Turkish Airlines has been turning around its reputation in the past few decades – from an airline ripe with customer service complaints, deadly crashes, and controversial ambassador deals, to 2011’s Best European Airline. The airline has also been very active in the online space, in what seems to be an effort to rebuild its image and customer satisfaction – but is it working?
One recent online engagement example is their ongoing coverage of the US Tour 2011 featuring FC Barcelona (which Turkish Airline sponsors). They are providing a behind-the scenes look as the team travels aboard a Turkish Airline flight. Another element to this campaign is an interactive game, where visitors to the site can play daily to win prizes, including futbol jerseys and free tickets, and receive hints via Twitter and Facebook.
Why this works: According to comScore, Turkey is one of the top global sports markets, so they’re tapping into that love of sports with their sponsorship of the team and the ongoing promotions online. The content is also being broadcast on Turkish Airline’s multiple social media platforms for maximum reach. What could be improved? With so many channels, websites and hashtags to follow, it can be difficult to keep up with the campaign and what to focus on. The overwhelming amount of activity may mean Turkish Airlines (and their objectives) gets lost in the shuffle.
Another tactic Turkish Airlines employs is sharing videos on Facebook. The airline posts videos on their Facebook wall several times a week, including interviews with spokespeople and simple animated clips. Why this works: Watching videos online videos is common in Turkey, and a recent studyfound that Facebook is the most popular online video destination in Turkey. By understanding this trend, Turkish Airlines is able to provide their audience with the content they desire.
What could be improved? Again it seems like Turkish Airline is promoting sports teams rather than themselves. Although the content is engaging, the message remains unclear – why these Facebook fans should choose to fly with Turkish Airlines is unanswered. Additionally, when looking further into the data, it shows that online videos attract a much younger audience, which may be an audience less likely to purchase airline tickets.
Overall is appears that Turkish Airlines is trying to tap into online trends to meet their audience where they are, but they might be sending mixed signals. By promoting themselves as young and playful (sports and cartoons), they may be neglecting the audience that is looking for luxury airfare or business travel. They also leave out critical information and fail explain why they are the “Europe’s best airline.” In my opinion, for more success down the line, Turkish Airlines should focus on the services they provide for their customers rather than the activities of the teams and individuals that they pay to sponsor.