When dealing with organizations that are dealing with digital communication changes, one of the most revealing points is to compare multiple data sources and review how A leads to B leads to C.
In the case of United Airlines we collected a snapshot of material on 10/01/09 and created a simple one page questions and answers sheet that served as a thought catalyst.
There are several concepts that need to be addressed (From left to right)
In 2008, the pilot union of United Airlines created the GlennTilton blog, directly targeting the CEO’s name in an effort to spotlight their request to have Glenn Tilton fired. Through-out most of 2009, the site was averaging two to four thousand visitors a month.
In the center column, brand advocates and disgruntled consumers participated in Untied.com (a letter play on United) – which averaged 8500 visitors a month.
On the right column, Guitarist Dave Carroll created the smash-hit video “United Breaks Guitars” and had nearly five million viewers (as of today: 7.2 million)
Across the center row, we can see the numbers related to estimated search traffic that was exposed and redirected from brand keyword searches. The true box of importance is highlighted (to right) , placing on-going brand damages at $25k a month and higher.
Some other items of note:
Wikipedia has an entry that scores on the third search result of the search phrase “United Airlines.” That Wikipedia resource page was viewed 66595 times in December 2009. (resulting in an additional potential loss of $150k a month)
That brand/marketing damage is not simply about mass audience appeal, but industry investor impact. As a direct connection to poor stock performance and bad reputation, BloggingStochs editor Jamie Dlugosc wrote “Stock to avoid #7 – United Airlines” where the United Breaks Guitar video was highlighted for the investment audience.
To leave on a more comical note:
“Hitler finds out United Breaks Guitars”
[pro-player width=’530′ height=’340′ type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEqvCktdSBM[/pro-player]