advertising+maketing malaysia

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.

Sound interesting?

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 himself.

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 comments.

You can read all about Kenny’s experience here:
www.kennysia.com/archives/2008/06/tony_fernandes.php

What does this mean for Malaysian brands?

Here’s what I think:


1.    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.

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