April 2006

Flickr as PR tool . . . Eye-Fi

eye_film.jpgGot a great new product?  Want to get a lot of people to see it?  Get a power user on Flickr to take a picture of it.  Scott Beale, also known as Laughing Squid, is a well know photographer.  In fact, he may be the second most 'internet famous' photographer (Thomas Hawk is perhaps the most famous).  So if you are going to create a product for photographers call up Scott and get him to take a picture of it.  

That is exactly what the Yuval Koren, the guy behind Eye-Fi, did.  What is Eye-Fi?  An SD memory card that will turn your camera into a wi-fi camera - no more USB cable.  This is going to be huge!  And  Yuval, by simply showing it to one of the best know 'internet famous' photographer is getting his product in front of thousands of people who WILL buy the Eye-Fi.  Very smart.  More on Gizmodo here.  Check out Scott's eyefi flickr pics here






Alexander Muse | 3:49 pm | [2] Comments Tags: Blogs | Bookmark on del.icio.us | Digg It

C’mon, people now, smile on your brother

Alex has a great post following up on his Barcamp Bangalore experience, replete with shots of many of the attendees.  So cool.  This is something they started at Barcamp Austin, and I hope it continues.  Love seeing the faces of everyone who participates.

Brian Oberkirch | 9:22 am | No Comments Tags: Blogs | Bookmark on del.icio.us | Digg It

If I Ran the Southwest Blog: Example 5

Does any other airline inspire a whole book?  We don't think it requires a user's manual, but hey, people express their luv in all kinds of ways.  

Brian Oberkirch | 9:04 am | No Comments Tags: Blogs | Bookmark on del.icio.us | Digg It

If I Ran the Southwest Blog: Example 4

Rules Were Made to Be Bent

Look, we're not a formal, stuffy place.  Sure, we have strict rules about getting our flights out on time and so on, but when it comes to making our customers feel good about flying, we're ready to bend a bit.  Like, our friend Geoff had a problem and one of our teammates made it right for him.  What happened?  Colleen sent out a note to everyone spotlighting the great thinking those guys did to make a customer feel good about flying with us.  As Geoff says:

Today, I got my reply from Customer Relations (read it here) and a copy of the note Colleen Barrett, Southwest's president, sent to the people who helped me (read it here). Do you think that note will help the next folks in my situation?

Damn right it will.

Just as important, the note from Southwest's Kaye Kelly to me said, "I, of course, did back flips when I read how Patty and Linda were able to "bend the rules" and change your itinerary as you requested."

Amazing! At Southwest, employees get rewarded for bending the rules to help a customer. This customer couldn't be more pleased to let you know.

 And Geoff, you may kiss on the cheek.  

Brian Oberkirch | 9:00 am | No Comments Tags: Blogs | Bookmark on del.icio.us | Digg It

If I Ran the Southwest Blog: Example 3

Our Job Is to Get You There

Sometimes Southwest is about more than peanuts, A bording passes and jokey flight attendents.  Sometimes we have to act like linebackers to make sure you get where you need to go.  Check out this groom's story:

The Ticket Agent looks me and up and down, checks my itinerary, makes an obvious conclusion, and calls for a porter. She didn't check me in. I didn't think I was going to make it on the flight, and, if I rented a car and drove the 320 miles, I would be late to the rehearsal and subsequent dinner. Not good, not good at all…

SWA Ticket Agent: "Paul, get this guy on his plane. Move!"

Paul, a 6'4" black guy who could have played linebacker for the Bears, grabs some of my stuff and we sprint for the gate. It is 11:53AM. Paul maneuvers through the terminal - making apologies for bumping into people, sidestepping elderly folks, and sprinting when an opening appeared.

I follow him down the gantry to the plane. He throws my suitcases to the flight attendent, shakes my hand and wishes me luck. I get on the plane. They shut the door. The Flight Attendent asks me if I would like a complimentary cocktail. I accept the drink - still breathing hard from my run up terminal A.

Over the speaker system on the plane: "Ladies and Gentlemen, our groom has MADE IT!"

The entire plane erupts in applause and cheers. I had flight attendents trying to perform first aid on my nose and chin. I had passengers buying me drinks. And I told the story over the speaker for everyone on the plane. Someone even offered me a ride to my hotel.

Luckily, I didn't see my wife until the rehearsal dinner. I did look like I got beat up, though. At first, she thought I was in a bar brawl (been known to happen).

In all of our wedding pictures, you can see the gash on my chin. Among other things, it reminds me that Southwest is one kick ass airline.


Brian Oberkirch | 8:51 am | No Comments Tags: Corporate Blogging , Blogs | Bookmark on del.icio.us | Digg It

If I Ran the Southwest Blog: Example 2

Here’s what freedom looks like. Tons of folks share their Southwest views on flickr. Some, like this one, are really inspiring. Check it out.

Brian Oberkirch | 8:44 am | 1 Comment Tags: Blogs Work | Bookmark on del.icio.us | Digg It

If I Ran the Southwest Blog: Example 1

My pal Josh Hallett trumpeted the fact that Southwest (the coolest airline outside of JetBlue) launched a blog yesterday.  Good on them.  Trouble is, it's not very Southwesty.  Robert & Shel concur.  Oh, sure, it's got some nutty wordplay and what have you, but it feels like a company blog, and Southwest is successful, in part, because they dress up a spartan service with heaps of personality. 

