Posts Tagged ‘communications’

Communications in the credit crunch

January 5, 2009




With the media doing little to quell the hype around the credit crunch as we move into a new year I found myself thinking this morning about the effect that the dip in consumer confidence might have on the communications market. 


I’m not thinking of advertising, marketing or PR, but more of how the economic climate may affect consumers’ general appetite for IT and telecommunications.  With the average consumer now switched on 24/7 via access to broadband internet on the PC both at work and at home, and with mobile phones becoming increasingly useful information and entertainment tools, it is unlikely that fears of the impending recession will be enough to make us consider giving up these premium services, but is it enough to make us permanently change our communications habits? 


I envisage that, as consumers become more price-conscious, we might begin to re-examine the service providers’ and mobile operators’ offerings, becoming more discriminating between the various offers on the market and increasingly looking to combine services under one spend (think of Virgin’s quadplay digital TV, broadband, phone and mobile package).  Consumers certainly stand to benefit from better value in 2009, but which of the big players will be savvy enough to predict what we want and lead the market in delivering it?  Stay tuned….


A bad month for air travel

August 29, 2008

Is it just me, or has this month been a terrible one for the aviation industry?

First off, BAA was forced to sell Gatwick and Stansted thanks to the competition commission (possibly not such a bad thing for passengers and airlines).

Transatlantic budget carrier Zoom Airlines was also forced to suspend all flights and go into administration. Thousands of passengers due to fly with Zoom have been told to rebook with other carriers and to contact credit or debit card issuers about refunds. The rising price of aviation fuel has been named as a major factor in the airline’s demise.

A series of other minor aviation incidents followed, including a plane catching fire on a runway, a Thomsonfly plane having to turn back after a fire broke out in an on-board oven and an Air France 747 skidding off the runway after landing at Montreal.

All of these events were overshadowed when a SpanAir passenger jet tragically crashed at Madrid’s Barajas airport. Just four days later, an Itek Air Boeing 737 -bound for Iran, crashed – killing two thirds of the passengers and crew.

Given this atmosphere, one might have expected Ryanair to handle their recent crisis differently. Flight FR9336 from Bristol to Barcelona Girona airport was forced to divert to Limoges, in central France after the cabin depressurised. In total, 16 passengers were taken to hospital with earache and were not allowed to fly again for at least 24 hours.

Stories quickly surfaced about the terrifying ordeal, the lack of communication from the flight crew and the suggestion that the plane’s oxygen masks were not functioning.

RyanAir CEO, Michael O’Leary, reacted unapologetically – saying that his airline had done nothing wrong and had followed all the correct procedures. But at the end of a bad month for air travel and immediately after a harrowing firsthand account of the RyanAir incident from a passenger this was a poorly judged public relations response.

O’Leary could easily have been less defensive and promised a complete overhaul of the flight safety procedures whilst still maintaining the key points that flight safety procedures were followed and that no one was seriously hurt.

All this wasn’t helped when a second RyanAir flight was forced to divert to another airport a day later. This time due to an allergic reaction in a passenger – caused by mushroom soup leaking onto him from an overhead compartment.

I suppose that makes them a laughing stock… souper….

Obama McCain fight out communications master class

June 4, 2008

The race for the Democratic candidate for the Presidency now looks to be over and I personally look forward to the fight ahead. But whichever way you lean, as a communications professional, the Obama-McCain race is set to be a fascinating case study in communications strategy. For example, top of the list of objectives for Republicans has got to be neutering Obama’s USP – the Democratic agenda for change.

So how has McCain gone about it?

As reported in Newsnight, McCain said the word ‘change’ no less than 33 times during a recent speech, and this simple mantra is worth spinning out in order to achieve the goal. As a 72 year old, taking on the mantel of the previous Government, surely no-one believes that McCain really stands for real change? But in terms of the way that McCain communicates, that’s by the by.
The Republican’s clear strategy here is to diffuse the power of Obama’s message – if both candidates keep banging on about change, then it becomes hard to differentiate on the matter between the two. And then once the notion of change has become eunuch, McCain can step up to talk about his experience and record.

So in my books, McCain wins the first round in communications strategy. But only on points. In our business, this is one to watch.

%d bloggers like this: