Monday, 15 October 2012

The Value of Knowing Your Audience: Kicking Social Network Goals

Over the last few weeks my posts have been specifically geared towards possible E2 strategies for Brisbane Airport as part of a larger group assignment on this case study. Today I'll cover the final topic of social networking sites (SNS), providing you with my last engagement strategy, and neatly tying off the overall goals and benefits of utilising a versatile enterprise 2.0 blueprint.

A quick recap for those of you who may have missed the earlier posts. My analysis began by addressing ways in which BAC could take advantage of the time suck, also known as airport downtime; through a unique and engaging blogging strategy.

Following on from this, I looked at the possible uses for collaborative tools such as wikis. I discovered a variety of areas back of house such as the streamlining of internal procedures, staff training, HR, and B2B customer service that could all benefit, reducing turnarounds, email overload and fostering faster innovation.

Now its time to investigate where SNS fit into our plan to make our case study a successful enterprise 2.0.

Why do we need it? 

Utilising social networks is key to the success of corporations in today's society. SNS are a significant part of internet users digital lifestyles, providing them with an outlet to voice opinions, values and establish a digital identity. Having a social ground for consumers to interact with your brand; positively or negatively, creates a polylogical channel of communication(Harrington, S. 2011) that builds trust and creates stronger, more valuable relationships, while harnessing the collective intelligence of the network.

Mapping the social network structure:

Gladwell (2000), Outlines the key influencers, or 'agents of change' in social networks:

  • Connecters 
  • Mavens 
  • Salesman

 In the context of the travel industry, airlines have started to break down their audiences into these categories in order to better target the key players within their audience. Simpliflying has found that although the largest percentage of users are purely spectators, there is a healthy group of connecters and mavens producing content, commenting and sharing on airline social media outlets. It is also interesting to note that those associated with a specific airline through some sort of membership (frequent flyers for example) were doubly as active than unassociated users.  This insight brings me to my suggestion for SNS strategy for BAC:

"Create a group/club/community that provides exclusive deals, content or promotions only to its' members."

This could be achieved through something as simple as a Fan Page on Facebook, a follow on Twitter, or as involved as a VIP membership to the airport itself, similar to that of a frequent flyer rewards program where users are awarded points based on their interactions with the airport both physically and online. 

Simpliflying went on to say that consumers are interacting largely pre and during travel, with the majority of airlines receiving the highest levels of traffic through Facebook. This is also the same platform that the travel companies believed they were monitoring successfully, with higher levels of analytics provided than other platforms.  The three key areas these platforms are being used for are as follows: 

  • Customer service
  • Marketing 
  • Corporate Communication

With this in mind, i believe a similar strategy for BAC would be successful. Targeting consumers pre arrival and while in the airport; on a platform that they are already familiar with, that allows open API data monitoring, and is free to use, are all valuable points to increase and measure engagement with the company. 

Socially influenced viral distribution

Sounds fancy, pretty much means 'how are we going to get people to share this?" From a creative perspective, KLM does a good job of utilising Facebook and LinkedIn with their "Meet and Seat" feature that allows people to tee up with likeminded people pre flight. 

By using these platforms' open API, they have created an app that facilitates connections and build real relationships, making for a more enjoyable flying experience. 

Melbourne Airport is another example that has used SNS to increase the referral levels of their business.  Through the use of their Twitter account, they provide followers with deal exclusive to their followers. This works to increase sales and viewership as followers share these exclusive deals with friends.  

Essentially, the goal of using these platforms is to gain the greatest level of exposure for the cheapest possible outlay. By offering consumers some special deals, access to unique content, or providing an interesting and new way to interact with your brand, you are helping to create a positive experience for your consumers which they are more likely to pass on. Word of mouth marketing at its' best!

To my classmates, Thanks for reading this semester, it has been great working with you!



Thursday, 4 October 2012

Behind the Scenes - A Wiki Strategy for BNE

The successful roll-out of an easy to use collaborative system within an organisation can work to  improve staff productivity and other facets of the company including staff engagement and knowledge. A Wiki is a perfect tool to fill this E2 void in any business. 

A Wiki can provide access for all staff members to areas such as:

  • People expertise 
  • Expertise in processes- previous troubleshoots, training updates
  • Documents and resources–Make hidden data shared to drive collective intelligence
  • Enhanced search–Quickly provide relevant resources for the individual
  • Essential information such as rosters/meetings/calendars 

The ability to streamline information and expertise provides great opportunity for an organisation to get the most out of their staff, however there are always problems associated with implementing collaborative tools. Some disadvantages users found when using wikis consisted of the following:

  • Spam 
  • Inappropriate and incorrect language and content
  • anyone being able to edit content
  • Info displayed in an illogical manner
Although these are real issues, a few simple strategies such as making sure the 'rules of conduct' are monitored and enforced, as well as appointing a wiki 'champion' to observe participation and help other employees contribute can work to iron out the inevitable bugs that will occur.  

