SOURCE: Southwest Airlines
May 06, 2008 11:54 ET
Southwest Airlines Takes Corporate Blogging to the Next Level
Nuts About Southwest Now Even Nuttier
DALLAS, TX--(Marketwire - May 6, 2008) - As one of the first Fortune 500 companies to set
up a home in the blogosphere over two years ago, Southwest
Airlines (NYSE: LUV) is making some major upgrades to its blog, Nuts About Southwest. New
- Video blog
- Flickr feed
- Reader poll
- News feed
- Official photo and video galleries
- Sharing and rating opportunities
- Personalization options
"Our Customers already communicate with us through a number of different
online channels. Some prefer the written word of our blog, some like to
watch videos, others want to share their photos," says Linda Rutherford,
Vice President of Public Relations and Community Affairs. "Bringing these
elements to our site allows us to communicate with our Customers in the
format they prefer."
Nuts About Southwest was originally launched as a means of giving
Customers a look inside the Culture and operations of Southwest Airlines
and allowing them to interact and build personal relationships with the
airline's Employees. Over the last two years, the blog's function has
evolved to also serve as a virtual focus group, assisting the Company
through crisis and new product launches.
"From the debate over assigned seating to the timeframe in which we release
our flight schedules, the passionate comments and opinions shared on our
blog have unquestionably influenced several business decisions," says
Rutherford. "But the primary focus of the blog remains our Employees and
their personal interaction with our Customers."
Nuts About Southwest features more than 30 Employee bloggers that
represent a mix of Frontline and behind-the-scenes Employees including
Mechanics, Customer Service Agents, Schedule Planners, Executives,
Marketing Representatives, Flight Attendants, Pilots, and more. Each
Employee blogger brings to the table a unique voice, perspective, and
personality to share with the airline's Customers.
"We know that our People are our greatest asset," says Rutherford. "The
blog gives our Employees a platform to share their industry knowledge,
exchange personal stories, and really connect our Customers to the
Southwest Culture they live and experience everyday."
The blog's readership continues to grow steadily month-over-month and has
more than doubled year-over-year since its inception in April 2006. The
airline estimates that it has reached more than 500,000 Customers through
Nuts About Southwest alone, and they expect that number to exceed
one million in 2008.
"It's not all about numbers, though," says Rutherford. "It's about the
quality of the content, the conversations, and the engagement between
Employees and Customers."
After achieving such great success with the original design of Nuts
About Southwest, Southwest Airlines again turned to Dallas-based
interactive design company RD2 to help bring its vision for an online
community to life.
"RD2 understands our brand and what we are trying to accomplish," says
Rutherford. "Their biggest challenge this time around was trying to
incorporate the new elements, while still maintaining the simple charm of
the original site."
"Southwest took a big step when it launched Nuts About Southwest two
years ago, and they've proven their ability to conquer the most difficult
challenge our clients face -- consistently creating great content," said
Chris Ronan, President of RD2. "What's different this time -- we know that
the Southwest Team generates meaningful content, which has allowed us to
focus more on context. We asked ourselves, 'Who are the users? What are
they reading? How do we give them a more diverse tool set to communicate
with Southwest?' In applying these contexts, we can think of Nuts About
Southwest as a platform for many applications, instead of just an
Nuts About Southwest
Southwest Airlines launched its corporate blog, Nuts About Southwest on April
21, 2006. Still a maverick, Southwest
Airlines was the first airline to offer its Customers a venue for open
dialogue through a corporate blog. Since its launch, Nuts has experienced
tremendous success -- building a community for its loyal Customer base,
serving as a virtual focus group, and influencing several business
decisions. In 2007, Nuts was named Best Blog by PR News and has been
recognized in major publications ranging from Wired Magazine to the Wall
Street Journal. Always nuts about Customer communication, Southwest
Airlines actively participates in other online communities including Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter.
RD2, Inc. is a team of strategists,
designers, and technologists who specialize in building communities that
engage users around their clients. The RD2 approach of Research, Design,
and Develop, integrates objective research with aesthetics to develop
compelling brand solutions that position RD2 clients as industry leaders.
Clients include Dell, Hotels.com, Southwest Airlines, PlainsCapital
Corporation, and CoServ.