Yesterday, as I was putting together my slides for my upcoming course “Branding & Marketing in the Digital Age” at Simon Fraser University Continuing Studies, I thought it may be useful to summarize my version of the new unspoken rules for this digital age for my students. One thing led to another, and I ended up creating a quick but compelling image (thanks to Canva!) that seemed to have resonated well with my community so far.
As I was thinking through a brand that checks all of the boxes in my “list of rules”, WestJet came to mind. I remembered watching their viral (37 million views and still counting!) #WestJetChristmas video last year which I thought would be a great example for my students (if you still haven’t seen it, watch here)
I was pleasantly surprised to find a NEW video, “WestJet Christmas Miracle: Spirit of Giving”, for this year’s #WestJetMiracle…while it still hasn’t hit the 37 million mark of last year, it’s only ten days old so give it some time. What it has generated; however, is all the “awwww” and “wow” you can imagine. If you haven’t watched it yet, grab some tissue!
Be and sound human, PLEASE!
WestJet is showing emotion, empathy, and love. All the attributes of a REAL human being. By having its employees involved in the making of the #WestJetMiracle, WestJet is also showcasing its best ambassadors “at work”.
Be AUTHENTIC if you want to get to know me
This may be an extremely well planned AND orchestrated campaign to help us strike a stronger emotional chord with the brand (mission accomplished!), but it doesn’t change the fact that WestJet employees come across as genuinely compassionate as it gets. Was all that running, hugging, and crying fake?!
Listen to ME. Tired of hearing all about you.
WestJet is constantly listening to its community and crafts creative campaigns and experiences that educate, entertain and inspire its audience. No wonder they have close to 41K subscribers in their YouTube channel.
In the #WestJetMiracle video, Santa is always listening to what people want and he just brings home the goods (even white horses and snow!). Santa, in case you’re listening…DM me for MY list!
Be RELEVANT or else. I am unique.
WestJet is being relevant in a number of ways. It is using video because it is the most powerful format for storytelling and YouTube because it is the best platform to reach us AND the most connected generation of all times (aka “Gen C”). And it is telling us more about its corporate social responsibility projects around the holidays when everyone tends to be more emotional and longing for “feel good” content and experiences. Most importantly, it is showing us that everyone is special and unique, and deserves to be happy.
Don’t treat me like a TRANSACTION. I am just human.
WestJet shows that it genuinely cares about its community — both locally and overseas. It’s not about what they do or sell, but how they make us feel. I LIKE receiving gifts (like this), not sure about you?!
Show me WHO you are. We may have things in common.
Not only do we get to know that WestJet is human, like the rest of us, but also that it has core values and guiding principles we all aspire to. Appreciation, kindness, and compassion are just few of the traits that personify the WestJet brand and culture. Just by watching this video, we are inspired to DO something!
Make me feel a part of your COMMUNITY. I’d like that.
While WestJet is a Canadian airline, it is showing us the power of human connectivity and how we can help each other. How we can help someone in a very different part of the world – who may not be as fortunate as we are. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?!
Give me an EXPERIENCE I can share with my friends
The video is so engaging that you feel a part of the whole experience. Well, you WANT to be a part of it. Sharing it gives you more fuzzy feelings, and creates a greater sense of community.
Don’t sell me on things. Show me that you CARE.
Besides the WestJet aircraft at the beginning of the video, and a few places where the logo is strategically (but subtly) placed, there is no talk about what WestJet does (well, for those that don’t say ‘eh’ and don’t get the HINT at the beginning of the video). They are not trying to convince you to fly with them. Why should they?! You just want to after watching the video! (especially during Christmas time — who knows you might get a white horse!)
If you do 1-9, we may become FRIENDS. I am a loyal one.
In an increasingly competitive airline industry, WestJet’s brand and digital strategy are key differentiators. Will this video alone make someone pick WestJet over a (cheaper) airline/ticket? Probably not (Though it does depend on how ‘price sensitive’ you are — most of us tend to be these days…).
But it’s the consistency of the brand, engaging content and experiences that it constantly delivers, and how it connects us as a community, that will not only allow WestJet to win over new travelers but also deepen its relationship (aka loyalty) with frequent flyers. It’s the WestJet promise!
But wait. There is more. Why did WestJet pick a small village in the Dominican Republic to deliver its Christmas Miracle this year, you may ask?
WetJet anticipated this would be a question the audience would have, and so they used the opportunity “proactively” to deliver yet a second (spin off) video that tells us more on “their” side of the story.
Corey Evans, Manager, Sponsorship, Community Investment and Experiential Marketing at WestJet, explains why they picked this particular project, how it has benefited the community so far, and more about their “ongoing” work in the Dominican Republic in partnership with the Live Different organization.
Now it’s your turn. What did you especially like about this video and what do you think brands can learn from WestJet?
This post first appeared on LinkedIn.