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Social Media: Klm Vs Starbucks

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Social Media (SM) is everywhere and it is becoming a part of our lives. But what is the power of SM and how should you use it in order to be successful as a company? Those are of the main questions that will be answeredin this paper.

People say: SM can be of help to make your company more successful. But, you have to use it wisely and involve everyone in the supply chain of the company . SM can with expressing the core concept of the brand. A recent study on SM by NIBAA Institute Utrecht shows that SM campaigns can increase the brand value. The most important condition is that the SM use should be in line with the existing strategy. SM needs to be approached with a long-term vision and structurally embedded in all business processes, according to the researchers of NIBAA .

But on the other hand, people are still skeptical and just think SM is just a 'hype'. Take for example Warren Buffet, the billionaire stock picker. He stated in New Delhi on March 25, 2011, that social networking sites are overpriced . He warns investors not to go with all the trends, because SM will eventually be replaced or even disappear.

A third vision on SM: Thanks to SM companies can reach their customers easier and more efficient. From the customer perspective, you do not need to look anymore for information; it will come to you. (Jeroen Boschma, April 2011)

In order to answer the main questions, this paper describes two companies that both actively use SM: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Starbucks. Both companies are often mentioned on the web, sometimes positive and sometimes negative. This paper takes especially the learning points for both companies into account in order to give a clear vision on SM. Besides that, in order to creata vision on SM, this paper involves other examples in order to stress what is wrong and what is bad.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

KLM is company that is very active on Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook. The airline company has several success cases, but also failed a couple of times.


DJ's arrange private jet to Miami

The book Groundswell (C. Li and J. Bernhoff, 2008) states a couple of objectives that a company should take into account when using social technologies. One of these objectives is Listening to your customers. By monitoring your customers you will understand them much better. A good SM tool for monitoring is Twitter and that is exactly what KLM uses a lot.

When the airline company announced this March that they were going to fly on Miami again, DJ Sied van Riel reacted disappointed on Twitter, because he would miss all big dance parties in that city. KLM discovered de DJ's Tweet and challenged him: if Sied and his business partner Wilco Jung could fill a private jet with dance fanatics and DJ's within a week, KLM would arrange a flight just before Spring Break in Miami. And so they did. KLM was even so nice that they arranged a DJ booth for the DJ on board, so Sied and Wilco could give a party in the sky.

This case is an excellent example of monitoring your customers. KLM anticipated on emotions, which lead first to a conversation with their customers and eventually to an embracement.

KLM Surprise

Another good example of monitoring conversations of customers is KLM's Surprise case. KLM had been committing little acts of kindness to surprise their passengers, because they were curious on how happiness would spread. When a passenger shares his flight plans via Foursquare, KLM tried to surprise some people with personalized gifts.

As can be seen in the screenshot (in Dutch) above, the KLM Surprise service got a lot of positive reactions all over the globe. This SM campaign is a very nice example of creating brand loyalty; people that have been surprised will definitely travel again with KLM. Besides that small group, all other KLM travellers that heard about the service would like to be surprised as well and will probably choose for KLM the next time.

Finally, this case can also be considered as successful, because it is in line with the strategy of the company. KLM aims for the individual behind the customer, because they are aware of the fact that every customer is different .


First 100 'Likes' on Facebook post get a Victor & Rolf Business Class Kit

(!!! @ Marc: The following is inside information from a friend from KLM, so please keep this between us!!!)

Dutch top designers Victor & Rolf designed special business kits for KLM's intercontinental travellers. The content of these cases were skin naturals, toothbrush with toothpaste, an eye mask and much more. KLM promoted this action via Facebook: the first 100 'Likes' would get one of these special cases. But then a typical SM rookie mistake occurred. KLM had forgotten that you could not track down the sequence of 'Likes' on Facebook. As a result, KLM is now randomly distributing hundreds of Victor & Rolf Business Class Kits, which costs of course a lot of money.

Transavia needs a new slogan

Since 2003 is Transavia Airlines, or Transavia.com as it is now known, a 100% subsidiary of KLM. Transavia.com needed a new slogan for their company and used crowdsourcing as a tool. Via the website transaviazoektslogan.nl people could send in their slogan for Transavia and the airline business would make a top 10. The prize: one year unlimited flying for two persons with your name on the airplane! The campaign had potential; more than 110.000 slogans were sent in. Contestants and fans were involved thanks to SM sites as Hyves, Twitter and Facebook. But it turned into a nightmare when



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