Tony Fernandes Read My Blog
A case study in just how easy
and powerful it can be for any Malaysian brand to leverage the
blogosphere even without running its own brand blog
By Jeff Zweig, Chief Guru, Web Guru Asia
AirAsia have been the first to do many things right and it’s no
surprise how Tony Fernandes and his team have taken to effectively
leveraging the blogosphere. Tony launched his own CEO blog at
www.tonyfernandesblog.com but that’s not what I’m talking about here.
I believe that for many Malaysian companies, launching a brand or CEO
blog is perceived as a big step to take fraught with perceived risks
and uncertainties. Although I do think it is well worth running a brand
or CEO blog for many reasons and although there are proven strategies
to address the perceived risks, I am not making the case to run a brand
or CEO blog in this article.
What I am here to talk about is a different approach--a proven,
powerful way to cheaply, easily and effectively leverage the
blogosphere without having to run your own brand blog. This method is
all about harnessing the power of conversation, honesty and trust in
social media and it won’t cost you one sen in banner advertising, email
marketing, rich media, search engine marketing or any other paid
digital marketing creative campaign or service.
Then let me tell you a story.
One day, Kenny Sia our popular local blogger complained bitterly about
the quality of AirAsia’s food on his blog. He even went so far as to
show pictures of the nice food on the packaging compared to the food
that actually came in the tray.
Starting later that same day, Kenny’s readers wrote almost 20 A4 pages
of mostly negative comments about AirAsia’s food on his blog.
Just a little more than a week later, Kenny got a call from the
communications department at AirAsia inviting him to the launch of
their new in-flight menu. After some initial hesitation, Kenny decided
to attend the event.
And boy, was he impressed! The new food looked and tasted great and he
got to meet people like Sarawak songstress Camelia and Tune Talk CEO
Jason Lo. After the event, he even got a personal call from Tony
When he got back home, he wrote all about his great experience on his
blog along with photos of all his adventures, including his mobile
phone with the call history featuring Tony’s name.
This time, Kenny’s readers left almost 30 A4 pages of mostly positive
You can read all about Kenny’s experience here:
What does this mean for Malaysian brands?
Here’s what I think:
Anyone can use a free and easy tool like Google Alerts to track by
keyword what is said on the Internet about their brand, their company
or their CEO. A tool like Google Alerts simply sends the relevant web
page links via email.
2. What started as a
very negative blog post about AirAsia’s food turned into a delighted
customer’s rant about how impressed he was with the new menu, the brand
and the CEO. Given the 30 A4 pages of mostly positive comments, Kenny’s
readers agreed with him.
3. Kenny and his
loyal audience did all the work. He wrote the blog posts, he took and
posted the photos and his readers posted all the positive comments. All
AirAsia had to do was invite him down to the launch event that they
were already running.
4. Because Google
loves blogs, Google search engine results will reward Kenny’s blog and
AirAsia with even more positive exposure. And this doesn’t even take
into account the number of Kenny’s readers who may decide to include a
link to his post on their own blogs, Facebook pages, social bookmarking
sites and so on.
5. Kenny is just one
influential blogger and AirAsia customer. What if a brand decided to
honestly engage 5 such customer bloggers, or 10 or 25 or 50 in such an
honest yet strategic way?
Kudos to Tony and his communications
team for not sticking their heads in the sand and ignoring Kenny’s
negative post. More kudos for directly engaging Kenny and for
gracefully turning a negative customer experience into a positive one
for all of us (and Google) to see.
KL-based Jeff Zweig is Chief Guru of Web Guru Asia, an award winning digital marketing agency with clients world-wide.