February 22, 2007
Notable CEO bloggers Jonathan Schwartz and Bill Marriott "get it." Their posts are personal, timely and tied to company events. It seems that JetBlue's David Neeleman is still a bit of a novice.
JetBlue established David Neeleman's Flight Log as the corporate blog - very corporate - as it exists not as the expected blog.domain.com URL, but under the more formal domain.com/about/ourcompany URL. To me, that means that it's part of the corporate structure rather than a somewhat independent site. It's purely semantic, but the perception matters.
Neeleman's blog is described as follows:
Each week I fly on JetBlue flights and talk to customers so I can find out how we can improve our airline. This is my flight log...
Great premise. If only he followed up on it. In October and November, there were only 4 posts each month; December saw 3; January, only one. And it hasn't been updated since February 1. So let me get this straight. The CEO of an airline flies every week (as one would expect him to do), but his blog is only updated a few times a month?
We all know that JetBlue has been in the news over the past week over a plane full of passengers that sat on a runway for 10 hours. Crisis communications is a natural function of a blog. If I were Neeleman, I'd have made sure that any and all updates related to this public relations and customer service disaster were clearly communicated on my blog.
Mr. Neeleman did take the time to write a very sincere and heartfelt letter to JetBlue customers; this is the very type of entry his blog needs. Perhaps he should take charge of the blog himself and relieve the marketing communications flunky of the underwhelming job he or she has been doing.
Here's Neeleman's letter in full:
Dear JetBlue Customers,
We are sorry and embarrassed. But most of all, we are deeply sorry.
Last week was the worst operational week in JetBlue's seven year history. Following the severe winter ice storm in the Northeast, we subjected our customers to unacceptable delays, flight cancellations, lost baggage, and other major inconveniences. The storm disrupted the movement of aircraft, and, more importantly, disrupted the movement of JetBlue's pilot and inflight crewmembers who were depending on those planes to get them to the airports where they were scheduled to serve you. With the busy President's Day weekend upon us, rebooking opportunities were scarce and hold times at 1-800-JETBLUE were unacceptably long or not even available, further hindering our recovery efforts.
Words cannot express how truly sorry we are for the anxiety, frustration and inconvenience that we caused. This is especially saddening because JetBlue was founded on the promise of bringing humanity back to air travel and making the experience of flying happier and easier for everyone who chooses to fly with us. We know we failed to deliver on this promise last week.
We are committed to you, our valued customers, and are taking immediate corrective steps to regain your confidence in us. We have begun putting a comprehensive plan in place to provide better and more timely information to you, more tools and resources for our crewmembers and improved procedures for handling operational difficulties in the future. We are confident, as a result of these actions, that JetBlue will emerge as a more reliable and even more customer responsive airline than ever before.
Most importantly, we have published the JetBlue Airways Customer Bill of Rights—our official commitment to you of how we will handle operational interruptions going forward—including details of compensation. I have a video message to share with you about this industry leading action.
You deserved better—a lot better—from us last week. Nothing is more important than regaining your trust and all of us here hope you will give us the opportunity to welcome you onboard again soon and provide you the positive JetBlue Experience you have come to expect from us.
Sincerely, David Neeleman Founder and CEO JetBlue Airways
And here's his video message as well.
UPDATE: Neeleman's blog has been updated with the letter as of this morning. But where's the video?
February 21, 2007
With apologies to Sir Paul McCartney, a recent Wall Street Journal article Yale on $0 a Day (subscription required) made me think about how a time-tested business principle is being leveraged anew through social media channels.
The premise of the article is that more universities are using the Web to share course materials - from class plans, required readings and lecture notes, to actual audio and video of lectures. While not quite approaching the level of "distance learning" programs that offer degrees, this free-to-the-public content is allowing more individuals to share knowledge in an open source environment. Here's a quick list of some examples.
Traditionally, institutions of higher education have made lectures available to the public by allowing anyone to audit a course. Bounded only by the seating capacity of a lecture hall or classroom, this approach gave auditors the opportunity to participate in everything but the exams, and they would receive no course credit. Now, giving away content via social media makes this same knowledge available to a wider audience than previously possible.
