Branding in Social Media: Evidence from Starbucks, Harley-Davidson and Ryanair

Topics: Company

Analysis Starbucks As of yesterday, there were 22,577,692 likes on Starbucks Facebook page, 1,502,234 followers on twitter account. This clearly says Starbucks is doing something right with social media on the web. Starbucks uses different social media platform for different purposes. Twitter: Starbucks engages customers by having a conversation by tweets. They ask questions, listens to customers about the brand and create an open communication channel to interact with the customers. It handles direct and indirect customer issues and complaints.

Facebook: Starbucks posts contents in this platform such as: Videos, blogs, posts, photos.

It also uses inviting to event s feature of Facebook and use post as medium to invite fans for discussion and comments. YouTube: They upload informational videos and commercials on YouTube. Video subject can vary from charity work to information about different coffee blends. Videos about history of the company can also be found which allows people to relate to the brand. My Starbucks Idea: Customers are asked to share ideas, comment on other’s ideas, vote on the ideas and check out the results.

Participants feel they are part of the decision making process which further personalizes the brand. MSI (as it is known to the community) has four major components: Share, Vote, Discuss and See. These components provide an ongoing loop of discussion, interaction and ultimately action. Starbucks Blog “Ideas in Actions: Main idea is to keep customers in the loop regarding implementation of selected idea. This keeps customer in the loop and informed regarding what’s happening with their ideas and creates loyalty towards the brand.

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Altogether the social media mix uses the right elements of different social media platform which has resulted in millions of followers/fans for the brand. Many experts comment that, if these elements were implemented alone then the Starbucks would not have been as successful and complete as with mix of elements. The strategy of using which elements and the right mix depends on the priorities set by the company. Starbucks has put communicating with their customers and potential customers as a top priority. Critics

Some critics have pointed out that Starbucks is not using some of the social media platforms right. For example, some say that the Facebook pages is not updated frequently and new content is added after long time. But on the other hand, consumers are happy with the frequency of updates. One of the consumer’s comments “although they don’t update very much, I’m kind of happy about that. It can be really annoying when your FB wall is full of updates from companies. I think it helps them to not deter customers out of frustration.

I definitely love my Starbucks fix and will continue to “like” them. ” My opinion is that there will be always some critics and one cannot satisfy everybody in this world. But as long as you can identify your audience (customers) and adapt your performance to cater to their characteristics, I consider that its a perfect model. Alex Wheeler, Director of Digital Strategy at Starbucks, said 1 “we need to listen holistically and understand how things fit into the big picture, and then balance this with what’s right for the social media channels you use. ” Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson is more than a just motorcycle. It is a lifestyle, a dream and a culture icon. As mysocialmediareputation. com rightly puts it2, “Harley doesn’t shout about what it does online, but it doesn’t really need to. The brand knows that its customers aren’t just fans, they live and breathe the biking lifestyle. Harley’s Free Country website leverages this, allowing people to express their love of ‘living free’. This is a targeted, message-perfect campaign from the legacy brand, and shows true understanding of just what its fans want from it. For Harley Davidson, it is a quintessential brand that speaks to freedom and innovation. They want loyalist to talk about their love for riding and motorbikes; and create platform where everybody can express what they feel about this brand. Harley Davidson has achieved it through social media channels. The Most important point to note is, Harley Davidson know what their name stands for, and with social media channels they are complimenting their image. Harley Davidson is also helping dealers by consulting them on effective social media use.

By blending new and traditional media and orchestrating strategic promotions and marketing initiatives to build customer base. Such efforts are designed to build upon the dealerships’ already vibrant community of loyal brand ambassadors. Harley initiative are totally targeted at building an experience for existing user and potential users of their product. Harley seem focused on using social media not to directly build brand awareness but to encourage users to outwardly display brand loyalty, projecting the Harley lifestyle to friend and associates thus indirectly increasing their brand reputation.

They are doing this in several ways. The first of with is they are using various ad campaigns that target specific markets and then incorporate social media into these adds. For example on their page for women riders the site encourages women to tell their stories about how becoming a biker change their life. These stories are share on a blog through Harley’s homepage and mirrored on Harley’s face book profile. For new rider, male or female, they also offer a patch that can be placed on your profile informing your friend that you want to learn to ride.

They also offer links to course and describe your experience blog that is to the woman riders’ blog. There also working there general ads in much the same way. Harley Super ride campaign in which Harley offers a no strings attached test drive of any of it motorcycles to help American’s moral in the global financial crisis. The tagline goes with this ad, “Right now the country could use a little joyride. ” Lastly Harley also uses social media to offer users the opportunity to brand themselves. The offer Harley profile layouts, patches and even backgrounds.

So user can display their fandom in whatever way they see fit. Harley has realized that social media is not just another way to reach are not just potential but also a way to create a living breathing commercial. Harley has found a most dynamic form of endorsement and advertising in their customers. They are direct their customers to  use social media platforms to extend the reach of personal endorsement and are doing so very effectively. Ryanair Does RyanAir really need Social media presence? One key to branding success and its extension into social media is a consistency of brand personality.

