Marketing with a Smile!

August is traditionally the ‘silly’ season for news stories, so on the day that comedian Tim Vine won a prize for the funniest joke for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe with a holiday-themed one-liner (“I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.”), I thought I would continue from my last blog piece with a travel based subject based on a silly round-robin e-mail that I got sent – but still with a useful lesson to be learned!

The e-mail I received contained – allegedly – snippets of flight-deck announcements from Kulula (a low-cost South-African airline that doesn’t take itself too seriously!) such as: “Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing….  If you can light ’em, you can smoke ’em.”).

But what really grabbed my attention as a marketer was the livery of their fleet – and as a picture says a thousand words, rather than describe it, here’s the visuals!

If you want to see more pictures of their fleet, go to the Kulula Plane Gallery.

What a brilliantly innovative idea to create livery that not only catches the attention enough to get the brand spread around the globe in viral e-mails (free marketing!), but also sums up the ethos of the business. As I looked more closely into who they are and what they do, I was even more impressed. British businesses could learn a lot about how to treat customers and employees simply by looking through the Kulala website. On their Mission page, three sentences summed it up for me: “We help people lighten up. Smiles and jokes are free. We always want to be genuinely friendly and provide the right environment for our staff’s natural talent to shine”. This is certainly a company of which I would want to be a customer or employee.

After all the misery we suffered in the earlier part of the year (How would your Business cope with a Volcano), we know running an airline is a serious business.  But imagine what it would be like if our UK operators adopted Kulala’s style! Instead of being treated like cattle and having to pay for every ‘extra’, as customers we would be greeted with a smile and no doubt would also manage a chuckle as we board a plane with ‘This way up’ painted on its side.

But this approach doesn’t just apply to the travel industry.  What can you do in your business to get the equivalent of Kulala’s ethos? What would get people talking about your business offering in a positive, upbeat way? More importantly – what one thing can you change in your customer service management to get happy buyers coming back to you time and time again?

All it takes is a bit of imagination and a smile to achieve great marketing awareness and customer service!


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