Think back to the last time you were recommended a pub, a restaurant or even a place to visit by a trusted friend. Did you go? What did you think? Would you recommend it to another friend? If no, could you be influenced by a free drink, a free meal or even a free flight? Air New Zealand think that you will be.
As a central theme to their most recent marketing campaign they will be offering discounts on the cost of premium economy seats with the airline. These discounts will only be available to loyal ‘fans’ of the brand who use social media sites such as Facebook to recommend Air New Zealand to their friends. This strategy is known as ‘fandistribution’ and is a relatively new phenomenon within the industry, but it is growing. Through this process ‘fans’ can therefore share brand marketing directly to an audience that trusts them and also crucially values their opinion. A new form of direct and digital peer to peer communication.
The campaign has been launched by a UK based digital marketing company called digitalanimal. Their core product and process ‘fandistribution’ is currently the market leading fan management and recommendation platform. Companies like it because it allows them to engage and interact with their customers through social media, generating brand awareness and ultimately new business. It is also often used by brands to gauge the demand for a new product or service. Consumers like the process because it incentivises them directly, offering discounts simply by allowing companies access to their own personal social network.
Already 71% of people claim reviews or opinions from family members or friends exert a ‘great deal’ of influence over them when looking to purchase a product. Social networks such as Facebook provide a virtual version of this process. For instance on Facebook currently people regularly recommend viral videos and films to each other in a process that is wholly organic, simply due to the fundamental principle that people love to share. Facebook currently has in excess of 350 million active users globally, with over 50% of these users logging into their account at least every 24 hours. As with many forms of digital marketing methods ‘fandistribution’ is easy to integrate (with a couple of simple lines of code), quick to market and will swiftly increase both the awareness of your product and brand. Used by a number of high profile clients, it is the direct-to-consumer solution for modern social media engaged advertisers.
However let’s be honest. As we all know, one-shot deals and blockbuster sales will always cheapen a brand. If done too much you actually condition loyal customers or ‘fans’ to hold off spending money with you until you offer them another ‘deal’. On the other hand it could also be viewed as a useful tool to integrate, involve, and ultimately influence users within an existing network. It is increasingly becoming essential for brands to ensure that they have an interactive presence within social media networks. The pure distribution benefits of the process are obvious when you apply the multiplier effect. On average a single Facebook user has 130 ‘friends’. The process is viral so if the user recommends the brand or service to only 4 of their friends and these 4 friends pass it on to another 4 friends then by the 8th stage of the process you’re looking at a potential audience of 66,536 users – all with exposure to the brand from a trusted ‘friend’.
Here at Alchemis we work with a broad range digital marketing agencies to win them new business clients. We welcome any comments you have about this blog or any others, I doubt we will be flying to New Zealand anytime soon.