What story should an airline tell when flying is no longer a distant fantasy, rather an every-day reality? Benita Struve, Head of Marketing at Lufthansa, explains how Lufthansa creates a new attitude to life through storytelling.
What does good storytelling look like in marketing?
Good storytelling touches people. It connects the product with emotion and makes a brand’s communication relevant so that it stands out from the mass of advertising messages. The most important thing is that stories are told credibly and authentically. Ideally, they come directly from the brand’s core and can be told in short or long format. It is vital to align the media strategy with the story so that its power can unfold in different channels and in different formats.
Lufthansa‘s Life Changing Places campaign, currently in its second flight, is about being open to the world. The Regrets campaign is about the chances we miss. What kind of story do consumers like best?
The campaigns come alive through their diversity. It is through the emotional breadth of these stories that so many people have been able to identify with them. We tell stories of people who have travelled to places that have changed their lives. We have covered various topics such as music, food and adventure to offer a wide range of inspirations and this diversity also allows for a tailor-made media strategy. The order of the stories is based on the different preferences of our target groups.
Would a relatively simple spot like Lufthansa’s clouds campaign in the nineties be conceivable today?
Probably not. But the simple image of being above the clouds isn’t the reason, rather that the message no longer fits with today's world. This film lacks the passenger-human perspective and it focuses too much on the company. Flying is no longer a dream, but a fact of life. In light of today’s requirements, the film no longer provides sufficient reason for people to be excited by Lufthansa. Also, from a technical perspective, this spot also offers too little substance to achieve reach in the digital media.
How do you extend a campaign to other channels in today’s world?
It is not just about extending a campaign; we're using other channels to deepen our stories. For example, podcasts mean we can offer more information about the protagonist and their location. Users also have the opportunity to discover their own life-changing place via our digital inspiration tool - and book a flight there too.
What marketing effects has the Life Changing Places campaign achieved?
Our brand is now perceived as more caring and sophisticated. From our market research we also know that the campaign has modernised the perception of the Lufthansa brand: after campaign contact, approval ratings for the question "Lufthansa gives me the boost to try new experiences" increase by 15 percentage points and for "Lufthansa inspires me to travel" by 13 percentage points.
How has the Life Changing Places campaign succeeded in refreshing a traditional brand like Lufthansa?
By focusing on a new understanding of travel. In times of abundance the question is what is so special about travelling and why do we enjoy it so much? Travel is becoming less of a tourist experience and now has much more to do with self-awareness. These days a trip should be an enriching experience. Also the way the campaign is built and executed is very innovative: unique places, authentic people and high-quality stories that are professionally told. But there is no aeroplane, no flight attendant, no porcelain and no business class. The story is digital-first, intended to strengthen the digital presence of the brand and to create an impact where people today mainly get their travel inspiration.
How would your storytelling strategy look if Lufthansa were a completely new brand?
A completely new brand would have to explain itself first. A brand with such a rich tradition as Lufthansa doesn't have to. We want to inspire, demonstrate our brand values and expand our relationship with our existing customers.