SOURCE: Southwest Airlines

May 06, 2008 12:11 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 features include:

  • Video blog
  • Podcast
  • 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 application itself."

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

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.

southwest.com

Contact Information

  • Contact Information:
    Public Relations
    (214) 792-4847