What do I mean by this blog not quite working?  Let's take one of yesterday's posts and look at some lingo:

Southwest is always looking for opportunities to provide our Positively Outrageous Service to an ever-growing slice of the American “pie,” and adding Dulles to our “bakery case” is the right move at the right time.

As you can see, they are using the blog to make a Marketing Point.  (The post after this is a 'doth protest too much' thing about how business people use Southwest, too.)  "Postively Outrageous Service" is marketing schlock, like ad agency hooey about Proprietary Branding Process.  Normal people don't like this sort of stuff, marketing folks do.  Normal people typically don't breathe the rare air that marketing types do.  Ipso facto, transitive magic gives us the insight that normal people will not respond to a piece of writing about "Positively Outrageous Service."  Keep that sort of kool aid to yourself.

Now, Southwest, as we said, has a Texas-sized personality.  You know the goofy songs they sing, the banter about how you should know the way to buckle a belt if you've ridden in a car since 1960, etc.  No stuffed shirts there.  How about showcasing some of that?  Even better — show us your customers and their fanatical relationship with Southwest.  The blog is even better for that.  

In the spirit of 37Better…., I'll offer up a few freebie blog post examples.  Here's how I might blog if I helped them run the Southwest blog:

Open Seating or Open Season?

Some of our customers are quite, um, creative, when it comes to getting their desired seats when flying Southwest.  Listen in on Gina's scam to keep the center seat clear:

Step 2: This may not work as well due to new luggage restrictions, but place the largest piece of carry-on luggage you've got onto the seat between you and your traveling partner.

Step 3: Each person must lean over the luggage toward each other, and begin to speak in fairly harsh whispers as the plane begins to fill up with higher boarding pass numbers.

Step 4: As the plane begins to get more full, start speaking more loudly to each other. Shaking heads, pointing fingers, and giving dirty looks is encouraged.

Step 5: During your fake lover's quarrel, watch with secret glee as a minimum of a dozen passengers take a look at you two and decide they want nothing to do with either of you all the way to Baltimore.

Step 6: Congratulate each other as the plane is taking off for having the only empty middle seat on the plane.

Every post should have real Southwest flair.   

Brian Oberkirch | 8:41 am | No Comments Tags: Corporate Blogging , Blogs | Bookmark on del.icio.us | Digg It

Live from Bangalore

Last night I did podcasts with Alex & Jay Fichialos.  They had just finished up Barcamp Bangalore.  I've put the casts into the Weblogs Worknotes stream, and you can also listen in to the Barcamp Bangalore podcast.



Brian Oberkirch | 7:02 am | No Comments Tags: Weblogs Work , Blogs | Bookmark on del.icio.us | Digg It

Mike Arrington Helps Kick Off Third Thursday

(Two sharp Mikes:  Manuel & Arrington) 

A great start last night for Third Thursday, the monthly meetup on social media jumpstarted by Mike Manuel, Phil Gomes, Jeremy Pepper & Giovanni Rodriguez.  Hated not to make it, but we can live vicariously through Pepper's write up, Valleywag's commentary, Mike A's blog, Mike M's blog, and this mp3Mike Arrington, of TechCrunch, talks about his goals for the growing network of sites he runs, and how he thinks the new PR should work.

We talked a bit about these same topics in our podcast on Weblogs Worknotes.  

Brian Oberkirch | 3:01 pm | [2] Comments Tags: Blogs , New PR | Bookmark on del.icio.us | Digg It

Ben Brown is Officially the Internet Rockstar

Ben Brown (of Consumating & other Webby adventures) is your guide to SXSW Interactive in IFC's 'Behind the Badge.' 

Brian Oberkirch | 1:49 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs | Bookmark on del.icio.us | Digg It

Weblogs Worknotes: Lane Becker

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(Photo by the ever present Scott Beale)

The latest addition to the Weblogs Worknotes podcast is a chat with Lane Becker, one of the founding members of Adaptive Path. Lane is heading up a new line of business at AP, where the user experience gurus will offer their services to start-ups in exchange for equity. Other topics include how AP helped Princess Cruise Lines rethink their entire consumer booking process, how technology companies can improve their product development processes and why South Park, SF is, once again, the hip hop happening spot for all things Web.

Dig it.

Play the podcast at the Weblogs Worknotes page using the Flash player. Download it here (~65 MB mp3). Or subscribe to the feed for Weblogs Worknotes.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Brian Oberkirch | 12:30 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs Work , Web 2.0 , Weblogs Work , Startup , Podcast | Bookmark on del.icio.us | Digg It

Podcasting: powerful social media tool!

Our Big in Japan tools, specifically PodServe, have seen a huge spike in usage recently.  It is becoming clear much of the current traffic is due to a single podcast.  Leo Laporte covered PodServe on "Inside the Net" a couple of weeks ago and we thought it might help tell the Big in Japan story to 15,000 people (the number of listeners Amber Mac reported to us).  

Evidently Leo's podcasts (according to AOL Radio who distributes them) are more popular than we thought.  In March alone Leo had more than 2.6 million downloads.  That is a big audience by any measure.  As a result traffic to PodServe has spiked, with registered users increasing by more than 50% since the interview.  

Leo, like PodServe, targets a very specific niche firmly planted in the long tail.  Alex blogged about how it is very inexpensive to reach these long tail markets in a post titled, "Biggest Market = Highest Cost to Reach" earlier this week.   

Frederic Tubale | 9:25 pm | No Comments Tags: Blogs | Bookmark on del.icio.us | Digg It

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