I've been blogging in one capacity or another for nearly four years. In that time, I've found fellow bloggers and podcasters to be some of the most generous and open people when it comes to sharing tips, processes and information. In an ever-shrinking world, this is simply being neighborly; it's the essence of the "social" in social media. Since its founding, the official motto of the Social Media Club has been "If you get it, share it."
As businesses begin to explore how social media can work for them, they would be best served by keeping this premise in mind. Those that are transparent and that willingly share information with their audiences will find that they'll benefit from the customer loyalty that will inevitably be returned to them. In this information-rich era, customers can find information anywhere; companies that are stingy and hoard information will suffer.
UPDATE: Since posting this yesterday, I discovered that IBM is calling for media companies to loosen the grip on content, according to Online Media Daily. IBM would like to see big media cooperate in allowing the legal reuse of content for mash-ups, overdubs and other ways "that celebrate their favorite branded content in new and creative ways."
February 15, 2007
I recently came across a short film called Truth in Advertising, which is a major rip on the way marketing campaigns are developed. Everyone in the process - from the VP of Marketing and the Brand Manager on the client side, to the copywriter, art director and account director on the agency side - is equally skewered.
Do yourself a favor. Take 10 minutes or so to watch this video that shows each player actually speaking what they're thinking in a particular situation
FYI, I've chosen to simply feature a link rather than to embed the YouTube video itself because it contains some rather graphic language and this is, after all, a family blog.
February 13, 2007
I recently mentioned a case of brand hijacking via social media. While that episode marked the use of bloggers defaming a company's image, here's one that makes use of Wikipedia. This is not an uncommon occurrence.
Today's case in question is the Wikipedia entry on PhRMA, which so blatantly anti-pharma that its neutrality need not even be disputed. Just take a look at the "Company Operations" section - it focuses almost entirely on PhRMA's lobbying efforts.
Even though the pharmaceutical industry is under attack as much as Big Oil and Big Tobacco - and don't even get me started on the unfairness inherent in that co-categorization - they should be aware of the social media implications. Someone from PhRMA - even a communications intern, for God's sake - should be monitoring major sites like Wikipedia for this type of one-sided information.
February 4, 2007
It looks like I've been tagged for the 5 questions meme by the good folks over at The SEM Zone. I've got to say that I've followed a good number of memes over the last year or so, and this is the first in which I've been tagged. I'm very excited - let's jump right in!
What have you learned so far from visitors to your blog? I've learned that my blog is read internationally - from Canada to France to Japan - and that a single link from an A-lister can boost your readership by 1000%.
If someone would offer to pay for a course (or more) for you, what would that course be? I'm something of an amateur voice-over artist. While I really don't need voice training, what I could use is a quick course on how to actually set up and run my own voice-over business. Hmm. Maybe podcasting is in my future...
Are you satisfied with what you’ve achieved in 2006, in general? Absolutely. In my personal life, I welcomed a second son to the world. Professionally, I expanded my knowledge of social media in very short order; I launched two blogs (here's the other) and was invited to contribute to a third.
Has blogging changed your life or personality in any way? I have gotten a lot of recognition as a social media expert at my agency, with clients, and externally. It's given me a new perspective on and awareness of marketing developments on a daily basis and really helped to engage my thinking for my agency, clients and volunteer opportunities.
If you had the opportunity to meet one person that you admire most in the world, who would that be and why? If I could step back in time, it would be that master presentation expert Winston Churchill. He knew how to use the power of spoken word to tell a story and persuade his audience. Plus, he could knock a few back and still manage to be witty.
February 1, 2007
As social media becomes ever more prevalent, it's clear that some thought should be applied in advance of actions. Wal-Mart and Sony flogs, client pitches and viral marketing gone horribly wrong are all examples of what happens when you don't think about unintended consequences of your well-planned strategy. And when it's so easy to bring a marketer's foibles to the attention of the world, it's more important than ever to question the tactics with some good old common sense.
We've gotten to a point in our World 2.0 where we do things because we can rather than because we should. We have oversized cars & houses, we're cloning embryos, we SuperSize everything - pick your issue and your political persuasion and there's something you can point to that we do or have, simply because it's available.
