There’s People Talking About Your Brand – And Then There’s Qantas


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I think it’s fair to say Qantas has raised the bar on how to go atomic in the social media world. In case you missed the story, on Saturday afternoon (Australian time), Qantas CEO Alan Joyce grounded the entire airline globally due to an escalating labour dispute. 100+ jets spread from Australia, to LA, to Asia, to London – grounded…customers told to get off.

Now it’s Sunday afternoon around 6pm Sydney time and the data that I’ve been watching the past 24 hours is compelling. I’ve started delving into this primarily looking at three basic data sets:

  1. Mentions – basic keyword and phrase monitoring of relevant words such as Qantas, Alan Joyce, Qantas Grounded.
  2. Media distribution – where is the conversation coming from
  3. Sentiment trends – not a huge fan of this but it’s kind of fun to look at


Lets look at the data around Qantas for October, for the period 1 Oct to 28 Oct.

Overall mentions:

Qantas mentions pre Joyce grounding announcement

Whilst I may be missing some data here – this seems to be capturing a fair representation of the conversation

Media Distribution:

Distribution of Qantas mentions pre Joyce grounding announcement

Straight away you can see that mainstream media is dominating the pre-grounding chatter about Qantas. What’s important to note also is that the engine has classified a lot of the and Fairfax content as blog content. So what we’re seeing is a large distribution of content via mainstream media – with some mentions coming out of the social sphere


Social media sentiment about Qantas pre the Joyce grounding announcement

This one surprised me for a couple of reasons – not least being the clear positive/negative breakout. In my experience, this engine really struggles with Australian slang and sarcasm so this level of clear categorisation is really surprising.

After the grounding announcement

Now lets look at the data for the last two days

Overall Mentions

Mentions of Qantas post the Joyce grounding announcement

Note this scale is the whole month. The reason I’ve done this is to show you the scale of the past two days. If you refer back to the earlier mentions diagram, that scale of social media traffic is now represented by the flat line…

This is called going nuclear…

Media Distribution:

Distribution of chatter about Qantas post the Joyce grounding announcement

Another profound change in the situation. We’ve gone from mainstream media running “noise” to the community exploding into voice. I’ve tracked a lot of issues over the past 3-4 years – and none of them has undergone such a massive change in where the discussion is based in such a short period


Social media sentiment to Qantas post the Joyce grounding announcementThis one surprised me also but in reality I think what we’re seeing here is an engine that doesn’t know how to measure the convergence of emotion and written text.

I’d delve deeper into the green and yellow but the volume of data is such that it’d take me a week or more to get a rough feel for the situation.

What can we conclude from this?

It’s still early days but my initial thoughts are from watching the data unfold is that the three enterprise stakeholders – Qantas, Federal Government, Unions, are all badly managing this situation. There is way too much “message management” and zero engagement.

This will be the topic of my next post – a slap for these three parties as they’ve dropped the ball badly.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mark Parker
Mark Parker is the founder of Smart Selling, and the specialist business unit – Smart Social Media. The core aim of both businesses is to help companies become better sales organisations by utilising the ideas, tools, and practices of Sales 2. and social media.


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