At a time when its harder than ever to stand out from the crowd, brands are forced to get savvier at spotting opportunities to make themselves relevant. Some are turning to social media conversations with the hopes of becoming part of the narrative and to create preference for their brand. China Airlines is one such company.
In 2007, a vacationing Georgia woman was scuba diving in Hawaii when her waterproof camera came loose and was carried away by the current, leaving no hope for recovering it. But thanks to the help of a China Airline employee and Facebook, the lady and her camera are about to be reunited… six years and 6,000 miles later.
China Airlines created a Facebook page that showed a picture of “the mystery blond woman” along with a page title saying: “China Airlines Is Looking For You.” The page requested Facebook users to share the story to help find its way to the the rightful owner. It worked.
Lindsay Scallan got a message from an old classmate who recognized her photo and she is now making arrangements to leave for Taiwan in June with the help of China Airlines. The company has offered to take care of flying Ms. Scallan to Taiwan–all expenses paid of course–so she can be reunited with her camera and meet the employee who discovered it. And for China Airlines to fully leverage the human interest story to propel their brand in the marketplace. So far, it’s worked. China Airlines has earned massive media coverage including USA Today and CBS News.
The timing of this human interest could not have been better for China Airlines, who has recently suffered sharp declines in annual profits due to a weak economy, higher jet fuel prices and smaller foreign currency gains. As well, starting April 26, the airline is launching a new daily route from Shanghai to San Francisco–a major and expensive route that will require regular flyers to prove profitable for China Airlines.
By leveraging the power of publicity and social media, China Airlines has raised their brand awareness amongst North American flyers destined for Asia. The exposure also brings with it some juicy SEO inbound links that will have a positive impact on their website authority and organic rankings on Google. Knowing how to market with social media and SEO to generate brand preference does require some skill. But more importantly, it requires closely monitoring what is happening in current events and finding a way to insert your brand into the conversation.