Creating uniqueness: KLM airlines

The digital age and the rise of social media has increased the visibility of brands and hence competition for reputation.

As I mentioned in my post Why reputations matter, reputation is built on respect and trust which creates competitive advantage.

Attracting customers to products or services, employees to jobs and investors to the brand’s securities create a favourable reputation that improves a company’s profitability and enhances its chances of surviving. It is derived from a brand’s uniqueness.

My uni colleague, Sarah Hanniffy, shared a great article that highlights the importance of exploring the different uses of social media platforms but brands to achieve different needs. There is no such thing as “one-size-fits-all strategy” for building a brand’s reputation. As such, the next few blog posts will be dedicated to a number of brands that have successfully harnessed the power of social media.

Today BRW covered an example of a social media campaign tapping into the ways customers communicate in order to build rapport and differentiation.

The brief:
Dutch airline, KLM aimed to create brand uniqueness in an industry known for uninspiring passengers.

They wanted to transform boredom into happiness and engage with customers to make them feel special.

The response:
KLM went out of their way to be more approachable by undertaking a social media campaign to engage with their passengers. This involved tracking down passengers waiting to board flights and presenting them with small gifts to thank them for using Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare to indicate they were travelling with KLM. The passenger’s social media presence was then analysed by KLM to work out an appropriate ‘small gift’. The campaign was run over a few weeks.

The results:

  • KLM airlines received over 1m tweets during the campaign period as word spread
  • They received 17, 528 followers on Foursquare
  • Twitter following reached 2.6m
  • Received over 250,000 views on YouTube

Key learnings:
Shifting ways of brand to customer communication to understanding customers and the way they communicate with them to personalise experiences and differentiate their brand.

This has not only included engaging with customers / passengers in new, creative and memorable ways, but also using social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook profiles as business networking tools. The program, ‘Meet and Seat’ allow passengers to request to be seated next to a person as an opportunity to network.

What do you think of this campaign?

[edits. 25, September 2012]

The airlines are so across their social media, they’ve engaged with me within 12 hours of posting a tweet about them!