the development of online business of British Airways and gaining positive reputation through user generated content online comprise the core of the current marketing strategy of the company. In fact, the company is aware of the role of internet in the contemporary society and British Airways attempt to use the full potential of internet to improve its brand image, to attract customers and to increase their loyalty to the brand. In terms of this strategy, British Airways expands its online services and offers customers numerous benefits of booking online and ordering services provided by the company online. For instance, the company helps its customers to plan their trip using British Airway’s services and customers can count for discounts, if they use the company’s services regularly. In addition, the company can just offer its customers the plan, which allows them to save costs and to travel fast using British Airways services.
In addition, British Airways uses internet and modern telecommunication systems to create a positive brand image through promotion and formation of positive feedback from the part of customers. In this regard, the company pays a particular attention to the promotion of its services online and offering customers multiple services. At the same time, the promotional strategy of British Airways is complex. The company refused from one-sided promotion. Instead, the company provides its customers with the possibility to provide their feedback concerning services of the company. In such a way, the company attempts to create a positive brand image because the positive feedback from the part of its customers contributes to the formation of a positive feedback and the company can attract new customers.
In this regard, specialists (Peters, 2008) stress the impact of the user generated content and its impact on the brand image of companies. In fact, companies are vulnerable to the impact of the brand image formed by the user generated content because users share information on companies, which services they have used. Customers receive their feedback on services of companies and share their impressions. In such a way, other users can learn important information about the quality of services and the overall customer satisfaction of the target company’s service. In such a situation, such large companies as British Airways are particularly vulnerable to the impact of the user generated content because the company has millions of customers worldwide and virtually any customer can provide users of internet with feedback concerning services of the company. As a result, customers share information and their attitude to the company via internet using contemporary information technologies and telecommunication systems. This information is available to the large audience and, more important, the public opinion is vulnerable to a considerable impact of such information. In fact, users of internet are confident in the user generated content more than in routine promotional campaigns conducted by British Airways and other companies online. They are more confident in the user generated content because they believe that this information is generated by other people just like them but not by marketing experts who work for British Airways for instance. As a result, customers are more confident in the customer generated content than in promotional content generated by the company, for instance.
Therefore, the user generated content contributes to the formation of the brand reputation. As internet is available to the mass audience, British Airways pays a lot of attention to its brand image formed by the user generated content. At this point, the company cannot fully manipulate with the user generated content but still the company can influence this content. For instance, today, the company attempts to use the full potential of social networks. In this respect, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that social networks are extremely popular today and they influence consistently the public opinion and the attitude of customers to companies because customers communicate to each other using social networks. The information shared within social networks affects consistently the brand image because large social networks can involve millions of users. In such a situation, British Airways attempts to use social networks to form a positive brand image of the company. The company uses different strategies to form a positive brand image. In this regard, the company can generate the content to shape a positive brand image through entering social networks and providing positive feedback on the company’s services. However, this strategy is not always effective because it is difficult to influence a large number of people using such strategy as users are normally confident in those users, whom they know for a long time.
Therefore, if the company attempts to shape a positive brand image generating positive content concerning its services, users can identify the company’s representatives behind the user generating such information. Instead, users are more confident in content generated by those users they know for a long time. In addition, users can distinguish easily the authentic content generated by average users from the content generated by the company because the content generated by the company is standard. For instance, posts in social networks generated by the company will be similar to each other and contain the standard set of information (Viardot, 2001). As a rule, such content has the clear promotional goal that may be easily traced, even if the company attempts to disguise the promotional nature of such content.
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