It actually makes much sense for an organization that does not desire engagement with its clientele or value their input to avoid social media and interactive communication. Many claim that this seems to be the perfect strategy for Ryanair. Though personally I would not recommend this to a company. Ryanair has penetrated and successfully operates in a market niche that has huge barriers to entry. Their business model is based on providing low cost, minimal service air transport to its patrons. For any new competitor, it is unlikely that they ill startup, penetrate the market and grow to the scale at lower cost per seat than Ryanair. Since, the true differentiator is price, Ryanair’s branding and lack of social media engagement is oddly appropriate. They are setting reasonable customer expectations, delivering a product that customers perceive to provide value, and most importantly, are being authentic in their relationship with the customer. Setting accurate customer expectations, delivering on the brand promise, and providing authenticity in customer relationships. Most businesses strive for these goals.

As counter-intuitive as it may seem, by not engaging, it seems that Ryanair has scored well on all three counts. For many, they fly with Ryanair because they provide seats at competitive price at a convenient departure time, but it wont be their first choice of carrier. Customers don’t care much for Ryanair and Ryanair don’t care much for customers. It seems they have reached equilibrium and that is working reasonably well. But that doesn’t give them right to be Arrogant and be Ignorant? Ryanair has been caught up in many controversies over time. They are stirred by haters of the airlines.

And the response by the airline’s PR department is not helping their image. Their response further deteriorates the brand value, whatever value is remaining at this point. Ryanair Twitter account controversy A fake twitter account (looked like an official page) was created and used to make fun of passengers. Ryanair initially confirmed that it was an official account and later on denied that it was not official3. Ryanair spokesman response and comment were not convincing enough to help the brand. It seems they don’t have their house in order or they don’t care at all. Ryanair VS Bloggers ( 0. Pound Ticket, Website Bug reported by Customer) Jason Roe an Irish freelance web developer, was poking around on Ryanair’s website when he found an interesting usability bug which “allowed users to obtain a 0. 00 charge for their flights. ” Roe was quick to point out that he did not complete any transactions at the steep cost of ? 0. 00, but did think it was relevant that someone from Ryanair should know of the error and perhaps even work to rectify the problem. The response4 he received from Ryanair was unbelievably bizarre, and incredibly, brazenly, rude. This was Ryanair’s answer to Jason Roe:? jason!? you’re an idiot and a liar!! fact is!? you’ve opened one session then another and requested a page meant for a different session, you are so stupid you dont even know how you did it! …” Official response after the series of comment on the blog are mentioned in the Appendix A. Kevin May from Travolution5 did get a confirmation from Stephen McNamara of Ryan Air that said: “Ryanair can confirm that a Ryanair staff member did engage in a blog discussion.? It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy corresponding with idiot bloggers and Ryanair can confirm that it won’t be happening again.?

Lunatic bloggers can have the blog sphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel”. 2×2 Matrix (Presence in Social media vs Company’s effort) If we compare the three companies on a 2×2 matrix (Presence vs Initiatives) as any consultant will do, we find that Ryanair is equally present on social media but for different reasons. Whereas Starbucks and H-D are present because they have earned the right to be there. They have aligned their business goals and used social media judiciously and further strengthened their brand.

Brand community or customer engagement http://www. stickybranding. com/brand-communities-arent-really-communities/ No doubt Starbucks and H-D have incredible social media presence. They engage in proactive discussion with their consumers. But having lot of presence in social media does not mean you have a community especially in Starbucks case. It is more of community engagement where companies engage consumers to ask, listen and build new ideas together. By definition Community is group of people with shared interests, a common history and can be identified through association to the group.

Companies need to aware what they are targeting when entering social media. They should choose the right approach, for example should it be Brand Community or Customer Engagement? In this case, H-D is more of Brand Community and Starbucks is involved in Customer Engagement. On the other hand Ryanair, there are group of people who want Ryanair to change their attitude, these people are customers who want more value for money and internet savvy people who want to prove the power of internet social media to Ryanair. Can we trust opinion of group ? What about innovation ?

In an article6 in socialmediatoday. com, they discuss about ‘opinion of group’ which generally does not support innovation. Starbucks should be careful in choosing the idea from community, because not all the ideas from the community are ideal and practical from business point of view. In the article there are some unrealistic ideas posted on My Starbucks Idea website. take away from the case study Company’s mission and strategy should define social media presence strategy Even though there is no presence on social media, the rules of branding and PR still apply.

Distinguish and choose which to follow brand community or customer engagement. Strategically choose where a company wants to be and what they want be known as, and then define their social media strategy. Timing7, Starbucks is not only known for its content it is also an expert in timing those launches and updates. Correctly timed approach for different Social media platform should be identified and executed. Conclusion In conclusion, I agree that social media a very important tool.

I also believe that having presence is a trend which is great, but does not necessary mean that company should have mere presence in it. Just a mere presence will not guarantee success. The decision of social media presence should be a calculated and strategic move. It should be aligned with company’s mission and goal. Also, a company cannot ignore its PR relations. As Ryanair chooses to be one with “Don’t Care About Customer” attitude, they cannot be playing with PR as bad brand image in not only playing with customers, it includes whole business field (financing, top management leadership, human resources).

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Branding in Social Media: Evidence from Starbucks, Harley-Davidson and Ryanair. (2018, Nov 21). Retrieved from

Branding in Social Media: Evidence from Starbucks, Harley-Davidson and Ryanair
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