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Submitted by: Nishant Singh (E058)

United Breaks Guitar

On July 6, 2009, a video entitled United Breaks Guitars1 appeared on YouTube.


The author, Canadian musician Dave Carroll, wrote a song about his unsatisfactory
experience with United Airlines.
In the song he blamed United Airlines for breaking the neck of his $3,500 guitar, caused by
careless baggage handling and unreasonable policies.
Customer service found Mr. Carrolls refund ineligible, as the claim did not take place
within the standard 24-hour time frame
Relayed by HuffingtonPost &NBCChicago
Interview of Author with mainstream media like CNN, CBS morning show etc.
By July 10, youtubes no1 video with 1.6 million views
British Media picked up the story and second surge in youtube views
Traffic on authors website increased by 100 times per week
United Response to Carrols Video
Immediate contact with Dave after discovering the tweet
Apology and offer to correct their mistake
Using social media to convey corrective steps taken by them
Offering and providing compensation through Daves preferred route
Admitting publicly that mistake was a learning
Using the learnings to shape their culture
Maintained relationship with Dave with appropriate communication
EFFICACY OF THE RESPONSE
United Airlines managed the crisis well
It offered an apology, a compensation and claimed to use the video for internal training
They tweeted regularly updating the public about the remedial steps they were taking
They did not criticize the video; instead mentioned it as it has struck a chord with us
Later on they resorted to direct mails to diffuse the situation in a more personal way
Missing Strategies
No other medium used apart from Twitter, did not apologize immediately, did not learn from the
mistake.

Approximately 15% to 16% of tweets about UBG were re-tweeted, compared to an overall
Twitter average of approximately 9%.
86%of Tweets about UBG referenced web addresses, compared to a Twitter average of
approximately 40%

Blogs
When UBG was placed on YouTube it struck a chord with key influencers on the web.
The primary influencers at the beginning of the campaign seem to have primarily been
bloggers.
Bloggers tend to be great influencers a great deal of journalists also double as bloggers,
and many bloggers
not affiliated with mainstream media are viewed equal to traditional journalists. This is
clearly evident in the case of United Breaks Guitars , where bloggers seemed to help
spread the word.
Twitter
It influences both traditional and new media
It influenced the mainstream media since almost 40% of tweets referenced only YouTube
Almost all embedded links in tweets referenced mostly British and Irish

Submitted by: Nishant Singh (E058)

online publications, clearly proving that mainstream media had more of an influence on
Twitter in this case than vice versa.
@mashable was reweeted 121 times in July.
Taylor Guitars
They gave Dave a new Taylor Guitar
They created their own YouTube video. In it, they stated how unhappy they become when
any guitar gets damaged and reminded people about their repair services.
They also offered free information about how to travel safely with guitars.
This quickly produced two-minute video has generated 562,777 views
Cross Media Influence
Besides YouTube, more people referenced the Mashable.com blog in July than any other
source.
WHAT IS THE ORIGIN AND IMPLICATION OF THE TERM GOING VIRAL?
Think about what happens when a virus makes its way into the human body. Over just a
short period, many viruses can spread and produce serious health effects in an unlucky
person. Likewise, a computer virus can spread with dreaded rapidity. The word viral is
used to indicate the same type of rapid spread in terms of content.
In terms of the Internet, a piece of content can spread just like a virus if people become
infected when they see it.
The infection usually comes from evoked emotions that spur the viewer to share it, so they
can relate with other people and discuss how they feel.
The basic idea behind something going viral involves the concept of a chain reaction
Facebook defines virality as the number of people who have created a story from your
post as a percentage of the number of people who have seen it. It goes on to elaborate
that a story can consist of liking, commenting or sharing your post, answering a
question or responding to an event.
HOW CAN AN IDEA BE PROPAGATED THROUGH A SOCIAL NETWORK?
Context
Universality of Experience: People should be able to associate themselves with the
messages
Contextual conditions should be able to foster an epidemic
Content
Should be memorable
Acceptability of the idea
Targeting
Aggrieved parties
Opinion leaders
Multiple high density social media platforms
HOW SHOULD CORPORATIONS PREPARE FOR THE CHALLENGE POSED BY USERGENERATED VIDEO AND OTHER MATERIAL DISSEMINATED ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Proactive preparation
Public relation practitioners must stay aware of latest social platforms and closely monitor
the ongoing communication
Have presence on multiple social media platforms and understand the pairing and
international impact
Use analytics to constantly gauge the impact of any positive/negative posts/tweets/video
HOW SHOULD CORPORATIONS PREPARE FOR THE CHALLENGE POSED BY USERGENERATED VIDEO AND OTHER MATERIAL DISSEMINATED ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
In case of a crisis:
The first step in a crisis plan is establishing a spokesperson, someone who is effective,
quick to speak to the media, consistent , open , sympathetic, and informative
Quick and immediate response giving assurance to the concerned parties

Submitted by: Nishant Singh (E058)

Extensive analysis of the situation to understand its potential impacts on various


organizational aspects
In case of a genuine error/misstep formal apology and adequate compensation