— blending the mix

Brands – Eurostar is your wake up call

I spent ages writing the usual considered analysis of the Eurostar debacle, only to find that someone had beaten me to it – so be it, but good piece anyway. It’s well worth a read. (one question though – why the hell use posterous to publish such a lengthy blog post…)

To any business out there considering social media – this is your wake up call. Let Eurostar get a kicking for this and learn from their mistakes.

YOU on the other hand can do it the right way. You cannot get involved in social media if you don’t:

1. Know who is already talking about you – for god’s sake if you do NOTHING else, listen to conversations taking place about you.
2. Have your assets protected – make sure you own your brand name on all the places you need to use
3. Get your back office sorted:

  • Assign people – Know who is going to do the listening, where and with what.
  • Triage comments – deal with the most important/dangerous/
  • Define the information flow – know how information will get from the end user to the person capable of answering it.

As much as We Are Social annoyingly name drop work they have done into every comment they leave on the web EVER, they have some bloody smart people working there and I do think they have been unfairly criticised for their role in this – they have gone beyond the call of duty to manage a problem that is not of their doing, nor their brief to sort.

Eurostar it seems, just didn’t want to do it properly (although I’m not sure I would have said as much on my company blog) which is a fundamental problem and one which ties up my previous post about clients needing to place more trust in the agencies they appoint – that they are doing this properly.

Sure, the problems would not have gone away, but Eurostar would have been much wiser to listen to the people they appointed to run Little Break, Big Difference – after all that is a great piece of work requiring a major budget. If they can trust we are social to implement an initiative of this size, then SURELY they must trust them to help them manage their comms in the same channels too?

Emma Harris, Eurostar’s Sales and Marketing Director shows the problem:

“We’re the commercial department and we were kind of ready for social media but the business wasn’t. To start involving crisis communication and disruption messages into social media, we just weren’t ready for it. “

Again, as per my last piece, perhaps there are so many snake oil agencies out there that clients have come to distrust every agency they meet, or perhaps the comms team see social media as a marketing thing…or perhaps marketing see this as a comms thing…whatever, if you learn one thing from this post and the whole debacle:

Customers are platform and stature-neutral – they don’t care about who you are. Find ways to deal with them in their playing field how they want to play.

WAS – good job folks. I think you’ve delivered above the call of duty and given a good account of yourselves.

Update: please read Andrew’s post for an incredibly balanced, considered view! Your life will be better for it!

6 comments
  1. […] Brands – Eurostar is your wake up call | blending the mix blendingthemix.com/2009/12/22/brands-eurostar-is-your-wake-up-call – view page – cached I spent ages writing the usual considered analysis of the Eurostar debacle, only to find that someone had beaten me to it – so be it, but good piece anyway. […]

  2. Gino says: December 22, 20092:44 pm

    As good as all of this social media information network is, and Mr F can vouch for my positive leaning towards this, all of the above is the biggest pile of rubbish I have ever heard. Or rather, the biggest issue with the Eurostar since Friday was that there was a huge lack of communication when dealing with crisis management, and NO ONE IN THE EUROSTAR/EUROTUNNEL departments could answer a simple question on the ground – “what’s going on?”, “Will I still get across?”, “what’s happened to my booking?”. If they cant answer those questions to the people trapped in the terminal or on the trains, then how can their huge incompetence be expected to answer questions on the web? Using Social Media would have helped if their site had a gateway to these answers but did not.

    Eurostar/Eurotunnel were totally out of their league on this, and I fear that the comments above are not to be truly listened to either, sorry.

    Before anyone says anything about this, I was there on Friday, and it was the worst 15 hours I have ever spent in my life. No communication, no food, no toilets, being escorted out of a warm building to a car park in -6C being told to go home because the services were all shut, and having to wait over 6 hours until we were informed by the way of cars moving that something was happening. No matter how much you can look at this with clever social media, the truth is, it wouldn’t have helped any passenger on Friday night whatsoever.

  3. Gino says: December 22, 20099:44 am

    As good as all of this social media information network is, and Mr F can vouch for my positive leaning towards this, all of the above is the biggest pile of rubbish I have ever heard. Or rather, the biggest issue with the Eurostar since Friday was that there was a huge lack of communication when dealing with crisis management, and NO ONE IN THE EUROSTAR/EUROTUNNEL departments could answer a simple question on the ground – “what’s going on?”, “Will I still get across?”, “what’s happened to my booking?”. If they cant answer those questions to the people trapped in the terminal or on the trains, then how can their huge incompetence be expected to answer questions on the web? Using Social Media would have helped if their site had a gateway to these answers but did not.

    Eurostar/Eurotunnel were totally out of their league on this, and I fear that the comments above are not to be truly listened to either, sorry.

    Before anyone says anything about this, I was there on Friday, and it was the worst 15 hours I have ever spent in my life. No communication, no food, no toilets, being escorted out of a warm building to a car park in -6C being told to go home because the services were all shut, and having to wait over 6 hours until we were informed by the way of cars moving that something was happening. No matter how much you can look at this with clever social media, the truth is, it wouldn’t have helped any passenger on Friday night whatsoever.

  4. […] Brands – Eurostar is your wake up call […]

  5. Ashford, Eurostar. says: January 7, 20105:28 pm

    It is important to not forget that re:Eurostar, the services have only been reduced, which seems to be common sense for people’s safety to be honest. I’ve just got back (today) from Strasbourg so I wasn’t stuck in the tunnel, but I think people should check the Ebbsfleet, and indeed the station websites as they do give out all the info.

  6. Ashford, Eurostar. says: January 7, 201012:28 pm

    It is important to not forget that re:Eurostar, the services have only been reduced, which seems to be common sense for people’s safety to be honest. I’ve just got back (today) from Strasbourg so I wasn’t stuck in the tunnel, but I think people should check the Ebbsfleet, and indeed the station websites as they do give out all the info.

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