Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Social Media: The Web has amplified the voice of consumers

When United Airlines refused to compensate Son of Maxwell band member Dave Caroll for damage caused to his US$3 500 guitar during a 2008 flight, he took his frustration online. Importantly, companies have to be clear on who can respond officially online. You need to have people who are Web savvy but also able to get the right answers from the organisation — and fast! - Gisèle Wertheim Aymés

SHOOT: You can't win the marketing game with social media, but without it, you'll lose.
He used YouTube to air a video depicting his mistreatment by the airline. His posting inflicted enormous reputational damage, well beyond anything United Airlines could have imagined — damage that could easily have been avoided.
The company lost 10 % of its share value, or $180m, during the period its brand was under attack.
This is a real story of how the little guy took on the indifferent corporate giant and won. It also points to the indifferent corporate giant being ill-equipped to deal with the resulting social media onslaught.
This is a quantifiable example of how a company’s reputation — and indeed its stock value — can be hit by social media.
Today, two years later, people are still watching Carroll’s YouTube video — 8,4m people having seen it so far. Caroll has had many thousands respond to him online, most of them offering their sympathy or sharing their own United Airlines horror stories.
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