[Interview] Gary Wicks shares how Boeing Commercial Airplanes takes the social media bull by its horns
If you’re wondering why Boeing has such a strong social media presence, even though they can’t sell any planes on Twitter, we’ve got the answers for you in this interview. Boeing wants to position itself as a “forward thinking, thought leading driver of innovation in the industry”, shares Director of Digital Strategy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Gary Wicks. He believes that social media offers the most efficient tools to accomplish this goal.

Growing up fast!

Though Boeing had traditionally been buttoned up and corporate, the company was forced to act in 2010 when an eight year old, Harry, received a form letter for his suggested design for a plane. The episode blew up on social media. At that time, Todd Blecher, Boeing’s Head of Communications, began using Twitter to respond to supporters of Harry. “We’re expert at airplanes but novices in social media. We’re learning as we go,” he wrote in one message.

And learn they did. Recently, Boeing invited, Dr. Jeremy Hampton, an aviation enthusiast and amateur photographer as a guest at the debut of the newest 747 passenger plane, the 747-8 Intercontinental. Dr. Hampton came to Boeing’s attention when he posted his photos on The Boeing Store’s Facebook page, where he was twice recognized for submitting the “Photo of the Week.” And for leading Boeing’s efforts on social media Todd Blecher was previously crowned a SimpliFlying Hero too!

 787 inspired social strategy

At Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the digital strategy is led by Gary Wicks, who is based out of Seattle. We caught up with him personally, to understand how their efforts have evolved since the early days of caution. And what we learnt left us impressed. Here are some key points from the interview:

  • How the 787 marketing program led Boeing into the digital marketing world [00:46]
  • How “Name the plane contest” lead to “Dreamliner” [01:22]
  • The evolution of digital strategy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes [01:50]
  • How digital content from 787 inspired the content strategy for 747-800F [02:20]
  • Managing the social channels strategy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes [02:58]
  • Delivering a seamless brand experience across channels [03:46]
  • Resource strategy for social media at Boeing Commercial Airplanes[04:17]
  • What goals Boeing is trying to drive with digital media [05:30]
  • Behind the scenes of the “Build your Dreamliner” app [07:03]
  • How “Build your Dreamliner” advanced the momentum of the 787 [08:04]
  • What’s next for Boeing and its digital strategy [08:41]
You can watch the full interview with Gary embedded below, or on Youtube.
 YouTube Preview Image
So, what do you think of Boeing’s social media strategy? How relevant is in the B2B marketing space? We’d love to hear your thoughts in Comments and on Twitter (@simpliFlying)

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

CEO at SimpliFlying
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
Shashank Nigam

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