Airline Safety Videos: Changing Customer behavior – for the better!


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Customers taking things for granted is the enemy of all Marketers.  How do you get your people to change their behavior and pay attention to your message?

I have recently seen a great example of this in airlines safety videos. If you fly a lot like I do, you probably ignore the safety presentation. Whether it’s the stewardess doing it live in the aisle or playing on the screen, you are likely ignoring it, playing Flappy Bird on your phone (in airplane mode, of course).

That’s because we know what they are going to say or show us. We know how to buckle a seatbelt, how to put on the oxygen mask or use our seat as a flotation device.

The familiarity of the safety video is an excellent example of familiarity in marketing or a customer experience. The good news is that I know what they were trying to communicate in the video. The bad news is that I completely ignore it now.

This same concept of familiarity applies to marketing. If you have seen the ad or the commercial or website banner enough, you don’t see it anymore. It becomes a familiar image that your brain notices but doesn’t process. That is, until it changes.

Delta made a few funny changes to their safety video:

Now the video is really entertaining, particularly if you remember all these things from the 80s, like I do. But it is also Delta’s way of making sure that their passengers have a little bit better experience. Instead of just ignoring the video like they usually do, they changed it a little bit to make it better for the passengers, so they will notice it again.

My post, “The Yin and Yang of Familiarity in Marketing” talks about the pros and cons of familiarity. On the one hand, it’s familiar so it’s comfortable. Like your favorite chair, it makes you feel safe. On the other hand, familiarity breeds contempt. It’s too predictable and boring, so you don’t always notice the familiar. If you consider this, you can certainly understand why so many marriages fail. It’s because the couple may have just grown bored of each other. Unfortunately, this can happen in your customer experience as well.

So when we advise our clients’ in customer experience design, we tell them they need to spice it up a little to keep their customers’ interest. Stimulate the good emotions in a new way that keeps improving the experience for them. Even little good changes make a customer take notice. If you don’t believe me, try making the experience just a little bit worse and see how much they notice!

One airline that knows how to spice things up and keep it stimulating is Air New Zealand. Consider their new video:

They are calling it “the world’s most beautiful safety video.” Their previous videos starred hobbits and rugby players. It has caused controversy in some areas but at least people are talking about it and taking notice.

It’s a regulation that the safety features of the aircraft are explained to passengers before the flight. That’s every single flight…and the same safety features. Both airlines recognize that the safety video is familiar enough to most passengers that they have a little bit of wiggle room to be creative with how they meet this regulation. By changing the familiar, they improve the experience for their passengers. Some videos more than others.

What? I was talking about the 80’s video! Geez!

So when it comes to your customer experience, you need to look for the safety videos in your experience. If your whole experience is as familiar and boring as the typical safety video, it may be time for an overhaul of the whole thing. But if you have an experience that is overall pretty good, maybe you can find a new way to keep it interesting and make it better for your customers.

What are the safety video moments in your experience and how can you use them to make it a little better for your customers?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colin Shaw
Colin is an original pioneer of Customer Experience. LinkedIn has recognized Colin as one of the ‘World's Top 150 Business Influencers’ Colin is an official LinkedIn "Top Voice", with over 280,000 followers & 80,000 subscribed to his newsletter 'Why Customers Buy'. Colin's consulting company Beyond Philosophy, was recognized by the Financial Times as ‘one of the leading consultancies’. Colin is the co-host of the highly successful Intuitive Customer podcast, which is rated in the top 2% of podcasts.


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