What makes this dispute of special interest from the communication point of view is what the union is doing overall in communicating its position and its efforts to portray Goodyear in as poor a light as possible.
Advertising, for instance, specifically video and YouTube:
[The union] has launched an advertising campaign that spotlights, among other things, what it contends are the hazards of buying tires made by replacement workers. It also is tapping into the power of the Internet with one of its more inflammatory pieces — a [30-second] video spot on YouTube.com that climaxes with a car crash.
It’s the union’s use of the internet, though, that is raising eyebrows according to the Journal:
[…] The union has launched [Goodyear Alert,] a website focused on investors, where it seeks to undermine shareholder confidence by contradicting Goodyear’s relatively upbeat pronouncements about its ability to function during the strike.
It’s a high stakes game as Goodyear’s share price has actually risen since the strike began last month.
What the union is doing is employing a mix of traditional online and social media communication channels as part of an integrated communication strategy that also includes activities such as leaflet distribution in local communities. This enables them to quickly create and take their messages out to different audiences in ways that reach and connect directly with those different audiences.
How effective it all will be remains to be seen. But what is without doubt is the union’s awareness of the power of online communication and the use of a social media channel like YouTube to reach out to a new audience in a new way.
Businesses take note.