It’s an achievement even coming 29th in the UK’s social brands 100. This was a survey published this week of the top 100 UK companies using social media advantageously. It might sound a poor result but Trent Barton at no. 29 came top of only a handful of transport providers and ahead of more august organisations such as the BBC, Sainsbury’s and even Google. The only other bus operator within the 100 was Cardiff Bus (no. 45). These seem the only two brands in the bus industry worthy of the tag “what it means to be a social brand”.
I still think that bus operators are missing a trick if the best they can do is get nos. 29 and 45. Passengers may not like disruption and change but if you communicate well with them, if you keep them informed, at least you stand a chance of keeping them on side. Information is everything, these days. Indeed, information is power (or it empowers). There are so many things that can potentially go wrong with regard to a bus journey or service—and, these days, very few supervisory staff to explain matters—that social media are of increasing importance.
It’s certainly less vital that customers communicate instantly with Lurpak, the Ellen DeGeneres Show (no. 9) or the National Trust (24), yet they seemingly do it better than Trent Barton but more importantly, they do it better than the rest of the bus industry, so it seems. Or, perhaps the rest just didn’t bother to enter.
Director of Passion & Desire stated that responses could even come on Christmas Day and did when someone’s partner was giving birth. Sorry but even for a seasoned workaholic like me I’m not sure that working during someone’s childbirth or on Christmas Day is healthy. I never did that. But then again the closest we got to social media at the time my wife gave birth was a landline, a typewriter and some carbon paper.