Doing something new? Beat the drum about it!

Here’s a quiz:

1. Which airline tested wi-fi for the first time last week?
2. Which airline will be testing bio-fuels next month?
3. Which airline is the first to have showers in its first class?
4. Which is the first airline that’s going to fly the Boeing 787?
5. Which airline was the first to fly the A380 aircraft?

Almost anyone who’s traveled on an airplane before would be able to answer the last one – Singapore Airlines. But hardly any would be able to answer the other questions. For the curious, American Airlines tested wireless internet last week, Japan Airlines will test bio-fuels, Emirates will have showers on its new A380 flight to New York city and ANA will be the first to fly the 787. Wondering why the huge disparity in awareness? Simply because Singapore Airlines engaged its customers and let the world know that it was doing something new.

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Being the first brand to give customers a refreshing, new experience is something to beat the drum about. In turbulent times for the industry like these, airlines should take the opportunity to let the world know about every new initiative they are taking. Let alone the need for a Singapore Airlines’ style big bang, something more than a simple press-release is likely to be lapped up by thirsty customers. What if American Airlines had created a contest, where winners would be able to use the wi-fi service free? How about Japan Airlines doing a marketing stint with Al Gore, highlighting the importance of using bio-fuels? May be Emirates can give its top frequent fliers a chance to experience those showers, even before the first flight.

Not only will such activities create loyal customers, but the buzz created will be more than enough to offset some of the flak airlines have been receiving lately due to the additional charges being imposed. Being the first to provide additional value to customers is not very common in the airline industry, and when it happens, airlines should capitalize on such an opportunity.

Did you know that a number of United Airlines’ planes have added iPhone and iPod support? Again, the answer is probably a resounding “No”.

Time to wake up! And beat the drum about it.

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Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is the CEO of SimpliFlying and a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought-leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior aviation executives globally, from Chile to Canada and from Sydney to San Francisco. Shashank's perspectives have found their way into major media outlets, including CNN Travel, CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg UTV, Mashable and in leading publications like Airline Business, ATW, Aviation Week, and others. Shashank studied Information Systems Management and Business Management at Singapore Management University and Carnegie Mellon University. Hailing from India, he splits his time between Singapore and Vancouver, among other cities.
Shashank Nigam
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