Harendra Jani
VP at 40Billion.com
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Secrets Of Virgin Atlantic's Marketing Success

Secrets Of Virgin Atlantic's Marketing Success

Virgin Atlantic is a small airline with a big personality. This is how it lures customers from the big guys.

You may think Virgin Atlantic is a huge airline worldwide, but they're not. Maybe they're the No. 2 airline in the UK, but they don't even hold a candle to United, American or Delta here in the U.S. So how does this airline with 18 departures a day survive, and better yet, thrive? They don't have a huge digital marketing budget like you might imagine (more than you and me!) so they need to be very clever about how they market their product. They need to be somewhat grassroots. On top of this, their customers usually only fly once or twice a year, so they need to develop an on-going relationship with them in-between flights.

How Do They Do It? They Start from the Inside...

VA first looked at who their customers are. Internally they describe them as mavericks, adventurous, and pioneering. Simply put, they are "fearless leaders." So, Virgin Atlantic set out to cater to this target audience and make their experience fun and ultra-cool. They put a bar onboard, passengers can get a massage, or a nail clean up and food and drink are always top quality.
From the inside they see themselves as a brand much like an ultra-cool boutique hotel. This way they can be nimble and intimate with customers.

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VA's positioning? "Flying in the face of ordinary"--they've even got a hashtag for it #FITFOO. Ultimately they want to be the envy of other airlines. They did a great job igniting their staff to participate in backing up this new positioning and the team loves being a part of it.

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Use Your Best Customers... for Marketing

So they've excited and ignited their staff, but now they've got a few planes to fill. How do they do it? They rely on one important thing... customer advocacy.

Here are a few great ideas They created a verb out of their Clubhouse. Have you "clubhoused"? They sponsored a contest where customers took pictures of themselves "clubhousing" and shared it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #HowClubhouse. Fun!

• A Virgin crew took to social media and found a customer at work who was having a grey, rainy day. Since their colors are red and purple, they bought a pair of red rain boots and delivered them to the customer at his office. It made his day, and was a great story.

• A crew brought trays of red cupcakes to a local DMV to cheer up people waiting in long lines.

• Their site is fun, cheeky and makes you want to browse around it even if you're not looking to fly!

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Recommended: How To Improve Your Mobile Advertising Campaign: 10 Tips


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Secrets Of Virgin Atlantic’s Marketing Success