Good afternoon passengers. This is your captain, Nicole van Wyk, speaking. My co-pilot and Air France KLM Southern Africa’s communication and campaign manager Tracy Armitage and I would like to welcome everyone on board media update Flight 1MU. We are currently cruising at an altitude of 30 000 feet at an airspeed of 350 miles per hour. 

The weather looks good, and with the tailwind on our side, we are expecting to land in Aviation Marketingville approximately 19 minutes ahead of schedule. 

The marketing cabin crew will be coming around in about five minutes time to offer you some insights and light snackable content. This will be followed by a beverage, and the inflight movie, Global Brand Messaging, will begin shortly after that. 

I'll talk to you again when we reach our destination. Until then, sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of the flight.

What does aviation marketing entail? 

I would have to say that [work within the space means] working within quite a firm budget and brand guidelines.

[Often], brands are completely different and distinct. At KLM, it is our job to position them correctly and to place ourselves in the correct areas and to the correct target market. We have different approaches for each airline, so it is important to get that right.

Within the department, we also handle the frequent flyer programme, social media, our websites and marketing to our trade partners.

As the aviation marketing sector evolves, does the role of an airline marketing manager evolve?

The airline industry is constantly evolving and changing, and you have to adapt. Whether it is a different strategy that you must pursue because of market trends or that you have to adjust due to a political or economic situation, adapting and changing is the one constant.

You have to evolve due to what is happening in the world we live in.

Are airlines doing more or less marketing in 2019?

[I think most airlines] usually maintain the same amount of marketing. This is dependent on the available budget and also what the focus is for each airline for that year.

For instance, this year a big focus will be on KLM as it’s our 100th birthday in October. In line with that, we have some very cool things planned to celebrate the future and look toward the next 100 years.

Are experimental marketing campaigns successful in the aviation business?

If they’re planned and executed in the right way, they absolutely can be. It’s such a cliché and has been said so many times, but in the digital age — where people are inundated with messages and information — people and brands (including airlines) are needing to be more innovative than ever before; not only get the attention of possible customers but to gain their trust and turn them into long-term loyal brand advocates.

This experiential campaign by the KLM team in Germany is an example of how KLM, on a global level, has leveraged experiential marketing and seen great success from it. 

A lot of emphasis is placed on global brand messaging, but how important is the focus on relaying the same message to a local audience?

We can and do use the global brand message because, regardless of where you operate from, the focus is the same (i.e., informing customers of our products, network, ancillary services and so on).

Where we adapt to local needs is mainly the flight routes and destinations we promote, how we promote these routes and the visuals that we use, which all need to talk to the South African market.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached our destination. Welcome to Aviation Marketingville and thank you for choosing media update Airlines. We hope you enjoyed your flight and took away some noteworthy insights. 

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Alright, folks, it’s time to fly on over to our article, Five reasons to work in travel marketing.

*Image courtesy of Vecteezy