That's not exactly the way to run your marketing campaign. "We can strap battery-powered electronic devices to bridges to build buzz!" Uh, yes you can, but you probably shouldn't.
And all of this naturally affects brand and reputation, which is more fragile than ever for smaller businesses, with consumers taking control of the conversation in our MyTubeTechnol.icio.us world. It takes so long to build a trusted brand, and it can all be undone with a careless action, heated conversation, or a plan that sounded good one time in a meeting.
[M]ostly unverified accounts from anonymous posters, suggest[ing] workplace morale is awful. One anonymous blogger who claimed to be a former Sullivan & Cromwell employee said on The Wall Street Journal’s law blog that he had “never worked with a bigger bunch of sycophants and cowards.”
And on yesterday's Small Agency Diary, Marc Brownstein penned an entry called Retaining Talent: What Works? in which he created a check-list of how an employer can ensure that employees are interested in sticking around. In his comments section (glad to see he has one!) Brownstein was greeted with a scolding from a former employee who advised him to walk the talk.
This is part of the risk in taking a strong point of view in a blog. You're bound to find detractors. But the point is, you've provoked a conversation. In this case, Brownstein can not only monitor the conversation, but can engage in it as well. He'll need to make a decision about how to respond: refute the assertions, let them die out, or keep building his reputation by cross-posting on other blogs and encouraging peers and clients to speak what's on their mind. With any luck, it'll be positive.
Blogging is not for the faint of heart. It takes dedication and courage - courage to know that you will be judged on what you write, how well you communicate, and whether your ideas are equivalent to your reputation.
Over the last year, the blogosphere has been abuzz with the evolution of the Social Media News Release first introduced by SHIFT Communications. There have been improvements and suggestions along the way, and I've seen a number of clients express interest in moving to this model of press release.
I just found a great little widget, courtesy of eHub, that allows marketers to bump up the SMNR another notch. Along with the excellent multimedia links available in the SMNR - audio, video, graphics - for those of you who would prefer to engage in phone conversations rather than email exchanges with your audience, Gizmo Call is your solution.
You just download a quick piece of code and in 20 seconds, you're ready to rock. If you put your phone number into the code, you can plant some HTML in your press release so that with a single click, editors can be on the phone with you. Of course, they'll need a headset to do so from their computers.
Sounds pretty cool. I'll let you decide how it works - here's the link: Call Me for FREE
At Ford, Scott heads up the social media function and holds the title Global Digital &
Multimedia Communications Manager. He is a strategic advisor on all social media activities across the company, from blogger
relations to marketing support, customer service to internal communications and more, as social media is being integrated into many
facets of Ford business.
Prior to joining Ford, Scott served as Consigliere for crayon
and spent a number of years with PJA Advertising + Marketing, a
boutique BtoB agency specializing in health sciences & high tech.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Scott is an active blogger and podcaster. He writes about the intersection of
advertising, marketing and PR at ScottMonty.com and
also writes The Baker Street Blog and cohosts I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, two literary undertakings. Scott
has been featured in hundreds of news and business publications in print and on the web, in nearly dozens of books, and on a variety of
mainstream media, including NBC, NPR, CNN and The Wall Street Journal. Scott is a recognized thought leader in the social media industry and
frequently speaks at industry events.
Scott received his Master's in Medical Science from Boston University's School of Medicine concurrently with his MBA from BU's
Graduate School of Management. He lives in the greater Detroit area with his wife and two young sons, golfs all too infrequently, and
has a hidden talent for voice over work.
Scott speaks on social media at events, seminars and conferences around the world. His topic generally focuses on corporate use of social media, becoming an online spokesperson, and specifically on the progress that Ford has made in the recent past. If you're interested in booking Scott to speak at your event, please click here to submit a speaking request for Ford-related purposes or email me at speaking [AT] this site's URL (if you know what I mean) to send a general email request.. Scott's bio and headshot can be found in the "About Scott" tab above.
I'm Scott. I'm the global head of social media for Ford Motor Company. This is my personal blog, where I share my perspectives on business, technology, communications, marketing and the vast changes in the industry that impact leadership. This blog contains my personal views. My bio is available here and my headshots can be found here.