better. Well, of course change for the better isn’t always the case and this post is an example of the use of blogging for what i personally believe is a ridiculous and quite dangerous cause.

Dunkin Donuts in the US has managed to cause a storm by bowing to blogger pressure to remove an ad, not because of environmental issues, or inaccuracy, but because of one item of clothing – an Arab keffiyeh scarf. And yes, you guessed it – it is because of potential terrorist affiliations.

Gordon McMillian over at Gordon’s Republic confirms that the reason Dunkin Donuts decided to pull the ad staring Rachel Ray a US TV chef and talk show host was due to mounting pressure from right-wing bloggers threatening to boycott the company with posts such as “Rachel Ray: Dunkin Donuts Jihad Tool”.

The company itself had this to say: Margie Myers, senior VP-communications for Dunkin’ Brands, commented: “In a recent online ad, Rachael Ray is wearing a black-and-white silk scarf with a paisley design. It was selected by the stylist for the advertising shoot. Absolutely no symbolism was intended. However, as of this past weekend, we are no longer using the online ad because the possibility of misperception detracted from its original intention to promote our iced coffee.”

It beggars belief that we’ve actually got to the stage where a simple item of clothing used in a completely irrelevant ad can cause this much uproar, resulting in a well known brand stepping down so easily.

As i said at the start of this post, this is a real and impressive case study of the power of social media, but in this instance it’s one that i won’t be proud to use. Furthermore, i fear it will be used by those that insist social media should be feared by brands rather than welcomed, but we take the rough with the smooth.

The BBC has the full story.

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Bloggers increase in number and influence

November 9th, 2007

Two interesting blogging-related surveys caught our attention at Liberate Media this week, firstly, Garlik – a company that advises people on how to protect personal information on the internet, announced that the UK has a blogging community of four million, or 15 per cent of the UK’s 26 million web population. And before you ask: ‘Yeah, but how many of those are active bloggers?’ According to the survey, almost one in five are blogging at least once a day.

The Guardian has the full story.

The second survey comes from the “2007 Arketi Web Watch Survey: Inside B-to-B Media Usage of Web 2.0″ by US marketing consultancy Arketi Group.

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