Quantas airline is a carrier airline based in Australia. In terms of fleet size, international destinations and international flights, it is the largest airline. The company was first started in 1919 by two flying corps Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness. The company started international flights in 1934 after acquiring passenger flights. During the World War 2, Australia-England route operated by Quantas became a major line of communication. After the war, the company modernized their fleet and became fully government owned. Through the years, the company experienced tremendous growth to be among the largest airlines in the world. By the year 2010, the company employed 35700 people and operated a fleet of 254 aircrafts.
Despite the growth the company has experienced through the years, it has also experienced hard times. Between august and November 2010, three of the company aircrafts had to perform emergency landing after experiencing problems with the engine. This forced the company to ground six of its major airbuses and overshadowed the company’s 90th anniversary celebrations. In 2011, the company had a long-standing dispute with company unions forcing it to ground its entire fleet of aircraft. The public responded with discontent given that many passengers were stranded all over the world. When the company launched a luxury contest in twitter in late 2011, angry users of twitter responded with negative comments about the labor negotiation and fleet grounding. The company’s management did not seem to follow the comments and ended up thanking people for their positive feedback. The competition received comments not only from Australia but from all over the world.
Given the nature and kind of problems that the company has faced in the past and in recent times, it is important for the management to build a positive public perception of the brand or risk the public losing trust with the company.
One way the company can do this is by investing more time in social media marketing. Judging by the way twitter replies were handled, the company is doing poorly in social media. Social media today is the major platform for marketers to improve their brands perception. It is important for the company to build relationships and connections with the customers through social media(Laroche, Habibi & Richard, 2013). In addition, when problems like the engine burst happens, it is very easy to inform the customers what is happening and offer apologies through social media. When Charles Butler won two tickets to watch the wallabies rugby game, he and his friend dressed in wigs and black paint on their faces. The public constructed this as racism. The two were trying to impersonate their favorite player forgetting the public eyes were on them. The company should have known this. If the company had been active in social media at the time, I am sure they would have realized how such an action would have been handled in social media.
Another way the company can improve the brand perception is by timely handling any negative comments or reviews. Any time the company faces a problem, comments and reviews streams in from all over the world in newspapers, blogs, social media and by word of mouth. It is important for the company to respond to such reviews without waiting for long. When someone posts a negative comment about any company, the public is always waiting eagerly to hear what the mentioned company has to say. If the company fails to comment, the public perceives what the comment said as the truth (Hamilton, 2011). Create a truth by responding to such comments and assuring the public that all is well.
Another important factor for improving company brand is effective and timely communication. If the company decided to ground all the airbuses, they should have informed the public way before the grounding happened. This would have the passengers to make other travel arrangements. Communication in any company is a major aspect. Effective communication leads to efficiency and good results. When the company just grounds airbuses and someone was travelling to a meeting overseas, the meeting possibly goes on and the person misses. Can the company compensate for the meeting?
When using social media for contests, there are factors that the company should consider. The major factor is what the company wants to achieve by launching the contest. The company should start by having the end in mind. By thinking about the result, any company will be able to determine the level of engagement expected from the users. By doing this, it is easy to engage with the users since you already guess what they are mostly likely to comment (Laroche, Habibi & Richard, 2013). If Quantas airline new that the twitter users would comment negatively about the contest, they would have been prepared to reply to the comments.
Another factor an organization should consider is the value of the contest package. Anything on social media reaches the whole world. When the value of the contest package is something an ordinary person can afford, people dismiss either it or comment negatively. The package should be equal to the company’s standards.
Considering the problems facing Quantas airline Olivia Wirth has to device a course of action for the management. The first course of action is to analyse the situation. There is need to examine both the external and internal environment surrounding the issue. The management should analyse the contests comments to see the issues the public is really concerned about the company like the salary increases and grounding of airbuses.
The next step will be to identify and profile the customers. It is important to understand the type of customers you are dealing with after which the priority audiences are selected. It is essential to set the priorities in any communication. The management should analyses the twitter social media comments and reviews and then prioritise on how to where and how to reply(Hamilton, 2011). The communication objectives should be identified. This identifies the type of message to be communicated where in this situation it will be persuasive considering the negative publicity the company has received in recent times.
Finally, the management should evaluate the different strategies available for achieving the desired outcomes. The management will have to identify how well to present their messages to the public and by which means. Considering this is not a one-day thing, the management will have to evaluate the plan regularly and make any necessary changes. There should also be a calendar of events showing what is to be done at a specific time.
Hamilton, C. (2011). Communicating for results: A guide for business and the professions (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.
Laroche, M., Habibi, M. R., & Richard, M. O. (2013). To be or not to be in social media: How brand loyalty is affected by social media?. International Journal of Information Management, 33(1), 76-82.
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