“It makes sense to let our customers tell their own stories”

Did you know that even one of the largest ferry operators in the world, Stena Line, is making use of Twingly technology? If not you should definitely read the following inteview with Ronja Gustavsson, Social Web Strategist at the Gothenburg-based company. And if you did, you should read it anyway ; ) Stena Line uses our Blogwatch widget to show blog posts mentioning destinations that are connected to Stena Line’s network of ferry services – like here for example.

Ronja GustavssonWhy did you decide to integrate Twingly Blogwatch?
We integrated Twingly Blogwatch into our website in order to create a more transparent presence online, and so that customers have the chance to read other people’s Stena Line travel experiences. We think it is important to highlight our customer’s own stories to show a more nuanced and deeper picture about our products and services.

What importance do blogs have for your business compared to other, more traditional media channels and compared to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter?
Blogs are very much a personal story, and bloggers are big influencers. Stena Line has chosen to work and cooperate with bloggers in the same way as we do with traditional journalists. Blogs help us to gain credibility and to increase the awareness of our products, but they also provide us with constructive feedback that can lead to product development. Through blogs, or other two-way communication (such as Facebook and Twitter) we can secure that what we say and communicate about our products and services is consistent with our customers’ experiences. We can also get a deeper understanding about who our customers are, what they need and how they want to enjoy their journey.

Last year you have done two campaigns where a host of bloggers travelled with Stena Line. Can you tell us a bit more?
We think that there is no better way than to give our customers the opportunity to describe their own journey with us. It gives us and our potential customers a personal story about other traveler’s experiences. We try to have a strategic mindset when working with social media, and any campaign should also be an integrated part of our PR, marketing and sales strategy.

So last year we came up with the idea of a campaign called “The Blogger bus 2011”. We started with asking ourselves the following question: How can we create a credible online campaign involving bloggers? The result of our brainstorming was the idea to fill an entire bus with bloggers and to take them on a trip that they were blogging about. We also partnered with other companies focusing on the same target groups as Stena Line. In order to be part of the journey, bloggers had to participate in a competition, as we decided to look for “Sweden’s best childish fun blogger 2011”. In the end 15 blogging parents and their children got the chance to travel with a bus and ferry to Denmark for four days.

The jury judged the contestants on their blog posts and on how they described their journey from a parent’s and child’s perspective as well as on how children and adults can have fun and play together on their holidays.

We also did a second trip to Germany, but this time we concentrated more on travelers that enjoyed culture, dinning and wine. That hosted activity was named the Guide bus.

What was the main goal of involving bloggers in that way?
Measurements show that the degree of credibility and trustworthiness online is much higher for people we know and even for those we do not know than for companies who we only have business relationship with. Therefore it makes sense for us to be transparent and to let our customers and potential customers tell their own story about how it is to travel with Stena Line.

How will you continue to connect the worlds of blogs and social media with Stena Line in 2012?
We started the year with releasing a social login feature on all our websites in Scandinavia. To avoid customers having to remember yet another password, Stena Line has made it possible to boook trips and review already booked trips through a personal Facebook or Google account. A clear trend within social media is the focus on customer benefits and usefulness, and this is a good example of that. We have a lot of other interesting and exciting projects in the pipeline involving user generated content and social media that we are looking forward to roll out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s