Analysis of Qantas Airways' Frequent Flyer Campaign

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22nd Jun 2020 Report Reference this

Tags: Business ReportsAirlineMarketingCustomer ExperienceQantas Airways

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Executive summary

This aim of this paper is to investigate Qantas Frequent Flyer 2017 media campaign- With so many ways to earn and use Qantas points, it’s easy to say, ‘why not’. Four aspects from campaign framing message, network society, parasocial media content, to the empowered audience have been analyzed. This study is also to assess the extent to which these factors were connected and impacted to each other. Overall, brand endorsers have indicated ineffective in performing on social media platform and resulting in low audience involvement. In addition, watchers lack of motivation prevents them from actively contributing to the media, such as YouTube. The paper concludes that the spirit of Qantas should be revived. It is suggested that the company should make efforts on creating high density network on social media and properly interact with the customers, as the purpose to trigger their purchase intention.

Introduction

Qantas has been widespread with the image of ‘Flying Kangaroo’ and the Spirit of Australia advertising campaign in 1998 that represents irreplaceable status in the mind of Australian consumers. The iconic airline keeps conveying its prominent concept of home and family through its commercials, for instance, “Feels like home” campaign tried to illustrate an emotional connection between the customers and the brand. Qantas Frequent Flyer launched ‘Why Not?’ campaign in 2017 that coincided its 30th anniversary. The campaign plans to build members loyalty and rekindle the usage of Qantas’s points when traveling around the world. A series of the campaign were broadcast on television, social media, in airport terminals and through Frequent Flyer member’s emails.

Campaign message

Stephanie Tully, the chief marketing officer of Qantas, indicates the campaign is aimed to show how simple it is to gain and use points on their way flying with Qantas (Green, 2017). The series is demonstrated by three Qantas Frequent Flyer members respectively showing how an artist upgrades his flight with points after a successful business trip, how a businesswoman book a glamping weekend with Qantas points, and how a father brings his daughter abroad to swim with her favorite animal. The three narratives use the same melody which intends to evoke emotional bonds from the audiences. Framing is an inevitable part of human communication that refine message to influence the consumers’ fundamental values and inspire certain performances (Goffman, 1974). The campaign is shaped with three framing tactics: stories, contrast, and slogan. While business travelers are the main targeting, the stories exemplify the comfortable and memorable ways to experience on Qantas flight. It highlights the benefits of engaging in certain behaviors that may appeal the customers―family harmony, self-actualization needs, and relaxing leisure time. More specifically, the campaign demonstrates the contrast between exhausting life and leisurely life, the former is what people try to avoid and the latter is what people usually dream of. The slogan―With so many ways to earn and use Qantas points, it’s easy to say, ‘why not’―encourages consumers to think ‘Why Not?’ use their Qantas points to achieve the goals they have always imagined. The logo of Qantas thereafter appears in the campaign which might be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is perhaps not enough to activate affection and raise identification to the brand. On the other hand, since viewers feel less impatient about a variety of commercials nowadays, they will immediately change the channel if they know from the beginning of the advertisement. It is then considered what extent the stories trigger members to become loyal to the brand. The transportation of description is believed to enhance the effectiveness of persuasion, forming a close relationship with those that experience it (Escalas,2004). Although the campaign asks members ‘why not’ to earn and use Qantas points, the ways to earn the points were only abbreviated in the sub-campaigns. It does not offer proper resonances for the audience to understand the convenience of earning points through Qantas and its partnership. To think logically, before using the points, people should know how to earn the points and even how to own a membership.

Networked/interactive society

The media campaign is a method of how the service provider communicates with its customers at the prior and later stages. Members of the frequent flyer program are believed to effortlessly bond with the company and repeat their purchases because they do not want to lose the momentum of earning points (Lubbe, Douglas, & Mclachlan, 2016). However, in this case, the ‘why not’ campaign has not revealed enough motivation for viewers to call to action. Within the ‘why not’ campaign, the characters achieved their comfortable journey after hard toil, which indicates a slightly negative position that seems doubtful to create a positive and exclusive association. Scholars have suggested that consumers will generate positive word-of-mouth power on the digital platform and increase others’ purchase intentions when the company offers a share-worthy experience to them (Pan & Crotts, 2012). The campaign should emphasize how points and journeys were accumulated during daily life. The involvements in life are worth our attention, for example, the points can be collected from buying groceries in Woolworth and exchange a memorable trip. People are likely to self-disclose those small experience on social networking sites and can be easily spread out. In order to maintain a membership with customers, it is more efficient to show how easy they can earn points in their worth-sharing lives, and finally fulfill their dreams or get extra benefits through the valuable points. Moreover, the characters in this campaign are not effective influencers on social media and in the reality. Feeling unfamiliar is one of the results of passing over the information. Brand is necessary to create a popular topic or subject which can form a stronger relationship with the audience for promoting themselves. If Qantas builds a high-density network within a relationship, they can directly or indirectly communicate with the customers by going through fewer paths (Cheng, 2017). Individuals, groups or companies can be linked together in a social network connection and permit the communication diffuses faster without the limitation of space and distance (Pan & Crotts, 2012). For instance, if there are more nodes existing between other nodes in the relationship, there will be also more potential customers (yellow circles in Figure 1) that who might see the advertisement from the influencer’s sharing post on social media.

