About two years ago, I got the assignment from my marketing professor to take a better look at a Dutch company that, according to her, was doing exceptionally well in the corporate branding department. More specifically, how to reach their customers whilst creating a positive buzz around them on social media. I was relatively skeptic, considering that since the beginning of the social media age, companies have been quite apt at branding via social media.
The company that I am referring to is KLM, or Royal Aviation Company. KLM was founded in October of 1919 and is seen as one of the major Dutch internationals across the globe. Being part of Europe’s leading aviation group, AIR FRANCE KLM, it still is the oldest airline company to retain their original name. So what does this company have to do with branding via social media? In 2010 they started the ‘Surprise’ campaign, which was a wildly praised branding attempt. The idea was that flight attendants would greet travelers at flight gate and hand them a personalized gift. Something that they could enjoy during their trip or when they got back home. They did this by following the social media personas of a set number of travelers and see what they liked and what they were talking about online. They were right where their customers were, and that is admirable. Moreover, this is just one of the many successful campaigns that KLM has initiated
However, there is an obvious downside to this all. Although it is really nice to create an interactive feeling between company and customer, it distracts from problems that still need fixing. Under the Youtube-video multiple reactions were posted concerning luggage problems, payment problems and flight delays. So although KLM tries to engage more with its audience, maybe it tries to do so in a way the audience might not even need all that much. Food for thought.
Airlines, K. R. (2010, December 8). KLM Surprise. Retrieved from Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqHWAE8GDEk
Bachfischer, D. N. (2013, February 25). Case Study: Glimpses into KLM’s successful social media strategy. Retrieved from Aquarius: http://www.aquarius.biz/en/blog-articles/2013/02/25/case-study-glimpses-into-klms-successful-social-media-strategy/
Holt, D. (2016, March). Branding in the Age of Social Media. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2016/03/branding-in-the-age-of-social-media