How multimedia supports social media: Lessons from LIAT

By Kishmar Shepherd – My Life On Screen

When our Social Media expert Glenford Scott asked me to write a blog post on how multimedia supports social media I got excited. I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to share with you that high quality images are not only more attractive but they make your brand more credible. I wanted to tell you guys about how video can help your brand appear more social by telling your unique story; but this week something happened that made this blog post change direction. These events emphasize the topic of multimedia supporting Social media and the consequences of not putting enough thought into one or the other.

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The story

A very funny complaint letter was posted online painting regional airline LIAT in a bad light. This light was further intensified after Virgin Airlines’ Sir Richard Branson tweeted the letter to his over 3 million followers. Well someone at LIAT must have been one of those 3 million plus followers because they fired back. Last week LIAT responded to the tweet from Sir Richard Branson by offering him a challenge. It was a brilliant, engaging strategy, which made good use of social media to spark a conversation about their brand.

If only they executed it properly.

The Problem

LIAT’s chosen medium of response was through a 1 minute 26 seconds video posted on Youtube; not by tweeting because their challenge could not fit the 140 character restrictions of a tweet.

However, their multimedia department produced a rather lacklustre, low quality video, uploaded in 240p with little background music and a stiff presentation. This put forward a poor brand image to those who watched the video. This one simple slip caused LIAT’s entire plot to back fire.

The conversation about the video did not surround the challenge, or LIAT’s bold move or even Sir Richard Branson (who could make headlines anywhere in the world). No, none of that mattered; what people chose to talk about instead was the poor quality of the video. On and on the comments went about the poor picture quality of the video, the presenter’s image and as a videographer I had to agree with them; the video was bad (and not in a good way). What should have been a proud moment for LIAT turned out to be a pitfall.

View the original letter of complaint below along with the horrible video response.

Dear LIAT,
May I say how considerate it is of you to enable your passengers such an in-depth and thorough tour of the Caribbean.

Most other airlines I have travelled on would simply wish to take me from point A to B in rather a hurry. I was intrigued that we were allowed to stop at not a lowly one or two but a magnificent six airports yesterday. And who wants to fly on the same airplane the entire time? We got to change and refuel every step of the way!

I particularly enjoyed sampling the security scanners at each and every airport. I find it preposterous that people imagine them all to be the same. And as for being patted down by a variety of islanders, well, I feel as if I’ve been hugged by most of the Caribbean already.

I also found it unique that this was all done on “island time,” because I do like to have time to absorb the atmosphere of the various departure lounges. As for our arrival, well, who wants to have to take a ferry at the end of all that flying anyway? I’m glad the boat was long gone by the time we arrived into Tortola last night — and that all those noisy bars and restaurants were closed.

So thank you, LIAT. I now truly understand why you are “The Caribbean Airline.”

P.S. Keep the bag. I never liked it anyway.

Our Advice

This should serve as a reminder to all brands to take special care with their Brand Image when using social media. A poor quality video or photo can negatively affect the Brand Image of a company. Low quality multimedia lowers the credibility of the messages you are putting out to the public. Image is everything, especially when using social media. The thing about social media is that people are allowed to share their opinions about your brand freely across the internet; this is good if you present your brand to them well. However, if you constantly put out low quality photos or videos you will lower your brand stature in the public’s eye. This could result in negative publicity and in the case of LIAT, hilarious hashtags like: #LuggageInAnotherTerminal, #LeavingIslandAnyTime, and #LousyInAllThings.

I don’t want it to seem like I am bashing LIAT but I was really disappointed that they would put themselves in such a situation when there are lots of Multimedia companies in the Caribbean that could have produced a better video for them (It’s Pixel Perfect being one of these companies).

Thankfully LIAT has removed the videos from the internet and hopefully getting them redone.

When brands present themselves to the public they must ensure they are looking their best in order to win public opinion, establish credibility and attract people to subscribe to their social pages.

Here are a few tips to make sure your Brands is looking its best and uploading only High Quality,
High Definition content.

For Videos: Capture and upload videos in 720 HD formats or higher.

For Photos: Use professional or semi-professional DSLR cameras to capture images.

For Photos: Edit and brand photos after taking them.

For Photos: Make sure the “High Definition” box is checked when uploading albums to Facebook.”

We hope other companies see this as a lesson in how bad multimedia can ruin your brand image on social media as well as ruin your brand image on a whole.


2 thoughts on “How multimedia supports social media: Lessons from LIAT”

  1. No. I am sorry, but if your conclusion that the Video-gate disaster that dropped Liat on their back surrounded quality of production, then you’d have to provide more proof than your assertion that brands should look their best, and use quality equipment.
    Overwhelmingly the comments online correctly identified the content of the video as offensive. Could there have been a mis-fired strategy to capitalise on Sir Richard’s tweeting of the letter? There could have been, but the mangled execution was built around the wrong objective. They focused on going after Sir Richard, instead of addressing the issue and taking steps towards placating a customer they admitted is a frequent flyer.
    This was not an unfortunate choice to not click high def on the facebook box. This was a belated, poorly thought out strategy. In this case the brand got caught out pursuing controversy and trying to gain cheap publicity from something they lost control over. You can’t put lipstick on a pig and change the fact that it is a pig my friend.

    1. Thank you for your contribution to the conversation.

      While we both agree that the content was largely considered offensive to Caribbean people, we were focusing on the fact that the quality was poor and also contributed to the negative press.

      We found it even more troubling that this Caribbean Brand would use such a poor quality video when putting themselves out on the world stage through their challenge.

      We were more concerned for the image of the Caribbean companies than LIAT’s misunderstanding of Sir Branson’s tweet.

      We accept that LIAT needs more than just high quality videos, to change their public perception, however, we are just using this video as an example to warn brands to take care with their public image.

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