Archive for April 6th, 2011

How do You YouTube?

From connecting with customers to demonstrating new products to promoting specials and deals, a YouTube channel can be a beneficial asset to any company and can help build credibility and trust with customers or help attract new ones. In addition, YouTube can be a good outlet for dealing with public relations issues because it allows the company to truly connect with the audience as opposed to an effective yet impersonal press release. Ironically, I chose to follow Southwest Airlines’ YouTube channel this week to figure out how this company is utilizing this form of new media. Sadly, in the wake of the recent cracked planes fiasco, Southwest has not posted any videos pertaining to the news. However, I think Southwest does a good job of using its channel to showcase the company’s perks and personality.

Starting from the ground up, Southwest’s YouTube channel is named “NutsAboutSouthwest,” which personally I think ties into its brand and personality well as opposed to a simple “SouthwestYouTube” title. The channel also 3,297 subscribers, 353 followers and 1,061 friends, demonstrating the company’s large and loyal fan base. In addition, the site has had over 250,000 views. During the past week, Southwest posted four new videos on the channel.

The first type of video Southwest has is the “SWA Stew,” based on the popular celebrity gossip show. During this 2-minute show, the host recounts the five Southwest videos of the week, which is actually just five cool things about Southwest – not actual videos.

The second type of video on the channel is commercials. Recently, Southwest has gained a lot of popularity with its new commercials, especially surrounding the “Bags Fly Free” perk. In addition, the company draws off these commercials with short clips that relate to the well-liked commercials. For example, the clip posted this week was: “Southwest Airlines Fee Court: 9 Angry Employees.” This is similar to the popular commercials held in the courtroom in which Southwest employees act as the jury and the customer (the one suing) is always right. This particular clip is only 35 seconds but shows the Southwest employees deliberating in the jury room and being shocked at the way customers are treated. I think this is a great way to utilize the channel because commercials are limited to a certain time frame and are expensive to produce and air. This way, the videos extend the commercials and provide entertainment.

The third way Southwest utilizes YouTube is by posting silly/entertaining videos that incorporate one of the company’s values. The one posted this week for instance, “Southwest Airlines Unlocks the Key to Time Travel… and it’s groovy baby,” is a 1:15 minute clip showing two men in a plane. The clips describes that Southwest is experimenting with time travel for its loyal customers. Then, the scene flashes back to the 70’s and the men have a very 70-ish conversation (whiskey, cigarettes and disco included) with the flight attendant. The clip ends with the flight attendant directing a question to the audience: “Do you remember what it was like before somebody else up there loved you? We do.” This video not only shows Southwest’s fun personality but demonstrates its dedication to customers and providing the best care for them. The clips are not the most professional-looking, but I think it adds to the customer connection.

In conclusion, I think Southwest Airlines does an excellent job utilizing its YouTube channel as an extension of the company’s brand and personality. The channel recounts the organization’s values, mission and perks.

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April 2011