As I sat down on my flight from Denver, Colorado to San Francisco, California the message below appeared on the screen. I must have seen it at least five times before, but this time I took a minute to read it. It contains a really important message. It asks passengers to show judgement in their movie choices. It says if you’re sitting next to a 5-year-old please don’t watch something with overt sex and violence.
I’m a new parent and I really appreciate that Virgin America is taking the time to ask passengers to think before they watch soft porn in public. It saves a lot of awkward questions from your kid in a confined and crowded space at 30,000 feet!
But the problem is that I’ve flown with Virgin numerous times and this is the first time I’ve read, let alone noticed the message! By showing the message in tiny font, within a paragraph of other information, for just a few minutes at the start of the flight, it gets completely lost.
And Virgin should know this. They are expert communicators! Their safety video has been viewed over 11 million times on You Tube!
So what can we, as communicators, marketing professionals and business owners learn from this error of judgement on Virgin America’s part?
1.Never miss an opportunity
View every communication as a chance to connect with your customer. Virgin America are missing out on a big opportunity to win brownie points with parents, those who are and those that aren’t traveling with the family in tow. I know that pre-motherhood I would have still appreciated the values that this kind of message promotes.
2. Consider how you communicate
Knowing what to say is half the battle, the other half is knowing where and how to say it. Most businesses don’t have Virgin America’s budget for fancy videos. But it’s still important to decide how best to share your message. Social media, blog posts, presentations, white papers, case studies or op-eds are all great, low-cost choices.
3. All your communications are important
Maybe you have a stellar website and a huge Facebook following for your product. Ace! But what about your support emails? What about your FAQs? What about your landing pages? What about any printed materials? Take a bird’s eye view of your marketing collateral and then zoom in on the things that are less than excellent. You’ll soon have a suite of content that’s up to scratch.