The China social networking landscape is vastly different from those in the west. The networks are local, the conversations are local and the motives behind online chatter are different. As the bigger American companies are spending volumes on traditional media; American Airlines are taking a unique approach having spent the past 12 months developing a leading online resource for Chinese traveling to America.
With limited budget coupled with aggressive targets; it makes the strategy even more compelling when you take into account the long term results this style of marketing would create. Starting with zero traffic and an awareness of less than 1 in 10 American Airlines has built a community (See here) decked out with user generated tools, a contest to win a trip to America and a smorgasbord of content designed to help you on your USA travels.
So how are the results? 12 months on, 70,000 visitors per month (growing at 15% month on month) with expected visitors to top 100,000 by February this 'value-led' communication strategy is a model for all American companies to adopt. The community is not only a network of young, active Chinese to connect with other would be American Dreamers; it's now an outlet for those to purchase tickets, plan trips and share insights about hot spots to frequent.
Building a brand in China is always going to be difficult; especially an airline product of which the purchase for most non business travellers is almost always a dollar question. Yet American Airlines had the vision to see beyond today and begin establishing itself as a airline of greater value; more importantly an airline in which you would expect to pay a premium for - beyond its economical rivals.
Subtle branding, dominated by 'engaging and relevant' content made this web a property of value. Instantly connecting with this market, whom at times struggle to find 'under-the-surface' insights when hitting America. The bonus of connecting with Chinese born students studying in America; whom acting almost like AA ambassadors ensures the product remains socially driven and accepted by peers.
Innovative media led by content, what a unique ploy to engage a new market.
For insights, stratgeies and more when connecting with Chinese visit Mailman.