Media

Although ‘Why Not?’ campaign demonstrates the real member stories, those characters and stories are not popular enough to be recognized or pursued in the media. Brand endorsers usually represent the influential position between the company and customers in the network. Their missions are connecting audience from online interaction to further offline involvement. ‘Why not be spontaneous?’ —one of the sets in the campaign—has more than 500,000 views on YouTube, but there are only 20 comments under the video. The characters in the advertisement, Kari Burke, shared a related post on Instagram, which is liked by 454 people. Compared with other celebrities’ promotional posts, the number of likes and comments are fewer. Thus, the selection of brand endorsers should be cautious because they play significant roles in the media and social networking sites. Without interacting with the viewers, Qantas has fell short on delivering the information on several online and offline platforms. Media platforms are where people and brands establish a strong parasocial relationship with the audiences nowadays (Chung & Cho, 2014). As customers have access to information online, brands can communicate its value with them through the social networking sites. Although Qantas has its own social account on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, it seldom promoted the campaign. Key in brand building should be interactive and two way symmetrical. Actors with strong networks can construct online communities through social networking sites and share relevant subjects to their audience. Thus, the more followers the brand and brand endorsers have, the higher degree they can handle benefits from social media. Making full use of the media can create substantial touchpoints to increase purchase intention. For example, if Qantas ‘Why Not?’ campaign appears in the application, YouTube channel, and on Twitter with relative positive experience sharing on the website, it will trigger the potential members who are looking forward to enjoying a holiday. When they frequently see the advertisement, considering the slogan ‘why not to treat themselves better life’ and ‘book flight’ button may stimulate the customers to act.

Audience

The extent of customer’s participation depends on what they learn from the media campaign. Audiences are not active because except being emotionally moved by heartwarming atmosphere in ‘Why Not?’ campaign, they have nothing to do after watching this video. Foremost, the majority of the viewers are not aware of the actors because they are not famous celebrities who can effortlessly catch audience’s attention. The campaign looks like a message telling you ‘Welcome to Qantas’ rather than ‘Let’s collect points and travel with Qantas’. The three stories deliver less valuable motivation to pique viewers’ curiosity and take action. It is necessary to recognize the alteration of airline market and customer behavior to improve customer retention. Furthermore, in the new global economy, understanding the target audiences has become a central issue for designing commercials and choosing the right media. A series of media campaign means that it can address the needs of different members but transmitting the same value. Due to factors such as migrants, holiday workers, students, and their parents, the frequent flyers are not always the business passengers (Castillo-Manzano & López-Valpuesta, 2014). This campaign has too focused on businessman and ignored the influence of travelers, backpackers, and millennials who also travel more frequently these days and tend to share experience on the media. For instance, the campaign can be designed creatively to attract the youth with drive and ambition to impact their parent’s purchase decisions. Previous research has stated that the reason why customers decide to participate in a social exchange is based on personal profitable rewards (Pan & Crotts, 2012). From the campaign’s perspective, it shows that businessmen work so hard to pursue their dream status. There is little incentive for people to accomplish the accumulation because it seems to be time-consuming and energy-wasting. The value within the campaign is also irrelevant to Qantas’s belief such as the Spirit of Australia. The brand’s central value should not only ingrain in marketing, but also be aligned in the media campaigns. Consequently, audiences are incapable to distribute themselves from watchers to further engagement.

Discussion & suggestions

The main problem of the ‘Why Not?’ campaign is that there are no convincing narratives that stimulates the audience to act in the reality. If Qantas’s advertisement does not engage the audience interest in the first glance, people do not usually continue watching it, not to mention searching the internet or buying their products and services. Targeting and understanding the powerful audience is also vital in order to address their specific problems. Olivero (2017) suggests that frequent flyers worry about the isolation within long-distance flights that they are looking for ways to achieve favorable status. The advertising designers should create pieces of stimulus to drive awareness of the product and service. As the rewards offer by Qantas are attractive and profitable, customers will automatically share the experience to their networks. Moreover, the campaign should emphasize “how” – how to earn Qantas points and how to take advantage of them. Customers consider what they can benefit before involving themselves in the campaign. A possible explanation for this might be that the development of web 2.0 and 3.0. People can rapidly access product recommendations and reviews on the social media pages and online news. It is thus necessary for Qantas to consolidate the brand’s position not only delivering commercials but also reciprocally interacting on social media to sustain long-term interpersonal relationships with the customers. Due to the fact that real members’ stories are not impressive, what Qantas can do in the next campaign is to design optimistic scenarios with effective brand endorsers, such as celebrities, YouTubers, and sportsmen. Qantas Frequent Flyer has established for more than 30 years. As it keeps extending its partnerships with hotels, banks, shops, restaurants, transportations, and entertainments, it should inform the members to clarify what useful contents they have offered. In addition, the relationship between customer loyalty and frequent flyer program has been reported in the literature. Whyte (2003) suggest that since the opportunity to earn a free flight stimulates the frequency of purchase, the repeat purchase is not directly the measurement of customer loyalty, which consists of sophisticated circumstance. There are also several ethical issues about the frequent flyer program be stated such as the limited seats, extra rules, and business-points’ ownership. Those confusion can also be simplified in Qantas further campaigns. According to the Yellow Social Media report (2018), there are approximately 79% of Australians using social media. Qantas should revitalize its exclusive Australian brand positioning by strengthening its social media management. Customers’ behaviors are dynamic and may change at any time, meanwhile the marketing and communication strategies should be upgraded. Beyond airplanes, it is time for Qantas to recall on Aussie and travelers to rethink its central value through new media campaigns in the future.
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