Reality check: Why social media can be the solution for airlines’ grey skies

A picture speaks a thousand words, isn’t it? I’ve included two here, this Sunday, and I think they speak more than 2,000 words when put together. The first graphic shows the bad state of the airline industry, and the second shows what traditional forms of marketing mean.

The good thing is that social media combines the benefit of all of the traditional marketing aspects, and may very well be what puts airlines back in the black. I’ve discussed this in much greater detail in my case studies on airlines using Web 2.0. What do you think? Have a great Sunday!

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Shashank Nigam
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Showing 10 comments
  • Aveek
    Reply

    Your take on social media is interesting. I believe that nothing works better than one to one communication, and here social media do have a great role to play towards introducing and building a brand.

  • Roger Hobson
    Reply

    One concern for your statistical analysis is that your figures all come from Air Transport Assoc of America, and herein lies the problem. As long as the rest of the world keeps looking at how badly the US is doing, instead of working out their own markets and trends, they will never truly recover.

    Not just in aviation terms, but business as a whole has to stop looking at the USA as center of the universe!

  • Shashank Nigam
    Reply

    @Roger: I’d agree with you on that. Neither is US aviation the center of the universe nor are they well-run airlines (with some exceptions). In fact, I’d say it’s the global carriers like Etihad, V.Australia and Jet Airways that I think will show the way to many airlines in the future. But even these need to learn how to tap on social media – because it will be the future! Did you know that Singapore Airlines doesn’t even have its own blog?

  • Roger Hobson
    Reply

    Hi Shashank, I agree, if you get a chance read ‘From Worst to First’ by Gordon Bethune about Continental Airlines … speaks volumes!

    SQ are a bit of an enigma, I have worked a great deal with them over the years and I am undecided about how well they are run, certainly nothing I would like to put in writing in a public forum!

    The same is true of EK, EY and QR for other reasons, because of the cultural situations there, the public at large will never really see the true stats and you will never really know the true story if they are profitable or not as I am sure certain figures are ‘massaged’ Even if there were poor figures, bad news is never published!

  • Rob Mark
    Reply

    I doubt most of the people I talk to would disagree with your photos nor the concept. And many of those people work in the aviation industry.

    Getting them to believe in this enough to take action the way Southwest and JetbBlue have here in the states is something else entirely.

    Right now, most companies have shown how vulnerable they are to economic disaster.

    One of your earlier readers called it correctly. We are not the center of the universe as an economic entity. But any of us might be the solution to the problem if these executives weren’t too paralyzed with fear to act. Look at the banking industry. In the face of huge public criticism after taxpayer bailouts, they seem to have no fear of paying incredible bonuses.

    What this teaches us is that maybe we’re all playing in the wrong industry!

  • Shashank Nigam
    Reply

    @Rob: Whether it’s the right industry or not, it’s one I’m deeply passionate about and it’s here that I want to play. And while I’m at it, I’m learning a lot myself, not just about why it’s difficult to get airline execs to act on promising concepts like Web 2.0, but also on how those who made it work succeeded at it.

    Testing times for all. But as Charles Darwin said, “It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is most adaptable to change”. Airlines need to adapt, to survive.

  • Rob Mark
    Reply

    “Most adaptable to change.” Solid words. Another item that makes it difficult for the airlines specifically is their antique structure. No one is quite sure if Web 2.0 belongs to marketing, PR, issues manage ment or what.

    Then toss in Mr. Darwin’s thoughts and you have a real mess to fix.

  • Ahmed Sultan, ITC
    Reply

    The effective functionality of Web 2.0 is yet to be thoroughly verified.
    What is for sure so far is that Web 2.0 is no longer just for teenagers.

  • dating
    Reply

    I had all kinds of problems with it, until I finally went into the tutorial.
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  • FreeDating
    Reply

    SQ are a bit of an enigma.

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