Why the Airline Safety Video Can be a Great Marketing Tool — and How your Airline Can Get Started

While never stated explicitly, there seems to a tacit agreement that (creative) safety videos can only be produced by airlines with certain specific brand characteristics. This is an unfortunate assumption.

Here’s why:

  1. Video marketing is booming, and video is increasingly seen as one of the best ways to engage existing customers and to find new ones.
  2. Consider this: online video now accounts for 50% of mobile traffic.
  3. Videos can offer an immersive experience like no other form of media. (Virtual reality is still in its infancy.)

However, there’s a catch. While video is indeed growing rapidly, and sucking in millions of online consumers, everyone is doing it. Which creates a new challenge — while this indeed might be the media format most preferred online, not everything that is produced as a video works, or is worthy of attention. More than ever, there is a need to differentiate your marketing efforts from those of your competitors, and video is not the exception. Where can this differentiating niche be found?

The Social Marketing Paradox

Enter the airline safety video.

Until now the preserve of “bold” airlines such as Air New Zealand and Virgin America, the airline safety video — done creatively — is gaining a well-deserved reputation for being a useful marketing tool. The key is to understand the social marketing paradox.

In an online-centric world, your audience is generally quite uniform in its interests, and it is the audience that gets to dictate the terms of engagement. Which means in order to engage them you must produce content that is likely to interest them. However, in some cases, this might mean making difficult brand-related decisions. The simplest way to understand the social marketing paradox is to ask yourself this question: how would a Singapore Airlines do a creative safety video without compromising its brand?

There are three ways to resolve this:

  1. Stories: For brands that wish to retain their relatively conservative brand image while being creative, adopting a story-telling technique could reap rewards. For instance, Singapore Airlines could showcase its service culture and attention to detail, using the Singapore Girl as a lever to demonstrate the various gentle ways in which the crew interacts and assists passengers to understand these safety instructions. The challenge is creating an interesting concept; the upside is a new way to do a safety video.
  2. Brand Quirks: This is the technique adopted by airlines such as Air New Zealand and Virgin America who wish to emphasise the boldness of their brands — hence, their approach to safety videos involves flamboyance / fantasy. The challenge is finding hyper-creative concepts at regular intervals; the upside is that the videos become great tools for projecting brand consistency. 
  3. Destination & Culture: Each region in the world is unique and interesting. And there’s probably no better way to showcase it than through video. The challenge is weaving in destination and cultural elements without making the video look tacky; the upside is having a video concept that nobody else can copy, due to the distinctness of your own culture. 

 

Do you have anything to add? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @simpliflying.

Shubhodeep Pal

Shubhodeep Pal

Vice President, Products and Operations at SimpliFlying
Shubhodeep Pal is the Vice President, Products and Operations at SimpliFlying. He has been leading Research, Product Development, Marketing and Business Development since December 2010 from the headquarters in Singapore.He has spoken at airline conferences and delivered training workshops for senior aviation executives. He has also appeared on television interviews and been quoted in publications such as the Wall Street Journal. His writings have appeared extensively on SimpliFlying and respected industry outlets such as Airlinetrends, Tnooz, Airport World, Low Cost and Regional Airline Business Magazine and Loyalty360. In a previous role, he also conducted a workshop on social media at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore.He speaks three languages fluently, and is also a published poet and amateur film critic.He can be reached at shubhodeep@simpliflying.com.
Shubhodeep Pal
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Comments
  • junkscienc
    Reply

    The fundamental flaw of your proposition is that you have used the word safety “video” as a substitute for safety “demonstration”. Once you’ve removed “demonstration” you’ve removed safety because safety has not been demonstrated. Air New Zealand would be the worst of your examples – they don’t perform a safety demonstration – their videos are just advertorials for after-market media personalities. This is what happens when marketing thinking is allowed to infect safety expertise in an environment with weak to non existent regulatory oversight.

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