Wikis and Brisbane Airport

As discussed in my previous post, Flight Centre has successfully implemented a Wiki into their IT collaboration architecture. This has worked effectively to connect geographically dispersed employees and encourages faster innovation by being a working source for troubleshoots and previously encountered issues. 

In the context of our case study, Brisbane Airport could utilize a wiki in order to improve:
  • HR procedures- Rosters, leave requests, 
  • Communication with outside providers and contractors- Specific How to guides for individual businesses accessing the airport (i.e where to get a security pass). 
  • Staff Training- Both direct airport employees and other. The airport could use the space for initiation procedures, with management able to streamline the process through the collaborative tool. 
  • Back of house procedures- the space could be used to refine work practices. Monitored by management to insure uniform adoption of any changes. 
  • B2B customer service- a place for outside providers to voice their opinions/ideas about interactions with the airport. 
  • Union information- meetings, issues etc.

If there is efficient systems in place with easy access to information about procedures, the airport will experience greater productivity from a generally happier, empowered staff. This leads to a higher long term ROI as it could reduce overtime, minimize staff numbers, and decrease staff turnover, not to mention the knock on effects it could have for interaction with the public in terms of customer service. 

Can you think of any other ways the airport could benefit through the use of a wiki? Do you have experience using a Wiki within an organisation? If so, i would love to hear your thoughts on my strategy and how it compares. 

Thanks for reading!  


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Taking Advantage of the Time-Suck: Some Basic Blogging Strategy for Airports.

After analysing how the retail travel sector effectively engages their consumers, and how an airline can destroy their reputation through poorly managed social media strategy, I feel I'm starting to get a good idea of what enterprise 2.0 strategies work for the travel industry.

With this newfound knowledge I am going to shift my focus ever so slightly to the place that is the beginning and end of every business trip, every weekend getaway, every tropical beach escape; That's right folks, I'm talking about the airport.

Until my Gulfstream G650 arrives, I, like most passengers am going to have to deal with the less enjoyable parts of flying. Being herded into my tiny seat in economy, being politely asked not to make a scene when removed from the airport lounge I snuck into, long layovers, and unavoidable delays.

With the amount of downtime passengers have in airports, especially on long haul flights it makes sense to try and increase their engagement with their temporary home by implementing a strategy that empowers passengers to contribute to their community.

The Terminal

An airport isn't really an airport without one. The same goes for any airport that doesn't have an interactive space to communicate with its' passengers. An interactive 'terminal' dealing with issues relating to customer service and crisis management, as well as providing up to date, useful information about the day to day operations of the site should be the logistical hub of the blogging strategy. 

By engaging these disgruntled passengers they can quickly become brand advocates. Put simply, nothing sells you like the recommendation of someone you trust. So get this right and you're on your way to success.

The Lounge

My connecting flight doesn't arrive for another few hours so I've got some time to kill. while I'm floating down the travelator I spot a QR code and pull out my phone to snap it. It links me to a twitter feed that promises all of the general info mentioned above as well as some value adding extras. Put me in a confined space with competing retail outlets and some time to kill and I'll give up a follow or a like to see what benefits i can reap from this inevitable time-suck, and I bet I'm not alone.
For the airport, this is a textbook win-win. Tenants get help marketing their businesses, and passengers feel like they gain a bit more control over what can often be a pretty dismal process.
Copenhagen announced an augmented reality app that does more than pitch deals from adjacent retailers–it actually shows travelers what’s nearby. It uses wifi to help with the triangulation that’s needed to pinpoint exact locations.
With airlines not offering much of anything unless you're flying business (domestically at least), in-airport concessions become even more palatable for passengers, and profitable for airports.

The Outcome

These are just two very simple ways to add value to the experience of passengers travelling through any airport. By addressing these areas and engaging with passengers on a more personal level it is possible to see improvements in not only revenue but in the satisfaction of passengers using the site, making sure that the hot topic of conversation with their friends is about their holiday and not their horrific airport experience. 

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Stop Thinking $$$ For One Second: The True Value of Enterprise 2.0

Organisations have recognised the value of Web 2.0 technologies and have made huge investments introducing these technologies into their business. This recognition is sparked by a number of factors, including the growing importance of digital channels, the recognition of accountability that Web 2.0 technologies can bring to the enterprise, and the strategic benefits of amassing collaborative intelligence.  But how do we measure the benefits of enterprise 2.0 software to calculate our ROI, especially when dealing with intangible outcomes such as increased innovation or greater knowledge retention? Perhaps considering a return on change (ROC) towards Enterprise 2.0 culture would be more effective than pure monetary measurements. 

