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The World Waits For No One: The Story Of Dave Carroll, United Airlines And Taylor Guitars

In a world where speed and agility are essential ingredients to success, many businesses are finding it hard to keep up with the expectations of their customers. However, a slow response can leave your business fatally exposed.

How can you keep up to date with what people are saying about your brand so you can take action as quickly as possible? Taking full advantage of positive feedback about your brand or minimizing the consequences of negative comments is now critical. Here is a great example:

The story of Dave Carroll, United Airlines and Taylor Guitars

Spring 2008 in Chicago’s airport a woman looked out of a United Airlines passenger window and announced astonishingly “they’re throwing guitars out there”. Dave Carroll and four band members on their way home to Canada were shocked to find that it was their guitars that were being handled so badly.


Later, upon opening his guitar case Dave discovered that his Taylor guitar was indeed broken. Consequently he got in contact with United who refused to acknowledge Dave’s claim. So frustrated with the outcome Dave decided to create a song about his experience with United and posted it on You Tube entitled “United breaks guitars”

What happened next?

Within 4 days the video had received 1 million views and not long afterwards the 2 million mark was reached. What were the consequences of this viral video to the parties involved?

  • Dave Carroll received masses of media attention and a product deal with a guitar case manufacturer.
  • Taylor, the guitar manufacturer mentioned in the video seized the opportunity of the moment and created and posted a video to You tube about how to best pack and travel with guitars. The result. A significant increase in  the number of visitors to their website.
  • However, the other party involved, United said absolutely nothing.

No statements to the press. No comments on blogs. No explanation on their website. United missed a huge opportunity to lessen the damage to its reputation caused by the video.

The lessons:

What are the ways you can avoid this situation, keep up to date with what people are saying about you and take action as soon as possible?

  1. Create a Google Alert to monitor your brandnames, trademarks and copywrites, clients, competitors and products
  2. Monitor industry related blogs and article sites (google blog, blog digger)
  3. Monitor twitter, social media sites and social networks (twitter search, social mention and Who’s Talking)
  4. Monitor Consumer Websites, Video Sites and Photo Sites (Flickr, You Tube)
  5. Keep abreast of Google News and Rip Off Report

In today’s world of real time marketing where breaking news, twitter feeds and social media updates rank high in the search engines, its not an option but a necessity to keep up to date with what people are saying about you. Are you?

Anne is passionate about helping businesses succeed in marketing their business in today's world. As traditional ways to promote businesses are becoming less effective Anne and her team at Bison Mobile Web Consulting focus on providing clients with modern marketing methods that are proven to work Currently Anne lives in beautiful South Somerset with her husband, 3 children and 2 dogs. Let her show you how you can get more clients for your business and increase your income so you can spend more time enjoying life and less time working and stressing in your business.

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  • I remember this at the time, it’s such a great example from United Airlines on what not to do and from Taylor on what to do. Great story, thanks for sharing! Niall

  • Great information Anne, always worth monitoring your brand as not only can you prevent a situation from escalating, you can be pleasantly surprised at what you come across too.

  • And there was me thinking I was online too much already. However, great point Anne, one never knows when someone is out there singing your praises, or singing your bad service.

  • Thanks Niall   It’s a classic example of how to succeed and fail in PR. An example for us all to remember

  • Thanks for sharing.  The pleasant surprises are great when they happen

  • Thanks for your comment Elaine.  Its good to know what people are saying about you so you can enjoy the praise and quickly take action on any negative comments before they spread too far.

  • Elish Bul-Godley

    Wow what a wake of success- thank you to everyone who has taught me and helped me find my way through the blogosphere , am in awe of the smarts and supports in this group. And if it weren’t for the visionary Niall Devitt goading me on 2 years ago, I never would have discovered this new found passion and new phase in my career.

  • Hey Niall, well done on a fantastic year. You and your team deserve all the success with the hard work you have all put in.

  • Hi Ian, thank you for your continued support and congratulations to you & Collette on your wonderful success at Happy Christmas to you both and I know you’re going to have a super 2014!

  • Hi Elish, I might have helped to get you started but at this stage, it’s me that’s now learning from you. Thanks for your support and fab contributions. Happy Christmas and wishing you lots more success during 2014.

  • Thank you Sian, you deserve the larger portion of the credit for steering the ship. Happy Christmas & onwards and upwards in 2014

  • Congrats on being the queen of 2013 Elish 🙂 Nice to see our post is still top of the heap

  • Nice 1 Niall…cool post. I havent written any non seo or client content in months…need to climb back into the saddle. Congrats to you and to everyone at TYB. 2014 will be even better no doubt

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

    Well done, Niall and Sian! It’s so impressive seeing this site grow up and having the honour of being one of the contributors. Here’s to a fabulous 2014!

  • Thank you Neil, we’re looking forward to having you back one of the days. Happy Christmas and continued success in 2014.

  • Hi Elli & we’re very lucky to have you. Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2014.

  • Congratulations on another great year to Niall and the team! Loads of really useful articles throughout the year – and it’s good to see a clear and strong vision backed up by solid editorial policy succeeding so well!

  • Thank you Lewis & happy Christmas to you. I hope 2014 will bring you lots of creativity, passion and success.

  • Thanks for this post Annie – it really made me smile. Oh to be retired and afford a great lifestyle like that. I certainly wouldn’t be online as you suggest Bill Gates would be – I’d be out enjoying life. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to your next post

  • hannahlucy07

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  • A good read, don’t forget bigger screen sizes. The HTC One is great for watching video and for reading longer articles and blog posts.

  • Thanks for informing about the practicality of CRM software! What is the general break-even / ROI thumb of rule for a CRM software?

  • Hi William and thanks for this post. Twitter cards sound very interesting – especially as you say for eCommerce. Anything to help network more easily online must be good. Thanks for sharing this info with us

  • Isn’t the Twitter card included automatically in Twitter’s own program and app?

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