This article forms part of a study on social media usage amongst FTSE 100 companies.
Each company in the FTSE 100 index was reviewed on its usage of such social media tools as RSS feeds*, blogs, online video, podcasts and social media platforms like Flickr and Facebook on its main website and on occasion, on websites of well-known subsidiary companies.
*RSS feeds are a simple way of delivering fresh versions of a website’s content to online readers automatically.
According to the Guardian.co.uk Business Glossary:
“The FTSE 100 index comprises the 100 most highly capitalised blue chip companies on the London Stock Exchange, representing approximately 81% of the UK market.”
Here’s how luxury cruise giant, Carnival (CCL.L) fared.
|FTSE 100 Company||RSS||Podcast||Blog||Online Video||Audio||Facebook, Flickr, etc|
Online Video/Webcasts: Yes
Usage of Social Media platforms: Yes, Flickr
(Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, del.icio.us, Twitter, Digg etc)
According to Yahoo! Finance:
“Carnival (formerly P&O Princess Cruises) offers luxury cruises to the most exotic and visited global locations. It boasts more than 80 vessels, including certain prestigious ‘ladies’: the Queen Victoria, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2, offering exceptional breaks to some 5.5 million customers.”
My pre-evaluation expectation of how the company will fare:
Oh ‘ello! There’s a blog right in the middle of Carnival’s homepage. Apparently it’s written by a Carnival cruise director and has made national news.
Things can only get better.
Neat little website. Clearly optimized for readability, the colour scheme complements the clean and functional aesthetic and gives the impression of easy information retrieval.
Audio-only webcasts of the quarter’s earning call available. However:
Unauthorized recording or downloading of this event is not permitted.
No video on the corporate site. For news updates, a simple email list sign up form is provided.
In the ‘Press Center’ (they spell it that way) things get a bit more interesting. RSS feeds are available for Press releases.
The site has a rich investor relations area that probably gets a lot of use. Sadly, there is no way to subscribe to receive information automatically.
Carnival invest in doing some good things in the communities in which they work, as attested to by their Community Relations page:
From employee fundraisers and hands-on volunteer service initiatives to cash and cruise donations and innovative philanthropic programs, Carnival strives to make a difference, both nationally and internationally.
It’s a real shame none of this is shown using video. BHP Billiton are the only FTSE 100 company profiled so far who use this to good effect on their website.
On to the blog
John Heald, senior Cruise Director for Carnival has been blogging about his travels aboard his company’s ships since March 2007.
Since launch his blog has received over 1.7 million hits and is consistently ranked in the top 100 blogs at wordpress.com. The site features images hosted on Flickr.
John’s latest post about a Russian holiday maker who was insulted because the on-board entertainment sang Michael Bolton’s Georgia is hilarious and yet deeply touching. Well worth a read.
I can now see why John’s blog is given pride of place on the mostly static corporate website. Reading through the post above, you start to sense the added business value it must provide.
John’s blog also contains videos of an interview with John Cleese.
He’s even been featured in a US TV show!
His employers clearly recognize the added business he is pulling in. The site now links to an exclusive John Heald Bloggers Cruise, a five-day voyage aboard the Carnival Fantasy.
“Prices start from only $359.”
John Heald’s blog is a clear example of how giving a passionate and gifted employee the forum to blog about their work can be worth its weight in gold.
Here’s what a customer said about John on his blog:
“What a lucky Lady to share a day with the King of Cruising. John Heald was the cruise director on the very first cruise my wife and I were ever on. We were married on that cruise and it was the most memorable experience of our lives. A huge part of that memory was John. He is fantastic. We are sailing with him in 09, can’t wait. Congratulations Lauren you did a great job.” – JOHN BASCIANI
- Blog about your good work in the community – Fantastic initiatives like this one by the “Friends Uniting Neighbors (F.U.N.) Team” who painted a vibrant mural on a highway overpass to beautify a downtown Miami neighborhood would make great reading on a corporate Carnival blog.
- Use more online video – Show me what you do on cruises! From well-known British brands like P&O Cruises to Ocean Village, “the cruise for people who don’t do cruises”, Carnival own the world’s largest range of cruise brands. Most under 25s have never heard of even 5 of them, I bet. Using video to educate potential web savvy customers should be a priority.
Having said that, Carnival have shown great marketing savvy by encouraging John Heald in his blogging. Apparently:
“Carnival is the only company in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 index in the United States and the FTSE 100 index in the United Kingdom. Our success in providing quality cruise vacations has made Carnival the most profitable company in the leisure travel industry.”
I can totally see how you got there Carnival.
What do you think?
Are you a customer, employee, shareholder or stakeholder of Carnival? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this review. What would you like to see Carnival doing more of in terms of social media? More online video? A CEO blog, perhaps?
Share your thoughts in the comments.
Need any help?
Do you work for Carnival and want some insight into some of the ideas published here?
Or perhaps you look after marketing for Carnival and would like a quick chat about putting some of those recommendations into practice. Contact us.
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