Today we saw the trending of a new hashtag on Twitter, #qantasluxury. Find out more below, and at the end we have written 5 tips on how Qantas or anyone with a recent social media disaster might rebuild their online brand .
Update: Qantas have announced that today was part of their ‘ongoing social media strategy’. Time to head back to the drawing board on that one. (link)
Update 2: Read our follow-up article with a tweet word cloud analysis here: #QantasLuxury a la Wordcloud!

5 tips for recovering an online brand


1. Don’t move too quickly

It’s going to take quite some time for Qantas to recover from the huge community backlash after the union arguments and resulting lockout and grounding of planes.

Thinking that some kind of promotion is going to be a magic pill to solve the problem is just wrong. Take some time to rebuild the brand and don’t just jump back into the deep end – things are likely to go very wrong.

2. Actually engage with consumers

If you have a terrible online brand, talk to your users. Be honest. Be apologetic if necessary. Try to help them and build customer service kudos.

Twitter like all social media sites is a vast online community. To manage this community effectively, you need to engage with them and not just try to be ‘above’ it all.

Qantas’ recent strategies of ignoring the online backlash simply isn’t going to cut it. They need to be on the ground, talking to consumers and the public.

3. Don’t just run promotions

Even the concept of tweeting that “#qantasluxury is just one of many comps we’ve run recently” is silly!

Online promotions have a key place in social networks. Many users will ‘like’/’follow’ or otherwise engage with a brand for getting discounts, early offers or giveaways. But this shouldn’t be your core activity.

Let alone running a competition for something as small as Qantas pyjamas. If you want to do some kind of comp like that, run it for 24 hours (and not when your brand is already shot to heck) and have it as a casual giveaway, and do it relatively frequently. Not some kind of large T&Cs multi-day promotion.

4. Go back to your beginnings

Qantas needs to go back to the basics and try to remind their consumers what their key brand is. I’m not sure this is 100% identified as there is a bit of a divide at the moment between budget carriers, those in the middle like V Australia and those trying to target business and ‘luxury’ like Qantas.

What is the key brand? Qantas has confused consumers by traditionally being the ‘Australian airline’ but this has gone out the window recently. Perhaps this competition is trying to position themselves as a luxury airline? I think it’s just confusing.

5. Have a crisis management plan in place

Finally, have a crisis management plan in place. Things can go wrong quickly online, and they need to be managed accordingly. The recent Qantas debacles could have been significantly mitigated by actually managing the crisis rather than sitting back passively and watching it destroy your online brand.

Good luck Qantas – hopefully the new social media agency you are hiring to start early next year will improve your presence!

(Note: Dialogue Consulting did not apply for the Qantas social media tender, and declares no conflicts of interest).

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