Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bonus Reel: Social Media Pet Peeves

Jason Ginsburg offers advice on making the most of your social media channels.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Social Media DON'Ts

I’ve told you about Social Media Superstars and various best practices – but what about worst practices? What are some tactics to completely avoid?

Here are some of my personal pet peeves for each major social network. Think of them as social media don’ts.

Ignoring questions and comments. Twitter, like all social media, is supposed to be a dialogue – that’s the “social” part. Only broadcasting and never replying is almost like shouting continuously. Everyone can see that your Twitter stream has no @mentions or retweets and they’ll know it’s pointless to communicate with you before they even try.

Not using all the features. Believe it or not, some brands post only text and links. The Photos tab is empty, or maybe has their logo as a default. And don’t forget that Facebook allows you post videos, as well. In fact, you can have 10 custom Facebook tabs. Use them! Tabs can be used for posting jobs, holding contests, or creating interactive experiences. Look what Coca-Cola offers, for example.

We make a lot of videos here at Brandemix, so my pet peeves are production-based. Bad lighting and bad sound absolutely ruin videos for me. So are videos that stretch three minutes of content into ten minutes of agony. And some people don’t understand the concept of a second take, stammering their way through a presentation. Take the time to do videos right or else they may go viral for all the wrong reasons.

If you’re in a LinkedIn Group, please add to the conversation and comment on others’ posts before posting a blatant advertisement for your services. Yes, we’re all on LinkedIn for business purposes, but that doesn’t mean civility and etiquette don’t apply.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not a fan of Pinterest accounts that only repin others’ pins. To me, it’s like only retweeting on Twitter and never posting something original. You don’t have to be an artist or designer to have access to some kind of visual collateral. Post photos of your office, or your employees, or your neighborhood. Do you have a pet? One category that never fails for me:
dogs wearing sweaters.

Those are the worst offenders for each of the major social networks. Google Plus suffers from the same problem as Facebook, and Instagram abounds with the same poor production quality as YouTube.

What are your social media pet peeves? Have any examples? We’d love to see them.

And, of course, if you’re having trouble achieving social media best practices, we’re happy to help.

Monday, January 21, 2013

What's Underneath American Airlines' New Paint Job?

American Airlines is going through a difficult time: it’s still officially in bankruptcy, its three major unions are intransigent, and it may have to merge with US Airways to survive. And yet, for the last two years (almost its entire term of restructuring), American has been working on a complete rebranding, secretly repainting its fleet in private hangars before unveiling the new look on January 17. It’s the first redesign of the brand in 45 years.

The timing could be perfect, since, over the last few years, airlines have had a run of bad PR that had nothing to do with delays or crashes: Southwest deemed filmmaker Kevin Smith “too fat to fly.” JetBlue had a flight attendant quit by sliding down the emergency chute. Delta overcharged returning veterans for their extra bags. American itself kicked Alec Baldwin off a flight for playing Words With Friends during “no cellphone” time. Perhaps none had it worse than United, which broke musician David Carroll’s guitars and endured three mocking viral videos until the matter was settled.


Regular Brandeblog readers know that, at Brandemix, we believe that a brand is more than a logo. It’s a promise a company makes to its customers, employees, shareholders,  job applicants and more. American has changed its external look, logo, and uniforms – but has it changed its internal operations or culture?

One thing we know is that American is slightly changing both the customer and employee experience. Passengers will now find more wi-fi and USB ports in the terminal and on the plane; first-class passengers will dine on “elegant new china”; some planes will get fully reclining seats. Pilots will be issued iPads and flight attendants will use a Samsung Galaxy device to “see passenger information in real time.”

But what if you’re in economy class and just want to read a book? What if you’re an employee that doesn’t get – or want – a mobile device? American’s rebranding must go deeper to truly change how passengers and employees feel about it. Nothing I’ve seen from the media or the airline itself indicates that American is overhauling its employer branding, onboarding, training, or employee engagement philosophies along with its look.

When we conduct rebranding initiatives for our clients, we work from the inside out. We interview employees, managers, board members, and customers. Only after we discover what the brand means to them do we try align it with the needs and goals of the client. The more workers that are involved in the process, the more likely they are to accept the new brand and become its champions.

Clearly, American’s union employees weren’t involved in the rebranding. The spokesman for American’s pilots union said “A new paint job is fine but it does not fix American's network deficiencies and toxic culture.” The president of the flight attendants’ union said she had no confidence left in the airline’s management team. A new uniform isn’t going to change these employees’ minds; they’ll need a shift in company culture that shows American cares about them.

We can all appreciate or criticize American Airlines’ new logo, but the red and blue icon affects our experience, and the employee experience, very little compared to American’s culture, vision, values, and mission statement. We are hopeful that the airline plans to change those too; if not, we at Brandemix are ready to help; you could said we’re waiting in the wings.