For giving us funny safety videos and bringing us Rico, Megan Matthews from Air New Zealand is the SimpliFlying Hero for March 2011

Remember Rico? How about the “Fit to Fly” safety video that has been viewed more on Youtube than in-flight? Or the Bare Essentials safety video – all in body paint? For taking something as mundane as a safety video and making it really fun, and powering Air New Zealand’s marketing strategy through social channels – Megan Matthews is the SimpliFlying Hero for March 2011.

From Rico to Rich Simmons…

As 2010 drew to a close, it became clear that Air New Zealand emerged as a clear winner in terms of engaging customers through the excellent use of social media. Rico, the epitome of the social media strategy at Air New Zealand captivated the hearts many customers (and was disliked by some – by design), increasing the level of engagement with the brand manifold. Megan and her team played a key role in launching Rico through social media.

And Rico not only hangs out with celebrities like Snoop Dog, he also regularly features in Air New Zealand’s safety videos – another highlight of the airline’s marketing strategy. The “Fit to Fly” safety video now has over 2 million views in just over two weeks. While the Bare Essentials safety video has over 6 million vies till date – now, that’s a great way to spread the brand.


Building a social-marketing strategy at Air New Zealand

When asked about strategy, Megan explained that, “Our Social Media strategy has been to substantially grow our bond with Customers by encouraging online interaction, promoting, sharing and providing entertaining content.”

Seeing an ever-increasing customer trend on social media sites, Air New Zealand kicked in and became active in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and FourSquare. Megan identified early on that the cornerstone to success in social media is “serving, entertaining, world-class content at a pace that continually maintains consumers’ interest and engagement”.

As Air New Zealand continued to expand in International markets it adopted the policy of sharing content via YouTube instead of traditional media. Megan’s continuous emphasis on creating fresh, engaging and arresting ideas that generated talkability gave rise to some of the most popular social media campaigns like the ‘Nothing to Hide’ campaign.

Air New Zealand has used social media as an integrated strategy across all. As Megan best explains the benefits of social media:

“The great thing about Social Media is that it allows us to respond directly and personally to our customers and other stakeholders. It means we can participate in the conversation and address both praise and issues in real time.”

When asked about her experiences, Megan recalls that the most important lesson she learnt is to “Listen, experiment and learn”. Taking the example of how as @AirNZFairy on Twitter  she and her team raised more than $2000 for Leukaemia & Blood Foundations by shaving her locks, she mentions at how experimenting can teach us such a lot about social media.

When we asked Megan what would be her advise to other airlines looking to build a strong social media strategy, here’ what she had to say, “Ensure that you’re ready to participate 100% as social media is not a part-time trend or half-hearted gig. Oh yeah, and be yourself.”

Once again, congratulations for Megan Matthews for becoming the SimpliFlying Hero for March 2011.

Know someone who’s worthy of being a SimpliFlying Hero?

Simpliflying Heroesare individuals recognized for outstanding social media use in the world of aviation. Do you know of somebody who uses social media effectively in their airline or airport to achieve specific business results? Or do you think you fit the bill?

Then go ahead and fill up the SimpliFlying Heroes nomination form. By filling out the nomination form, you bring them a step closer to being recognized by SimpliFlying for their efforts

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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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