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Southwest Airlines Archive
Southwest Airlines re-launched their blog, "Nuts About Southwest" earlier this week. I’ve never been on a Southwest flight as they don’t fly to NYC (LI doesn’t count!). It’s an interesting blog to read as it provides some insight into what goes on at an airline from the perspective of the employees. I’ve always believed that each of us should spend a day doing something that we find troublesome to see what it’s like from the other side.
The new blog offers: videos, podcasts, Flickr photos, polls, Southwest corporate news, multimedia galleries, content ratings and personalization.
It’s very interesting to me to watch a company who is willing to step outside the pressurized cabin and try something new. I still remember sitting in a large conference room with some of the executives from one of the largest insurance companies in the world in 1996 and during the discussion, I asked them what was their goal with the new Web site. One executive looked at me and said, "Allen, we need one, everyone has one, right?" That was the attitude then.
Corporate Web sites have evolved over the past 10 years but to some extent they are exactly the same as they were then but with more flash and sizzle. Companies who have blogs do it because it’s the new "in" thing.
Tools like Get Satisfaction, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, millions of forums and chat rooms, countless blogs. Companies like BuzzLogic monitor where a brand is discussed online so it’s easy to track and respond. If you are an Internet marketer in a corporate environment and you aren’t tracking and responding, you should be fired. Yes, fired.
During my 15 years in the corporate world, the legal department was always the holdup for trying to move things forward. We certainly can’t have customers interacting with us and posting comments about how crappy a product might be – sheesh no! Tonight on CNBC, Gary Vaynerchuk discussed "social capital" and the importance of word-of-mouth today. He explained that today each person’s word-of-mouth travels further than it ever has. Now really think about that for a minute. And social capital costs fractions of any other form of media or marketing — most times it’s free.
The bottom line is that it’s critical for brands and the companies that manage them to go to where their customers are. Customers won’t come to you. Southwest has accounts on YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and LinkedIn. Are they doing it to appear cool and hip and get blogger buzz? Sure, but some percentage of Southwest customers are on these services and over time even more will be. I will have more on social capital later this week with a piece I’ve been working on for a week now. Stay tuned or grab the feed to be instantly notified.
Here’s the newest Southwest video – a day in the life of a call center rep. It’s a bit short, but it’s a good start. What makes this video very, very interesting to me is that it’s hosted on YouTube and if you scroll through the related videos, many of them are anti-Southwest. Wow.