Enterprise-class organisations recognize the value of their Web 2.0 programs on multiple levels within their organisations. Whether playing a direct or an indirect role in revenue generation, large organisations that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on Web 2.0 technologies must clearly recognise the benefits. If not, organisations must reevaluate their implementation. Evans (2010), has identified three key areas to assist in measuring the intangible values of Enterprise 2.0 technologies. 

Employee Engagement: Employees using enterprise social software platforms in the workplace are more engaged than similar employees who do not use these tools. Employees are more engaged because they become part of something larger than themselves and their immediate departments. Knowledge and work become more transparent and employees are able to get real-time feedback, visibility, and gratification.

Staff Turnover: Employees using activity streams in the workplace are less likely to turn over than those that do not use activity streams. In addition to increasing employee engagement, enterprise social software platforms help employees onboard more quickly, help them find the information they need to be successful, and help them receive real time feedback from fellow coworkers – all of which lead to better employee retention.

Sales: Enterprise social software platforms provide employees with real time business insights, allowing them to react faster to product availability, customer issues, news about the competition, and other insights that help them go first to market with new products.These 3 areas are all easily measurable through analytical tools and acquired data. By obtaining data concerning the employee usage of your enterprise 2.0 community combined with other specific considerations per segment (for example in turnover other factors such as salary and promotional opportunities will be weighted), it is possible to gain insight into the ROI of the Web 2.0 programs. 

These 3 areas are all easily measurable through analytical tools and acquired data. By obtaining data concerning the employee usage of your enterprise 2.0 community combined with other specific considerations per segment (for example in turnover other factors such as salary and promotional opportunities will be weighted), it is possible to gain insight into the ROI of the Web 2.0 programs. it is important to remember that collaboration isn’t just the knowledge and information that employees input into the network, but also the information that employees gain from the network to take back to their jobs. Other benefits include breaking down knowledge silos, reducing the time spent in meetings, and increasing overall productivity.

Although harder to measure than the average conversion rate, or views your page company's page receives, the value of Enterprise 2.0 is undeniable. Leading organisations use Enterprise 2.0 to achieve greater collaboration and an increase in overall productivity. Companies that apply Web 2.0 tools in this manner obliterate guesswork marketing and develop online programs with the evidence of past performance, projected outcomes, and clear expectations of returns. 

Monday, 3 September 2012

The Risks of Reputation: A New Nickname for Australia's Premier Airline.

Just last week Carrie Bickmore let the C-bomb slip on prime time television giving Qantas some unwanted attention, and possibly a new nickname come the next stoppage.

2011 wasn't exactly a stellar year for the country's premier airline when it comes to social media. Firstly there was the blackface competition where 2 fans were awarded wallabies tickets by promising to dress as Fijian-born Wallaby Radike Samo, sparking comments across Twitter and Facebook about the airline being racially insensitive. This was then followed by what was described as a mechanical, impersonal social media response to the grounding of its fleet and the ensuing customer chaos. To round out a far from perfect year the airline launched a competition inviting followers to win “a First Class gift pack feat. a luxury amenity kit and our famous QF PJs.” The challenge to followers was: “To enter tell us ‘What is your dream luxury inflight experience? (Be creative!) Answer must include #QantasLuxury.' Within 24 hours, the hashtag #qantasluxury had 1.5 million impressions. Most of the Tweets were negative toward Qantas. These examples highlight one of the major external risks related to web 2.0 engagement; the reputation of the organisation. Customers are free to post complaints and leave negative feedback and in the case of #QantasLuxury, even hijack a company's advertising efforts. This kind of negative exposure can have a huge impact as the intangible loss of reputation can significantly damage the hard earned brand, in a very short time (Burrows, 2011). During the industrial action, there were a few areas that the airline could've considered in more detail, mainly how the overwhelming amount of comments and posts should have been dealt with. Burrows suggests:
  • training employees in how to engage effectively in Social Networking Sites and knowing and knowing when to escalate issues to their legal advisers
  • having a system in place to respond to complaints on forums, sites and fan pages; and
  • having a documented effective social media strategy in place.
Although Qantas' social media team would be privy to engaging customers and dealing with comments, this unusual circumstance needed to be addressed in a different way to the usual plan, due to the high volume of enquiries and response (1000 tweets per minute!) which made it difficult to respond. In the wake of this disaster for the airline, four more social media managers were hired to make sure the company is in the right position to deal with the growing influences of social media. Carrie Pring who is part of the social media team at Qantas sums up her view "When people are unhappy with your brand, you’re going to hear about it through every comms channel you have. Social media just happens to be the most public one. Does that mean you run and hide away in the dark depths of social media obscurity until some day in the unforeseeable future when everyone loves you again? Or does it mean you sit up, man up, continue with your strategy and face the music when the melody of negativity comes your way? For mine I will always choose the latter, because safety is not what social media is about nor do I believe in attempting to receive only positive feedback. If people are unhappy about your brand, then it is best to elicit that feedback to be fed back to the business so that improvements can be made."
A bold view in my opinion, and probably not one reciprocated by the Qantas board, or the legal team. 

