Interviews with Industry Leaders: Jonathan Pierce, Director of Social Media, American Airlines
Recently I had the opportunity to interview Jonathan Pierce, Director of Social Media Communications at American Airlines, who oversees the overall social strategy and social communications for the airline.
Question 1: How does social fit into American’s overall strategy?
Social has changed the way people communicate. It’s changed not only how they communicate with each other, but also how they interact with brands like American. Social networks provide an always-on, open line of communication between consumers and brands, allowing brands to build deeper relationships with their customers.
There are two components to American Airlines’ social strategy:
1. Responsive, customer service. This is a critical aspect of our strategy as it allows us to develop relationships with our customers.
2. Proactive brand engagement and activation. This involves how American proactively engages with our customers and empowers them to tell the brand story.
Question 2: How is American leveraging social networks to tell the brand’s story?
Our brand is represented every day by people in cities across the world – from gate agents, to flight attendants, to pilots. We highlight and feature our people day in and day out in social channels in a number of ways.
“Behind the Scenes at American Air” is a YouTube series which answers frequent customer questions about what happens behind the scenes at American. The video series includes our people answering real customer questions, like “what happens during a weather delay”, “why do fares go up and down”, and “where does your bag go after it’s checked”. By answering customer questions and engaging our employees, we are hoping to empower others to tell the brand story.
Question 3: How important is it for American to build relationships with their advocates?
American Airlines is developing digital relationships every day. We are proponents of brand advocacy and empowering our advocates to share their experiences on social networks.
American has grown customer advocacy by taking the digital conversations offline. Hosting meet-ups with advocates allows us to “take the next step” with them, turning digital relationships into a human relationships and developing lifelong customers.
Having our customers tell our story, is a central part of our social strategy. From employees to customers, we are constantly searching for new ways we can engage on social.