Assessment of British Airways Social Media Posts
Academic Subject: Social Media Marketing
Word Count: 3000
Submitted by: Student
The assignment was focused towards critically evaluating the social media posts which are posted by British Airways for engaging customers into their social media platforms. In this assignment, the analysis has facilitated the readers for assessing how the behavioural concepts provide deeper insights regarding the social media posts. The service which has been selected for the assignment is the British Airways. The British Airways is the largest international airline which is based in the UK at London Heathrow Airport. Moreover, the reason for selecting this company as the service because it has an active social media posts on their Facebook with a significant number of people following the page. Considering this factor, the company has been taken for assessing their social media posts with the application of behavioural concepts. The two concepts selected for this assignment which are regarded as an integral part of the consumer behaviour is the acculturation and cognitive dissonance. The acculturation is explained as the understanding and learning about the culture of the international country where the company have operations. On the other side, the cognitive dissonance is explained as the conflicting attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours which occur when someone holds two or more conflicting attitudes. The assignment also facilitated the readers with different posts on the social media platform of the British Airways which are focused towards attracting a number of customers to make their first choice as British Airways. However, there were some flaws identified from the perspective of their customers. In this case, it was recommended to establish a prompt feedback system for the customers so that their queries and complaints can be resolved on the immediate basis. It was also recommended to the company that they should adopt a strategy which should be focused towards understanding the cultural grounds of different countries so as to encourage customers for making BA as their first choice.
The present assignment is focused towards the evaluation of social media posts posted by the company for engaging customers into their social media platforms. In this assignment, the readers would be able to assess how the behavioural concepts provide deeper insights regarding the social media posts. The service which has been selected for the assignment is the British Airways. The BA is the largest airway in the UK considering their fleet size, and passengers carried. The main hub of the airline is located at London Heathrow Airport. The British Airways serves more than 1000 destinations to more than 150 countries (British Airways, 2017). The company is present on different social media platforms among which Facebook has been highly focused.
According to Luedicke (2011), the consumer behaviour is explained as the study of the individuals and the groups which is associated with the activities of purchases and disposal of products that includes mental, emotional, and behavioural responses that can precede or follow those certain activities. However, there are some external influences on the purchase decision which includes culture, sub-culture, reference groups, and social class. Moreover, culture satisfies the needs of the customers by offering order, guidance, and direction in different phases of the human problems and solving by providing the methods of satisfying personal, social, and physiological needs (Gupta, 2013). In addition, the culture of a society explains the insights for the specific occasions and the rituals to be followed within the country.
The first behavioural concept which is to be discussed here for the application is Acculturation which is explained in the next heading.
In the light of De Juan-Vigaray et al., (2013), the acculturation comprehends the understanding of a new or the foreign culture which comes into subsequent changes in the original culture patterns of different groups. Moreover, it is also explained as the process of psychological, cultural, and social change which stems from the blending between different cultures. In addition, the effects of the acculturation can be observed at the multiple levels in the host and native cultures.
Under the globalisation influences, people from all over the world are continuing to migrate on a large scale. The acculturation, however, deals with the process of psychological and cultural change of the immigrants as they interact and live with the host society (Luedicke, 2011). The behavioural concept of acculturation can be broken down into different segments which are as follows,
- Learning new language
The application of the acculturation theory is focused towards language and engagement which are regarded as the most important aspects of the acculturation process. However, the social theorist John Schumann highlighted that language is regarded as the largest factor in successful acculturation (Schiffman et al., 2013). For instance, a company having international operations in the United States and other countries have to understand the culture adopted in that country and communicating with the company. However, transitioning into the culture may require learning a new language and grasping the rituals and occasions followed in the country.
The immersion aspect of the acculturation is explained as learning the culture directly from the natives and lives with it (Solomon, Russell-Bennett, and Previte, 2012). However, the immersion aspect does not include the practices of language directly from the native speakers as it includes the customs, traditions, and acceptable behaviours for understanding the culture. Moreover, from the application perspective, the immersion phase of acculturation can found to be challenging and stressful because adopting or learning about another culture can found to be difficult from the organisational perspective. It can often result in hesitation, confusion, and time-consuming for the people.
The assimilation aspect of the acculturation concept involves accumulating information about new cultures which results in adaptation to match with the new culture (Joy and Li, 2012). Moreover, the generation of the new knowledge about the culture may include the learning the preferences of the customers. The companies often develop an in-depth knowledge about their customers for the purpose of devising effective strategies towards the product. In this context, the company often assimilates the knowledge about their international customers to introduce the product successfully into the market or launch social media campaigns.