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Implementing Enterprise 2.0-Travel Does it Best!

The travel sector can be seen as one of the earliest adopters of Enterprise 2.0, which is not surprising considering more money is spent on travel than anything else online. As travellers become increasingly infatuated with sharing their travel stories via blogs, posting and reading reviews, and finding opinions of fellow like-minded travellers, it is important for travel companies to actively participate in these communities. Looking beyond participation, companies need to have a direct channel to their consumers in order to provide end to end coverage from research right through to purchase. This strategy works to build highly valuable, intimate relationships with consumers who are more likely to provide repeat business.

Flight Centre Ltd. realized early on the potential of implementing Enterprise 2.0 tools. Their initial focus was back of house, dealing with the issue of productivity and efficiency. In 2004 they consolidated their information technology systems to a uniform platform following its announcement of a single international corporate brand. In doing so this allowed for:

         •Increased productivityeasier collaboration-deal with clients across regions
Faster innovation-better selling practices/booking procedures
Reduced email overloadenhances personal effectiveness
Improved team performanceaccelerated interaction

The successful roll-out of an easy to use collaborative system also worked to enhance other facets of the company including staff engagement and knowledge. The online portal tool provides access for all staff members to areas such as:
  • People expertise 
  • Expertise in processes- previous troubleshoots, training updates
  • Documents and resources–Make hidden data shared to drive collective intelligence
  • Enhanced search–Quickly provide relevant resources for the individual
It also worked to humanize middle and upper management with weekly forums held with consultants regarding new ideas and better booking methods for example, coinciding with the company philosophies. This has clearly had a positive effect on the brand's reputation, with Flight Centre consistently rating as one of the best places to work in Australia.

 Finally, it's worth noting how Flight Centre's sister brand Student Flights has positioned itself through the use of Enterprise 2.0 tools. The brand has been given a fun and approachable persona with the staff described as 'travel gurus'. Through the use of blogs written by travel consultants and even avid fans of the brand, they have given potential clients a research point to start from. Furthermore, this is combined with social media tools such as Facebook, which provide a direct channel to potential clients, and an easy platform to discuss flights, deals, problems etc. Combined with their website, this provides a clear path to planning and purchase for their users. 

By producing interesting, original content through staff engagement, Student Flights has been able to grow their reputation through online word of mouth and bypass tradtional PR strategies. This has created strong ongoing relationships with a large loyal user base (over 54,000 people). Including friends of friends that is an incredible FREE advertising reach that wouldn't be possible without the implementation of Enterprise 2.0. 

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A 'Produsage' Revolution: The interactive culture of Web 2.0

User led content creation is not a new concept, but rather an evolving one that has become more prolific as technology and the way society communicates changes. The interactivity of Web 2.0 increases the visibility of user-generated content. This blurs the boundaries between audience and producer, allowing people to connect, communicate, document their lives, and share content on a much larger scale. (Burgess and Banks, 2009, 299.).

With the shift towards Web 2.0, new media technologies provide businesses with new ways to construct and build audiences. Traditional forms of media that enforce a primarily passive audience have been challenged to integrate interactivity into their business practices in order to remain competitive. By comparing traditional television viewing with YouTube it is possible to highlight the changes in the relationship between producers and audiences. This is evident in television’s monological communication approach whereby the programs communicate with their audience via a purely top down-down model of interaction (Harrington, 2011). This one-way communication method is primarily program based where the sender has the ability to control the message (Fiske, 1990, 2). 

In contrast, YouTube establishes a participatory culture around video production. This creates an empowered, transnational audience with the ability to craft their own relational viewing experience, where audiences no longer watch television but databases (Turner 2009, p. 143). Turner (2009, 145) goes on to suggest that YouTube’s novelty lies in its ability to harness the hive (Bruns, 2008). By combining an expansive database of material, the ability for viewers to share their favourite selections, and facilitating in the creation of produsage artefacts inside the community it provides a high level of interactivity not previously possible with traditional media. By examining YouTube through Andrew McAffee’s SLATES model it is possible to see how they are utilizing key elements of the Web 2.0 framework to find valuable outcomes from participation:





Rather than creating content purely for a passive audience, Web 2.0 allows for the collaboration and expansion of media texts. As information becomes more malleable, the emphasis on creativity changes to suggest a more vernacular creative culture. This reinforces Jenkins (2006) view of a shift toward participatory culture facilitated by the rise of social network platforms for ‘produsage’ where audiences not only engage in consumption but also extend and create new content (Bruns, 2007; 2008). These types of creative platforms foster a freewheeling exchange of information and ideas that are indicative of the changes to the ways that businesses and audiences interact.

Thanks for reading,