After Malaysia Airlines recently tragedies with Flight 370 and Flight 17, they have turned to social media to rebrand the company and distance itself from recent negative events. Malaysia Airlines utilized Facebook and Twitter to initiate campaigns that correlate positivity with its services.
After Flight 370 disappeared over the Indian Ocean, the first campaign was #staystrong, which provokes the message: “Tough times do not last, tough people do.” The airline wanted to support those who lost loved ones on this flight. Does this message work in gaining customer trust? Does this create a positive association with Malaysia Airlines after the tragedy? Is this a successful attempt in rebranding?
Personally, this campaign does an excellent job in standing in solidarity with those who are grieving loss. The holding hands represent support and personal connection. However, it lacks how the airline will improve from the accident. They succeed in empathy –using emotions to persuade customers, but not in maturity of the quality of service.
The second campaign occurred after Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine. Social media began spreading #flyinghigh. So does this campaign succeed in rebranding the airline in a positive manner?
The #staystrong campaign was more successful than the #flyinghigh one. It’s a bit cruel that they chose “flying high” as the hashtag, while the reality of the situation was the plane crashing down. The image chosen has no relationship with #flyinghigh. The image expresses attraction and sex (both positive associations with human beings), rather than the idea of overcoming obstacles. It illustrates a particular “high” when two people are attracted to each other, like infatuation. Just like the #staystrong campaign, it succeeds in the emotional connection with the audience, rather than focusing on showing customers improvement in their services.
Malaysia Airlines did succeed in gaining sympathetic support from the online community. People obviously love hashtags and awesome photography. The images used can be easily shared with one click from your trackpad or by pressing the “retweet” symbol under a tweet. The social media campaigns, however, did not assist in rebranding the airline and increasing business.
There are multiple pieces of evidence to support the failed social media campaign. 1.) Malaysia Airlines has been delisted on the Malaysian stock exchange. 2.) Malaysia Airlines has lost $405 million within the past year. 3.) Since the beginning of 2014, the share price has fallen 29%. Obviously, Malaysia Airlines is #descendinglow, instead of #flyinghigh.
Mann, R. (2014, August 12). Malaysia Airlines Leans on Social Media After Twin Tragedies. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/malaysia-airlines-leans-social-media-after-twin-tragedies-159441