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Why was Lufthansa in the top 10 in Social Brands 100/ 2013? Part 1

Tuesday, as part of my Squared Online course, Chris Perks , my tutor presented a webinar discussing how best one can measure social media ROI.

When he posed the question in the chatroom, different views were shared. However, the group consensus was that we needed to  measure beyond the immediate impact in the bottom line of  a business, because this might not always be the immediate  result.  Social media net gains has more of a percolating effect.

Ultimately, the main goal of a business is to generate profits.  But taking this as a successful indicator of a campaign, particularly in the short  to medium term, is indeed short-sighted.

Chris pointed out that it was crucial, when setting up a social media strategy, to not see it in isolation but see it as an integral part of a wider marketing plan. He added that a “brand’s  marketing purpose is to bridge between what the brand wants to “say” and  what the customer wants to “hear”. Social media, therefore, provides the “common ground where brands and consumers communicate”.

Hence, when setting the objectives of a social media strategy, one has to consider other factors, other than immediate increases in revenue. Therefore, in the short to medium term, a marketer should have other KPI’s in mind.

So how do you measure social media to determine if your strategy is on track?

Depending of the objectives behind a campaign a marketer could measure:

 “Share of voice”

  1. What is the tone of voice being shared amidst the “fans” (fans = customers + potential customers) and other stakeholders engaging with the brand?
  2. How is the brand voice being shared?
  3. How far reaching  it is within the social media channels? For example how many retweets does a particular post have? How many shares it has in total across the other channels?

Other commentators on social media have added to this debate.  By doing a search on the internet, for  the phrase: “social media ROI”, you will find a plethora of information on this subject. Hence, I ‘m not going to expand on this further within this post.

This now brings me to the title of this post: “Why was Lufthansa in the top 10 in Social Brands 100 2013?”

Chris at the end of the webinar set out a task for all of us to research one company amongst the top 10 of the Social Brands 100 2013 and identify what the brand was doing well in social media, in particular within:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube

and comment why it was in the top 10, taking in consideration our assumptions  on what Headstream‘s criteria  might have been in selecting them.

So at this point, I admit I haven’t yet read the report – as a prerequisite of the task was not to –  in order to assess our digital marketing inductive skills.

The only points of reference I have are my notes from the webinar and my understanding of social media, up until his point.

I had noted that my tutor mentioned that brands, when considering marketing efforts and when designing social media strategies, have to consider win-win scenarios rather than the non-marketing approach of Spray and Pray,  much derided by one of my other Uber Squared tutors. And also consider how to develop the brand’s social behaviours in order to be:

  • Truthful
  • Honest
  • Compelling

A quick glance at the top 10, and I was drawn to Lufthansa. So I embarked on a social quest to peel under the apparent success of Lufthansa social media strategy, in the  channels mentioned above. Considering that they were  3rd in the list of the top 10. And obviously 3rd overall in the Social Brands 100.

So these are my findings:

Lufthansa’s Twitter

Lufthansa Twitter profile

You are able to see, from their Twitter profile, that they have a decent number of followers and that they are quite active in this channel. So what are they doing right in this channel?

Lufthansa Twitter Example - green news

Lufthansa Philippines appeal -tweet

They post tweets that are in line with the brand’s five pillars of corporate responsibility:

  • Economic sustainability
  • Corporate governance and compliance
  • Climate and environmental responsibility
  •  Social responsibility
  •  Societal responsibility

This engenders brand goodwill and communicates that they are a “enlightened” brand.

However, in my opinion, even a great brand like Lufthansa have the occasionally slip in their eagerness to demonstrate their social and societal responsibilities by debasing their efforts with tweets that ask to be retweed in return for their donations, such as the following tweet:

Lufhansa Ghana appeal

You would expect that daycare centers in need of financial support would not be dependent of the vagaries of social media interactions.  However, Lufthansa gets it right most of the time.

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 22.49.54

For example, you can see from the tweet above, that they have an integrated social media and digital marketing strategy, as part of a wider marketing plan.  They do not use the channel in isolation.  For example, by clicking in the link within the above tweet, it would have taken you to their online newsletter as shown in the next image:

Lufthansa Newsletter

By filling in this form, one would be automatically plugged in into their email marketing strategy.  You will note, that some of the USPs offered in return for your contact details are special offers.  This creates a win-win scenario whereby Lufthansa gains a prospective customer and the customer wins with special deals in return. According to a study carried out by Edison Reasearch, the main reason that people follow brands is because they are after discounts.  Lufthansa, by diverting traffic from their twitter profile to their email marketing funnel, are capitalising on this fact.

Another example of their integrated marketing strategy was the Klaus-Heidi campaign:

Klaus-Heidi tweet


Clicking in the link within the above tweet would have taken you to the following video:


This was a localised campaign in Sweeden, but attracted quite a bit of International media attention. The premise, if you haven’t watched the video, as summarised by adweek was as follows:

German airline Lufthansa is running a contest in Sweden, dreamed up by the pranksters at DDB Stockholm, that features an impressive grand prize—a free trip, a free apartment in Berlin, a bike and “everything else you need to start a whole new life.” All you have to do? Change your name, legally, to Klaus-Heidi.

This showed the funny and kooky side of Lufthansa.

Lufthansa peppers its posts with humour  on a regular basis, another ingredient to keep its followers amused. Research has shown that humour is one of the main reasons people follow brands.

Tweet Humour

Lufthansa Twitter channel is full of examples of what they are doing well within social media and within the channel.  Another example is that they randomly pull photos from Instagram users, again cross-polinating their social media channels and keeping their fans engaged.  You never know, your next photo might be selected by Lufthansa to be posted in their channel giving you “bragging rights”= social currency.

Lufthansa Instagram Tweet

Another tactic that shows Lufthansa is well aware of the wider social media landscape and in particular of the twitter ecosystem is that it regularly uses very current hashtags (#)  for example #TravelTuesday, #avgeeks, #throwbackthursday, etc to be part of the wider conversation.

Lufthansa #throwbackthursday tweet


All the above are illustrations of how well Lufhtansa are doing  in Twitter, by creating win-win scenarios and also by being:

  • Truthful
  • Honest
  • Compelling

I could use more examples from Twitter, but the above gives you a flavour why Lufthansa is on the top 3 of the Social Brands 100 as far twitter is concerned. A slight criticism of Lufthansa twitter presence is that it is used mainly as a broadcasting tool rather than proactively using it as a two -way communication channel with their  users.  I have observed that there weren’t many interactions, “conversations” with their fans. Nevertheless, overall they are doing a sterling job of using their twitter presence

In my next I will explore their Facebook and YouTube profiles.

Please do leave a comment if this post resonates with you in any way. If it stirs you positively and you feel someone else can benefit from it, feel free to share this post.

Wishing you great success




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