9 February 2012 0 Comments

Facilitating audience engagement and bonding: KLM’s ‘Meet and Seat’

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

KLM, KLM's Meet &Seat, Brand and Social Media, Brand and Audience Engagement, Brand and Bonding 1Real audience engagement and bonding is a vital tool for brand success. I am constantly being fascinated by opportunities offered by social Media to brand. Social Media is an elastic rope; it keeps expanding based on the horizon of the brand custodians and communicators.

 Those who see possibilities will keep experimenting while brand communicators with shallow view will permanently remain in the back seat.  KLM is one of the frontline brands that is consistently experimenting with Social Media. In its latest use of social media, KLM seems to be taking a giant leap towards building audience engagement among its tribe. This new approach will help passenger to bond and connect with people of like minds or with same passion long before they meet in the plane. I am particularly thrilled with this initiative as passengers in certain routes can now find co- passengers and network or take a seat near them long before they eventually meet in the Plane.

 This process allows passengers to personally manage their booking/seat arrangement within ninety days before and cancel seating arrangement forty eight hours before boarding. All they need to do is sign in with either their personal accounts on FaceBook or LinkedIn. Passengers have a right to limit their privacy/details they desire in their accounts. After which they can search for others who had done so and on the same flight with them. Through this pre-knowledge of interest and passion of others people in  the flight, passenger can meet at the lounge, choose a seat near their preferred passenger as well as take same taxi after the flight. This process known as ‘Meet &Seat’ is designed to help audience bonding while in the flight. One of the advantages of this is that people of like minds can develop strong relationship with potentials and increase their network. As we know, a person’s network today is his/her networth. That is if appropriately utilized.

KLM has also helped potential users who may want to cancel such ‘exposure’/knowledge about them. All an individual needs to do is remove or cancel his initial sign in into his/her account. The individual can also retain his seat after deleting his/her initial social network account sign-in.

One must note though, this is still an experiment as this service is limited to certain routes within US and possibly Amsterdam. If this eventually works out, KLM may increase the number of routes. The unique thing about this innovation is that KLM has given the audience something to talk about. It is the first Airline experimenting with this. While we must say there are risks involved in the use of this channel, there is a possibility of increased intra-personal engagement among KLM’s passengers.

In addition to the above, being lonely during flight may become thing of the past as individual can find an appropriate companion that may blossom into a better business and other casual relationships in the future. Someone may focus only on the danger associated with this. Our opinion is what is life anyway if not risk taking?

The lessons from above:

Continuously take calculated risk: no one knows what will work until one tries. Risk taken is normal to life. The only caveat is that we must take risks after an informed opinion.

Experiment and limit the risk: KLM is smart by limiting this idea to certain routes for the initial take off. They can quickly adjust or cancel this experimentation if it does not work out. It is wisdom to play safe in some circumstances.

Give the audience time and ownership: even though your brand is creator or initiator of the idea, let the audience own the ownership and give them authority over the whole process. KLM is not making it mandatory for any of its passenger to use this application. Passenger can make decision whether to use or not. They can also cancel their social networking account sign-in if they feel uncomfortable.

Establish guidelines: KLM has term and condition for the use of this platform. Never be afraid of setting ground rules to avoid abuse.

Is your brand constantly thinking about its audience? Do you have a plan for them? Remember Mike Tyson says ‘’everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face’’. Have you experimented the idea or still in the ‘cooler’? Share your thought.

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