Air New Zealand – Brand personality

I was lucky enough to fly Air New Zealand once (well twice, return flight, you know what I mean). The experience was fantastic. I expected a Ryanair flight or at best Aer Lingus and instead got something so much better. The flight attendants were, well, attentive. There was a meal and drinks, spacious seats, in flight entertainment. Then when we were about to land we got landing sweets….honestly…landing sweets!

But I really enjoyed how the brand personality shone through in all the touchpoints.

First of all the in flight safety message was brilliant. Check this out:

Since then they have had other ones, one with Richard Simmons and then one with the All Blacks (check them out at the bottom of this post).

They also think about kids and families, they have kids story times and they get one of the children to help them hand out the landing sweets.

The brand clearly has a personality and it doesn’t just talk about it in its advertising, it lives it through its staff. So get to understand your brand personality and make sure it lives through all possible touchpoints. Any other good examples?

Pass the parcel across Dublin

I liked this for a few reasons. Firstly it was inspired by an idea from New Zealand, it’s been tweaked, but I just love when others see something that has already been done and make it their own.

Secondly it has come from a supporter and not the charity, but the causes involved got fully behind it.

Finally, it’s a good business decision. The courier company behind it gets to meet new customers, maybe making them top of mind for future business?

The idea is best described by the video below. The video shows phase one and what happens when the box/parcel moves from company to company is that the parcel builds up and gets bigger. So kind of the opposite of pass the parcel really.

There are already 62 companies involved so if you want to play the game call Cyclone.

I see potential in this idea….surely this is just year 1 of something that will be really big

A competition isn’t a strategy

Is it just me, or does it  feel like  all brands  are doing on their Facenook pages now is running competitions? In some ways it’s like we have forgotten what else to do there!

Now I’m all for competitions, don’t get me wrong. And often I get alerted to a brands presence on Facebook as a result of the competition. I subsequently, quite often,  like a page so I can enter a competition. But that’s all I’m doing.

I think this is where brands get confused. They see a lift in their “likes” and they think their social media strategy is a success. They told the MD they would get 20,000 likes in 4 weeks and they did (it cost them 70k mind!).

So running competitions on your page, in my humble opinion, isn’t a strategy. Yes it can be interesting and fun, but once I’ve entered, where and how does your brand page remain relevant to me and my life? Where and how are you adding value to my news feed? Because if you aren’t I’m just going to unlike you or hide your stories (please tell me that’s the metric you are really looking at?).

None of this is Facebook’s fault. They are providing an amazing platform and I think marketing teams and agencies are abusing it. I sometimes wonder why certain brands are even on Facebook when all they are doing is running a competition and they seem to have no plan for what happens after that.

People are getting brand blindness in their news feeds, I believe they even experience this when their friends share a “I just entered post”. They just move on.

I think brands have a role on Facebook, I think Facebook are there to help brands work that out (lots of best practice stuff there). I just think brands need to be smarter. Brands are run by people, these people more than likely have a Facebook page, so think like a person when you are thinking about your brand on Facebook. How do you use your account, be brutally honest with yourself then as you review your brands plans for the social network.

I like competitions. I think there is a place for them on Facebook. It’s just not a strategy.

What do you think?

(PS. If you want to look at brands that don’t run competitions but run Facebook pages, check out some charities!)

My dream for appreciation

No, I’m not looking for people to appreciate me. So what is this all about.

Well the wonderful Nancy Schwartz asked me if I would be interested in taking part in the Non Profit Blog Carnival this month. I wondered what I would talk about. The topic is ” What’s Your Dream”. So many dreams (lottery wins and that kind of thing) but as I spent a few days thinking more about it I thought about my dream for the sector, and my dream is for more appreciation.

I truly hope that 2012 is the year in which the sector embraces appreciation. I fundamentally believe that organisations that do appreciation well (and not just once) will thrive.

I hope that organisations will be creative in their appreciation, look for novel ways to reach those who support you. Here is an example that I gave to a non profit recently:

Think about all the schools who fundraise for you, all those kids (and parents) who care enough to take the effort to organise an event for you, bring money in, collect and count it and send it to you. What do you do to appreciate them? The answer is probably “we send them a letter” maybe it’s a card. Who cares, it’s generic and impersonal.

Enter dilemma…but we can’t visit all those schools we would be on the road 365.

Get Creative is the answer. Get in touch with the teacher in charge and organise a Skype video call with the class (or entire school). Answer their questions, say thanks. This will take 30 mins of your time.

Imagine how they will feel. Really good I’d say. Critics may suggest this is a bit like an award ceremony acceptance speech via video. Maybe. But it’s a hell of a lot better than just sending a letter.

So that’s my dream for this year, appreciation. More of it. More creative executions of it. So if you are in the mood for appreciation now is the time, answer the call….appoint your own director of appreciation this year.

Thanks for reading


Have you heard about Hireland? I’m really impressed by this movement.

We all have great ideas, but what turns an idea into a movement is action. This idea, like many others, was generated over a kitchen table, spurred on by a sense of frustration that we were losing so many great, talented people to emigration. But this movement came to life because the emotion was one of frustration not anger. Anger leads to blame whereas frustration can lead to action.

So the Hireland team, people from the business world, took action. They decided the time had come:to stop waiting on a solution from the government and to take action ourselves”. They used their own spare time and resources to make this a reality and got students from Champlain College and DIT involved too. The media industry has gotten behind this with over 500K of in kind donations, creating and placing ads.

So how does it work?

Companies are asked to pledge a job on the Hireland website. Once a company pledges they will appear on the Pledgers wall and this forms part of a “a positive ripple effect for all to see”. The pledge will then become part of Hireland’s Growth index and that forms “part of a powerful voice that Ireland is open for business”.

So far 301 jobs have been pledged. If you are hiring or know someone who is….please get them to pledge here

“We aren’t in business to survive, we are in business to succeed. The time is now to invest in success and the people we hire are the most important investment we can make.”

(Hireland, Jan 2102)


Yes, it is hard to keep up. So whats the next big thing? Well everyone seems to be talking about Pinterest, and so I have signed up. So far I am still getting my head around it and how I should be using it personally so for organisations, who are time strapped, thats probably even harder to do.

So, as with all things social, when I am not sure what its all about, I turn to Beth Kanter….and guess what…she has a blog post about it and how it could be used for your organisation. So while I am off trying to figure it out, I thought I would share a link to her post so you can start getting your head around it.

Let me know what you think

Beth Kanter, Pinterest: A tool to curate relevant visual content for your audience