Virgin America: Social Media Replaces Advertising

C. David Cush is the president and ceo of Virgin America. I caught his keynote speech this morning at Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum in New York City. During, “A Good Airline Experience is Not an Oxymoron,” Cush talked about how good design, a pleasant workplace for employees, and technology are all driving the company’s business.

What was particularly surprising was the company’s dependence on social media. As a smaller airline, Virgin America uses sites like Facebook and Twitter in lieu of the giant advertising budgets other corporations command. In fact, Cush says the advertising budget at Virgin America is less than 10% of what he had to work with during his days as senior vice president of global sales at American Airlines.

Also, he spoke of interns at Virgin, tracking the company’s Twitter mentions 24/7. He said it helps solve customer issues in real-time, but admitted using interns wasn’t scalable and that it doesn’t get information about customer issues into the company’s knowledge database.

Shortly after finishing up his speech, I spoke with Cush on camera about social media and the possibility of paying Twitter to organize and analyze Virgin America's mentions on the site...

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