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Ryanair is a Remarkable Business

Posted on : 28-01-2013 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Business, Marketing, Social Media

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This post originally appeared on LinkedIn as part of their influencer program on January 28, 2013.  To see the original post click here.

The Merriam-Webster Definition of Remarkable as
“worthy of being or likely to be noticed especially as being uncommon or extraordinary”

Companies everywhere are striving to win in social media, yet who is really winning? Often we strive to build business for the masses which results in making a brand very average. When we look at social media, the greatest success typically does not fall in the average category. I know many of you think of your brand as above average, but in reality how different are you from other companies out there? What do you like to discuss via social media? When you are mentioning brands is it because it was a regular experience or something that really created a desire to chat? Human nature is that we like to talk more about extremes than every day things. It is a way we strive to differentiate ourselves. I tend to talk about really great experiences or really poor ones.

Unfortunately for brands, poor experiences have become the norm. As I discuss in @YourService, businesses have often focused Customer Service on avoiding talking to you instead of building relationships with Customers. Thhe result is the revolt we have seen for brands in social media over the past few years. This is a trend I expect will grow exponentially over the coming years. This has lead to the creation of social Customer Service, which is presenting challenges because companies typically offer their best help through that channel, causing more people to bash the brand just to receive the help they need. The other challenge for brands is that they have often used marketing channnels to demonstrate to Customers how great they are at service, or their product, but in the past Customers had little recourse if this did not match their experience. Today Customers can just blast your brand in social media.

One such brand that is often blasted in social media is a European airline, Ryanair. If you are from the United States you may not be familiar with Ryanair. As a service guy, I am usually offended by some of the tactics they elect to take, such as the CEO calling a Customer stupid, or debating charging to use the bathroom. A number of months ago I saw a blog postsaying Ryanair needed to start offering social Customer Service because of all the negative discussions occuring regarding the brand. As you study the conversation it is most often people upset about fees. As a person who flies often, I can relate to those frustrated by the fees, but I am not Ryanair’s Customer and my perspective would be meaningless. Ryanair strives to be the low-cost airline. You pay the lowest price to get from point A to point B. If you want to print your boarding pass at the airport, there is a substantial fee. If you want to carry on luggage, that too has a fee. As the complaints pile up regarding their fee structure, the fact is that each one sends the message that the company wants people to know. This does not require social service, in fact I would say more than most companies, Ryanair knows who they are and their message in social media is right on target. They are remarkable, even if it is not a remark you and I would like to see, it fits them.

Companies want to win in the hearts and minds of their Customers. The challenge is that, up until now, their efforts have focused on pushing a message instead of a more holistic approach. Most companies list values or mission on their website, but as you look inside the organization those fluffy words are not lived up to. In the case of Ryanair, they know who they are and live it everyday. It comes through in everything from the fees they charge, to the quotes from the CEO, to the complaints online about their brand.

As I mentioned in the first post on this topic, in 2003 Seth Godin introduced us to the Purple Cow, explaining that in the future the key for brands is not striving to message the masses, but instead look to the extremes. Stated simply, we all see cows all the time and do not think to comment, but if you saw a purple cow, now that is something that is remarkable. Ryanair has their Purple Cow, does your brand?

This is part of a multiple part series with the initial post available on frankeliason.com