Hobbits. Elves. Dwarves. All Blacks. These mythical creatures and sports stars have all helped Air New Zealand conquer Australia.
The airline has invested heavily in its customer journey, product and services and raised its market presence to emerge as Australia’s most reputable company this year.
The Kiwi brand beat Australia's biggest airlines Qantas and Virgin Australia in research consultancy AMR's annual Reputation Index, last month, jumping from its sixth-placed ranking last year.
Speaking to AdNews, GM of global brand and content marketing Jodi Williams says the airline has raised its profile in this market with quirky campaigns and memorable in-flight videos.
“We’ve had an increased marketing presence in Australia in recent times with our Better Way to Fly campaign starring Dave the Goose, our inflight safety videos and great locally-led brand activity such as our Summer Wonderland Christmas carol we did in collaboration with Ronan Keating,” she says.
Air New Zealand’s fun safety videos have become legendary, with clips featuring everything from hobbits and elves to the New Zealand All Blacks.
The Better Way to Fly campaign launched towards the end of last year to change the perception of the locations Air New Zealand visits.
“From a marketing perspective we have played our part too, continually challenging ourselves to test, learn, create and stand out with entertaining and relevant content that is seen as a business asset,” Williams says.
Air New Zealand’s efforts to improve customer experience include launching a mobile app, an artificial intelligence bot, a tracking wristband for children travelling alone and Skycouch, which converts three economy class seats into a couch.
“Innovation has been at the heart of Air New Zealand for more than 75 years,” Williams says.
“We have fostered a strong culture of innovation and a focus on improving the customer experience. Our brand promise is built around the idea of ‘liberating travellers’, removing any pain points, barriers and making travel exciting."
Competitor Qantas spends 70% of its marketing budget on digital. Air New Zealand didn’t reveal the split between above the line and below the line marketing, but says its digital efforts are significant.
“Digital has been at the heart of our marketing strategy for many years, we occasionally use offline channels for broad awareness but we have a very engaged online audience so our focus has always been here,” Williams says.
In April, Air New Zealand became the first brand to run advertising in New Zealand on Snapchat, rolling out geofilters and video ads in the region.
“We are constantly experimenting with new channels to reach new audiences with the right content. Snapchat presented a great opportunity to connect with the millennial audience and for Air New Zealand to inspire and engage as a brand through the platform,” Williams says.
“We also use a variety of different channels offshore too – creating a mix of local content and adapting our global content for our international markets.”
For instance, the Air New Zealand team in China manages WeChat and Weibo and brings across branded content that is relevant for the Chinese audience.
In Australia, the airline has targeted a range of new channel opportunities, such as Vice, which it recently partnered with on the Better Way to Fly campaign to showcase a piece of destination content on Argentina.
“We have been investing heavily right across the customer journey – into products and services our customers truly value,” Williams says.
“In saying that, we believe it’s our people that truly set us apart from our competitors and other organisations. We have a team of 11,500 Air New Zealanders around the world who come together each and every day to deliver our products and services and we believe this recognition is truly testament to them and their efforts.”
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