Without a clear brand identity, you may have visibility but no personality.
“Commerce is about selling more products and services, but people are about desires and aspirations.”
Marc Gobe, Emotional Branding, Revised Edition
What do Victoria’s Secret and Virgin America share in common? Both understand the power of a brand culture and are able to translate that into a memorable brand experience. Aviation marketers that are seeking to define their brand need to consider a people-to-people marketing approach and understand that relevant brands are not based on messaging or logo design but on the experience associated with the brand.
Social marketing is changing the way customers interact with your brand
My theory on why the aviation industry has been slow to adopt and implement social marketing is because aviation manufacturers are stuck in the mindset of business-to-business instead of people-to-people marketing.
The business-to-business (B2B) mindset is based on selling products and services to accounts. Contrast that mindset with people-to-people (P2P) where the emphasis is focused on improving the customer experience. Customers no longer measure brands based on message, but on interactions they have with them.
Aviation marketers that have successfully adopted social marketing understand that delivering on the brand promise can be done effectively on social platforms. Take a look at Jet Blue, Southwest, or Virgin America Airlines. Each one has been able to get tangible results through social marketing about how well they deliver on their brand promise.
Aviation marketers that choose to ignore the power of social marketing run the risk of becoming a second tier brand by not being able to monitor the customer experience in an unadulterated environment.
8 behaviors required to enhance the customer experience:
Good customer relation management (CRM) starts with good traditional CRM. You cannot expect to improve CRM by adding a social component if the legacy CRM platform was not good to begin with.
Customers expect more. Resolution of problems is a given. Now, customers expect a brand to be proactive within the community of users.
Build customer empathy at all levels of interaction. This should be the golden rule for sales, marketing and customer service – Treat customers as you would like to be treated yourself.
Everyone is a representative of the brand. It only takes one bad experience to drive a customer to a competitor.
Talk with the customer, not at the customer. Customers can tell when the conversation is scripted. Authentic conversation starts with empathy for the customer’s situation and offer of a resolution based on a thorough understanding of the product and service offering.
Don’t leave customers waiting. We live the era of real time engagement. Responding to a customer service issue in 24 hours is not acceptable.
Use social media platforms for problem solving. Enabling self-help through social platforms spreads knowledge and customer feedback across the community of users.
Change the way you measure customer satisfaction. Backward looking measurements that tell you what happened are no longer as effective. Consider a forward looking measurement like a net promoter score that tells you how satisfied your customer is with your service or product offering.
People-to-people marketing is the measure of brand engagement. Creating trust through conversation and helping customers solve problems builds brand loyalty.
I’m interested in hearing from my fellow aviation marketers. What have been your greatest challenges in implementing social marketing? Please share your experiences in the comment section below.
Insights are not shiny objects. Many times insights are buried in the customer’s emotional connection to the brand.
Good marketers believe that customer insights form the foundation for brand strategy. Being able to identify insights about product functionality, user preferences, and emotional connection to the brand help to formulate the brand promise and gives the brand its “reason for existence.”
Point-of-view marketing through social media can very effective when supported with proper brand positioning.
Successful aviation brands at their core hold a philosophy about how they will conduct their business, treat their employees and customers, and contribute to the betterment of the aviation industry. In social media terms, this is the brand’s point-of-view.