How to Get the Support of the Public – PRs in Brisbane Airport

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PRs stands for Public Relations and is nothing more than a tool for getting the support of others by means of good works well publicized.

Public Relations as its best!. Photo credits: Zebra Public Relations Ltd.

I think that this is a really interesting topic, is how you make other people get to know the good things that you have done and therefore get them to help you with future project that you have in mind. This is a basic skill that an individual or company would have to develop if they want to keep in business. This applies to everything in life, for example how do you convince a girl or boy to be your girlfriend or boyfriend, well showing appealing and hopefully true things about you! That’s the whole business of PRs: “Good works, well publicized”.

Brisbane Airport Corporation have some resources that could be well used in this direction through social media:

  • The Airport Ambassadors are a group of volunteers that have the will to help the visitors of the Brisbane Airport with questions that they may have and directions that they could need about how to do some things in the precinct. The Ambassadors are wandering in the international terminal and they run the Visitors Information Centre at the domestic terminal. They have a natural tendency to spread the knowledge that they have about the airport and their workings. This is what is called a Maven: “somebody who is willing and eager to share their knowledge”. They could be taught how to use properly Facebook and Twitter and could respond swiftly to questions that may arise in the public. And not only that, but they could be proactive in posting in public wikis or blogs how to do specific procedures that they have found are the more asked by visitors, i.e. Q&A. In this way the visitors and customers would be delighted about the swift responses to their issues and they will get a better impression of the Airport.

The Airport Ambassadors. Photo credits: Brisbane Airport Corporation

  • The Brisbane Airport has a program of free Tours that increase the awareness of the community of all the things that happen in a day-to-day basis in the Airport. This awareness definitely leads to a sense of engagement. I searched for some of these tour videos on the web a nothing came out. It would be a great idea to make a video about that, with a really popular and amusing public figure, who could help to create a funny and informal footage for posting it through the social media channels. The purpose is to get the video viral and innovative ideas are a great way to do this, i.e. check this amazing video of the American band OK Go and see the number of views that it has: 37 million+! If BAC creates a viral and educative video, the image of the airport would be enhanced in the community and the numbers of followers in social media would go through the roof!

PRs nowadays are closely connected with social media and the word could be spread to the extent that the outputs could be viral and appealing to the general public.

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Wikis for Creation of Community – Brisbane Airport

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Wiki, what a funny word: it has rhythm, it has rhyme! Wiki, wiki wiki! When I first heared it, I wouldn’t imagine the importance that it has nowadays for the smooth flow of information. Wikipedia, the biggest ans most popular encyclopaedia and is a wiki.

Wikipedia Logo. Photo credits: The Independent

So, what’s a wiki anyway?

Is a website where multiple people could collaborate to produce documents that all of them could read, looks simple but powerful. Check out this video a for simple explanation.

Wikis could be used from a small number of friends arranging a holyday to multinational companies that would like to use it as a repository for their processes as explained by Dicky Chiu in his blog.

Let’s focus in a specific application that I am interested in: the interlacing relations between employees of a company.

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) is the organization that has the lease over the Brisbane Airport for 49 years; this lease was granted by the Australian government for 1.4 billion dollars.

Just to give you an idea of the magnitude of the Brisbane Airport, I’m going to state some facts:

  • It has an extension of 2700 hectaers, roughly a square with sides of 5 km.
  • BAC is responsible for maintenance and bulding of infrastructure, such as sewers, water, roads and power and communications in the precinct.
  • The Airport accomodates over 420 businesses that service in different industries that range from freight and aircraft handling to leisure and retail.
  • All this businesses employ more than 19,000 people.

Brisbane Airport. Photo credits: Novotel Brisbane Airport

But the surprising fact is that BAC has only 300 hundred employees to handle this monster! So each of the employees is a valuable assett and BAC has to treat them like that. What better way to create a great work environment to strengthen the bonds in the work force community.

Wikis are just great to achieve that end! What about a Wiki categorised by hobbies where all the employees could enter information about their leisure activities and share them with their peers. The employees would get to know who are the people in the company that they could hang out with to share their interests, several clubs could be formed out of that such as: bands, cooking, photography, fishing and running groups, amongst others. This interaction promoted through a social media tool would create strong emotional links that are essential to the smooth operation of such a relatively small but important bunch. An example of that is how Atlassian uses their own wiki product Confluence to achieve these social activities in the enterprise, as Sherif Mansour (Technical Product Manager at Atlassian) says in the Digital Orgs interview (21:55).

Wikis are relevant for any group activity, where everybody could input and feed from the general output. Of course, media policies are important to keep the activity under certain control, but as said by Sherif Mansour in the previous interview, people tend to behave well when they know that they are identifiable and that they are writing for the whole group.

Wikis have a great deal of applications, this is just one, but the sky is the limit!

References:

BAC – Our Company

BAC – People and Culture

The Power of Microblogging at Airports

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In my opinion the Brisbane Airport is a great subject to study in regards to Social Media, mainly because is the third airport in Australia, it has a great number of stakeholders and also because is located in the Australia TradeCoast – the second source of employment in the Brisbane area after Brisbane City.

Brisbane Airport. Photo credits by Brisbane Airport Corporation

Some of the main stakeholders involved with the Airport are government, airlines, passengers, employees, retail shops and transport system (to and from the airport). All of them have their own interests and challenges:

  • Airlines lend air transportation services to passengers in a streamlined and profitable manner. Adjusting to satisfaction standards of customers to keep them happy and make them loyal.
  • Passengers would like to travel in a timely, economical and comfortably way.
  • Employees want to keep their job to get a regular salary, lend the service to public efficiently to keep their customers happy and be in an attractive workplace that would keep them interested in their job.
  • Retail shops are interested in making profits selling their products, be in a pleasant environment that would attract customers and have some market research about the passengers’ purchasing trends.
  • Transport system would like to create profits from the transportation of passengers and companions from and to the airport and transport quickly (without jams or delays).

To create an effective way of dealing with instant communication from/to the Brisbane Airport, BCA (Brisbane Airport Corporation) have implemented a Twitter account that is a paramount tool to broadcast information to a great number of people and to connect emotionally with users and other stakeholders. Several applications come to mind and other ones are already implemented by the Social Media department of BCA:

  • Airport could receive informal complaints about their services and solve the issue or at least give an explanation. Also help requests are made and handled through Tweets:

  • Information about flights timetabling and delays could be broadcasted.
  • Airlines could tweet through the Airport account recently available accommodations in their flights.
  • Airlines could use the Airport account for announcing discounts on tickets, making the airport account attractive to the Twitter user.
  • BCA informs the community of new policies and decisions, explaining the reasons for the changes and letting the community express their views; which creates valuable feedback for the airport administration:

  • Issues relating transport to/from the airport could be communicated:

  • Public interest announcements:

  • Airport receiving and acknowledging good feedback for their services:

All of these applications and many more that are being used and that could be found create a smoother communication with all the people interested in the Airport and make the public feel more engaged and emotionally involved with such an important public service as the airport is for Brisbane.