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Social Media for Brand Management and Engagement

By Belson Coutinho , e-Commerce & VP - Innovation , Jet Airways

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Belson Coutinho , e-Commerce & VP - Innovation , Jet Airways

Undoubtedly, digital platforms including social media have made a significant impact to the marketing strategies not just in the aviation industry but other industries as well. Marketing campaigns through these platforms are not only transparent but also measurable, almost real-time and the conversation is largely driven by consumers. It is imperative to have a presence on social media as how Jet Airways has started in early 2010 and is now spread over seven platforms, viz: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Pinterest. This is apart from our sales initiatives where we use search engine marketing, affiliate and re-marketing programs to drive online sales. It is seen that each of these platforms provides specific opportunities for brand management and engagement.

With reference to social media engagement, it is to be noted that in order to sustain a social media strategy it is important to listen, engage and respond to fans and followers; and this is the core principle behind our social media initiative which we follow even today. An instant and personalized response is a key aspect which is a differentiator of any social media strategy and we are pleased with the results so far. Apart from using the social media platform to create brand advocates, it is also important to effectively use these platforms for customer support. This gives us a great opportunity to enhance brand reputation and deliver a high level of customer service. It is extremely important to have a conscious engagement and communication with guests that is instant and transparent.

Analyzing Comments
Online Reputation Management (ORM) is another key focus which needs to be monitored as it is the brand reputation across multiple digital platforms. Comments tracked across all social media/digital platforms are analyzed to identify positive, negative and neutral sentiments. This exercise gives insights to understand the needs of the guests and their opinions which in turn help to take corrective actions to provide a better product and service.

"Online Reputation Management (ORM) is another key focus which needs to be monitored as it is the brand reputation across multiple digital platforms."

We are one for the very few airlines which use these digital platforms to connect with our fans and followers not just virtually but in real world as well through highly engaging offline events and this is followed suit by others as well.

There are two key challenges by aviation industry in terms of technology in today's world. Firstly, the slow pace at which some of our key solution providers react and keep pace with evolving technology. This significantly limits us from creating innovative consumer centric or revenue generating solutions. Secondly, with aviation being such a complex business involving multiple stakeholders, it is often a challenge to collaborate using technology to create solutions for efficiency and consumer experience which is a need today.

Being Smart and Effective
Data is being used more smartly and effectively going forward and with 360-degree customer profile driven analytics and deeper insights will drive real-time re-marketing/re-targeting activities. This will drive relevant, targeted and personalized offers as against generic offers. Social media driven marketing initiatives will continue to evolve especially focusing on social business targeting revenue growth, brand advocacy, creating new consumer segments and deeper customer engagement.

With easy access to smart phones and faster data connections, mobile based marketing strategies will consume a good part of marketing budgets. The next focus for Jet Airways is to create innovative mobile apps focusing on consumer engagement and interaction and we hope to do some innovative work in this space.

There is no doubt that online booking is convenient and safer than what it was a few years ago and is becoming the preferred booking channel. Being the early adopters of search engine marketing, re-marketing and affiliate marketing, it is safe to say that it helps not only to compete in the market and drive online sales but also generate effective branding/visibility.

There is a tremendous potential to leverage the power of social media to drive online sales but it has to be relevant and rewarding to the target audience. Partnering brands who share a common objective using digital space is another key initiative in driving online sale.

Looking Forward
Innovation and collaboration are the two pillars that will drive the road map for Jet Airways ahead and all other objectives will follow. Creating innovative solution by collaborating with partners like IBM, Google and industry stakeholders so on and so forth is important to differentiate and be relevant in this challenging market environment. Apart from this, we will continue to use technology and digital platforms to enhance guest experience, manage brand visibility and reputation, increase revenue opportunities, create new sales channels, improve business processes and reduce operational cost.

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