Branding by presence

I’ve only really started using Twitter this year (why did I not do it earlier?) and I feel it is just the right tool for me, in addition to blogging of course.

It’s fast, there’s a stream(s) to follow, you meet random people and get involved in random discussions, it’s continuously on the move and you can always choose to close your eyes for a moment, and when you come back, you can get up to speed in a moment. And to top it all off, it’s a mixture of cultures and languages.

I’ve been following and taking part in the QualityHunters online extravaganza mostly through Twitter and blogging.

The past days have been very interesting as regards exchanging views, discussing with a fast pace, laughing and networking. It’s the first time I’m really taking part in a discussion that lasts for days and weeks, and so far am enjoying it a lot. Again, one of those experiences where you realize how smart, witty and funny people are. They just keep coming my way, or I keep wandering in search of them, but either way, I love it.

What makes this all the more easy for me is the new iMember of the iFamily, my precious white, super fast and super mobile iPad. Got it a week ago, now can’t live without. Now online living is so much more pleasant and easy with the iPrecious. I like it.

I actually never saw myself having discussions on the quality of airline services, as I’ve been more inclined to talk about bicycles, cycling and walking in the forest. What has made me happy is the inclusion of ecological aspects of flying to these discussions, in addition to many other topics, such as tambourine playing elves, eating Durian and Nordic Delights.

But I have to say, related to today’s discussion topic, airline loyalty programmes, that I’ve come to appreciate reliability. Having travelled a lot, I don’t care too much about sudden surprises (oh, your plane just took off with other passengers as we’ve experienced some timetable problems and we’re just passing the problem on) or complete lack of flexibility (your bag weighs 200 g over the limit, please pay a 1000 euros as a fine).

When I was travelling back from Laos with a relatively large German Shepard, I have to admit that I was relieved to fly with Finnair. Why?

Well, you may be able to imagine the amount of paperwork that needs to be done in order to import a dog from Laos to Finland. Yes? Now triple that, and you’re in the right direction. Then: add transporting several lives from one country to another, mix in a hint of anxiety regarding the decisions you’ve made, two cups of mixed emotions over leaving, two cups of mixed feelings over arriving and some spoonfuls of good memories.

At that point, in the middle of the hurricane of feelings, having to sit and wait at an airport for nine hours, trying to solve an incomprehensible paper work problem, knowing one four-legged family member is locked away in a box in an unknown place, probably frightened and very much alone, I highly appreciated that young Finnair staff member, who sat with me for over an hour and talked to me, reassured me by just being there and most of all, waited patiently with me until the issue at hand was solved. Will not forget it ever.

And here’s the thing. I don’t believe airline loyalty programmes can attract and keep customers coming back only by offering nice things to buy, cool lounges to spend time in or handsome benefits, even though it’s all ok. The brand is built where airline staff meet customers on a daily basis. Finnair has scored really high on my scale in this regard, and I keep coming back because of my good experience. It may sound a bit too cheesy to be true, but hey, that’s what clichés are all about – the truth.

♠ In the meantime: What to say about the heading here: Only women nominated for top literary prize. Seriously? A lot of buzz in social media today over this particular choice of words at YLE.

♥ Song of the day: Sam Cooke, A change is gonna come

2 thoughts on “Branding by presence

  1. Great that you found Finnair helpful at a time of need, unfortunately I think there are many others who’ve had less pleasant experiences… For example, their customer “service” department is notorious for avoiding problem solving and leaving the customer out of pocket – it’s almost impossible to speak to a person or to get them to take any responsibility for problems even when it’s clearly an issue from their side. I’m really not such a big fan of Finnair and know many others who are actively boycotting them because of the treatment they’ve been given.

    • Thanks for sharing that Eeva! And this is exactly what I mean: it’s all based on personal experience, the way you feel you have been treated in certain cituations. If the experience, good or bad, keeps repeating itself, your image of the company is strengthened accordingly. The brand only truly exists when a certain amount of people (critical mass) see the brand in similar ways and in line with the set brand targets of the company/organisation. Company image is there anyway, undefined and rather uncontrollable, but brand is always consciously built. As for you and others you mention, the company obviously has not succeeded in reaching out to you.

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