According to Robert Cialdini’s book on influence, one key element stuck out on what brands and people can do to get people to open up and interact with them, to begin with.

By default and not by design, I start this column with examples from airlines and their love affairs, or the lack thereof, with their consumers. Recently, a much lauded airline CEO made news by reacting to an angry tweet made by an extremely senior journalist who had a bad experience with the airline. He was forthcoming and apologised for a shortfall in service. It was refreshing to see such alacrity in response (within three hours). Then there was the infamous incident when a ‘hero’ from the Hindi film industry was frisked and ‘harassed’ at an airport in the US sometime ago, or when a British airline asked for Sachin Tendulkar’s surname to track his lost baggage. Mass media went into a feeding frenzy with the last two incidents after it had gone viral on social media. The overwhelming takeout was “How could this happen to our celebs”? How dare they insult our “gods”?

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