How airlines and airports can use Pinterest to create brand associations through visual cues

“Pinterest?  The name sounds familiar, I must have heard it somewhere, but how exactly is it going to help our airline? “

“I’ve heard of it too but I’m not really sure of what it is and, please, don’t tell me that we need yet another social network!”

We’re pretty sure that something similar must have gone through the minds of many airline and airport marketers over the past few weeks. According to some sources, Pinterest, the newest kid on the social block, is driving more traffic to company pages than “big” social networks like Linkedin or Google+ and people are spending more time on this addictive social network than just about any other platform except Facebook and Twitter.

But, what does it all mean ?

It could have simply been just another social network, or just another link sharing site that happened to be good at generating traffic while being visually appealing.  But luckily for us, it isn’t just that!

From a technical point of view Pinterest is a social-bookmarking website or, in other words, a website that allows people to highlight and share content that they find interesting. However, unlike other similar websites, it does so by asking users to share content through images while organizing it in themed groups known as Pinboards. Each Pinboard can have multiple pins all related to the theme of that Pinboard.

 

What is it actually like?

Each individual image represents a link that, if clicked, will lead the to the page where it was pinned from, thus generating traffic, but most importantly each image carries emotional content and a visual appeal that distinguishes this website from its competitors. What’s interesting iss that even though the image shows a certain number of users following SimpliFlying’s profile on Pinterest, users can choose to follow specific Pinboards as well; this has led to an interesting anomaly where many of our boards have got about 50+ followers in the first 7 days since we launched our profile.

 

Images are effective

Unlike text, images are processed very quickly by the brain and often carry an emotional component that is immediately transmitted to the viewer. When we add this to the fact that content on Pinterest is shared and organized according to each user’s personal interests, we get a social network that is heavily focussed on sharing emotions, desires, interests (and links) through images. Or, in other words, a marketer’s dream.

If used correctly Pinterest has an enormous potential to allow brands to get closer to their target markets, by allowing them to create content aggregates (Pinboards) that appeal to different types of users who are willing to share them because they feel an emotional attachment to them.

 

On Pinterest users mostly share the future, not the past

Furthermore, unlike other social networks, the nature of Pinterest means that users do not always share things that happened to them in the past but often things that they like and would want to have (or do) in their future, thus adding a great potential for Pinterest to be used as a destination and aspirational marketing tool.

For airlines and airports this could mean adding a whole new emotional dimension to their marketing efforts, by allowing them to connect their brands to the experience of travel, the beauty of the destination or just about any other concept they wish, or are able to, represent with images.

A growing trend

Although there are still only a handful of airlines and airports on Pinterest, there seems to be a growing trend towards the adoption of this new platform and its usage seems to be focused on communicating brand values and associating the travel experience with the destinations that it leads to.

At SimpliFlying we strongly believe that this platform has great branding potential and, if used correctly, could prove invaluable to both small and large businesses. For this reason we have created two specialized Pinboards to showcase the best examples of Airlines and Airport pins, and have already readied our consultants and trainers to provide expert advice on how to use this platform.

If you wish to learn more about how SimpliFlying can help your airline or airport harness the powers of the social web (or even only Pinterest) and engage travelers profitably , we offer Strategy Consulting and MasterClasses that can be customized to your needs. You can get in touch with us directly at shubhodeep@simpliflying.com.

Find SimpliFlying on Pinterest here.

Marco Serusi

Marco Serusi

Senior Consultant at SimpliFlying
Marco Serusi is SimpliFlying's director of consulting and has worked on major client projects with the likes of LATAM Airlines, London Heathrow and Airbus He has also delivered training in digital aviation strategy for hundreds of executives globally and spoken at several aviation conferences worldwide. He is well known for his cutting-edge research into crisis communications and social media trends. Serusi started his career in aviation after graduating in Air Transport and completing his Masters with a specialization in marketing. He is Italian who also speaks Spanish and English fluently and has lived in several countries including the UK, USA, Italy and Spain. He has been with SimpliFlying for over 6 years. You can talk to him in Italian, English or Spanish. You can also tweet him at @simplimarco, e-mail him at marco@simpliflying.com.
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