Marketing in the age of new media
Bransonspeak | Richard Branson
We’ve been trying to find a way to improve communication with our customers, but neither our website nor our Facebook page is producing results. What would you suggest?
– Billy Loaiza Rivera, Medellin, Colombia
This is a question keeping many chief executives and company founders awake at night as they struggle to keep up with rapid changes in the digital world. The swift rise of new communication channels such as Facebook and Twitter has caused many executives to reassess how they stay in touch with their customers, with employees and, increasingly, with the media itself.
Companies’ relationships with their customers have ...view middle of the document...
In the past, I would ask Virgin customers to write to me with problems or ideas, and I often called people to talk about the problems that came up. It was a great way to check on our businesses’ quality and standards—though many of the complainants believed one of their friends was playing a practical joke on them. To this day, I try to answer as many emails as I can and encourage our executives to do the same.
Neil Berkett, the chief executive of Virgin Media, our UK cable and telecom group, recently told me that he gets at least 20 to 30 emails a day from customers, and he tries to respond with a brief, direct note within hours.
This has helped him improve the company’s reputation for customer service, which needed some work when we first combined NTL, Telewest and Virgin Mobile to create Virgin Media in 2007.
Beyond customer service, you may need to consider that the old divisions between advertising, marketing and public relations (PR) have broken down, so it’s time to review how your marketing team works.
Virgin Atlantic recently created a Social Relations team to manage the combined media space and to make sure our sites and communications are current and interesting, maintaining the cheeky flair that characterizes the brand.
We have always tried to maximize the impact of our advertising through clever PR, daring stunts and amusing media campaigns.
The rise of social media has presented some exciting challenges to the status quo and caused us to question our usual ways of doing business. When we launched a new global ad for Virgin Atlantic on TV and in theatres—full of humour, fun and with a touch of glamour—the ad also started to generate a big following online, as it was promoted by our fans to their friends. This extended the reach of our ad far beyond our usual audiences.
To succeed, such efforts must be...