The last aspect of the acculturation concept is the integration which includes participation in the social activities in order to represent the social environment as equal for all. In this context, one does not have to fully assimilate the information for integrating into a new culture (Schiffman et al., 2013). In addition to the above statement, for integrating into the society, it is necessary to participate in the social events, community events and engage into different groups and local clubs. Furthermore, the processes of integration and assimilation require time for covering the entire acculturation process from the organisational perspective.
The second behavioural concept to be discussed is the cognitive dissonance which can be applied in the context of British Airways to analyse their social media post. According to Sharma (2014), the cognitive dissonance is explained as the conflicting attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours which occurs when someone holds two or more conflicting attitudes and beliefs about the product and service. The cognitive dissonance is likely to occur after making purchases by the consumer. In addition, the products and services which involve a high level of commitment mainly contain a greater risk for the dissonance. In a highly competitive market, the consumers mostly have two or more than two choices in terms of products and services (Oliver, 2014). However, the potential customers may focus on the pros and cons of each choice available for the products.
The cognitive dissonance in this context holds the opinion that the customer prefers the products which are attractive to them in terms of its attributes. In addition, the high level of cognitive dissonance can result in switching behaviour of the customers (Kim, 2011). The concept also proposes that the people seek psychological consistency between their existential reality and personal expectations of life. It is also explained as the prediction which is applicable to the product satisfaction that is increased when the amount of effort placed on the product is increased. The maximum compliance of the product can reduce the cognitive dissonance of the customers (Shahin Sharifi and Rahim Esfidani, 2014). The cognitive dissonance is applied for understanding the consumer behaviour towards the particular product and also focuses towards improving perceived value and trust of the consumers.
This is related to the fact how consumers perceive a brand and process the information facing either a positive or negative word of mouth which is incongruent with the existing beliefs (Hasan and Nasreen, 2012). However, the cognitive dissonance can be eliminated or alleviated by the reduction in the significance of cognitions which are in conflict by resolving the issues of the customers. This can be applied by accepting the new beliefs and opinion which can reduce the conflicts. According to George and Yaoyuneyong (2010), there are two key factors which are associated with influencing cognitive dissonance that involves the number of conflicting values and beliefs. In other words, the people will feel more anxiety and tension when there are a number of dissonant beliefs which are highly important for the customers. The cognitive dissonance can enable the customers to rationalise their decisions which can be achieved through an in-depth research carried out on the customer preferences. In this context, the customers’ gathers information which can reaffirm their decisions.
British Airways is present on different social media platforms which include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest and Youtube. However, the company has made commendable efforts to engage customers in their social media platforms and increase the traffic to the website. According to Gupta (2013), a consistent and solid presence on Facebook and other social media pages can become a great part of success for the organisation. Moreover, a strong social media strategy of the company can be considered as a strong competitive advantage as it is regarded as a strong threat to other companies. Upon reviewing the Facebook page of British Airways, one of the posts found in which the social media manager of the company posted a picture on Facebook depicting the Indian culture of Diwali. The Diwali is a Hindu culture festival which is celebrated every year before the winter season and found to be the popular culture of the Hindu culture. This signifies that there is a victory over the light of darkness, knowledge over ignorance, hope over misery and good over evil. However, the culture of Diwali has celebrated auspiciously in India as a part of Hindu tradition and culture.
In the light of Mandal, Prakash, and Bassin (2012), the India is the second largest profitable market for the British Airways after North America within the context of traffic and number of seats. The market has been developed rapidly within India which is the reason that it is considered as the second largest market of British Airways. The screenshot of the post found on the Facebook page of British Airways is as follows,
The picture clearly depicts the in-depth understanding of another culture which belongs to Indian festive that engages people with the company in a positive manner. In the comment section, it can be observed that the first comment made by Matt Twilley is depicting how he has enjoyed the experience to Mumbai from the airline. Moreover, other comments belonging to people from different culture has also wished “Happy Diwali” to the Hindus which clearly explain that how this social media post have not only engaged Hindu community but also people from other sects and religion. In this context, the four steps of acculturation are thoroughly applied by the social media experts in British Airways. By posting this picture, they first intend to understand and learn the main theme and language necessary for promoting the holy event to others. However, from the immersion perspective, it can be comprehended that the company ought to learn about the Diwali festival and found correct match of the picture in which a hand embraced in Henna (Ritual of Indian culture) is holding an oil lamp that depicts the main crux of Diwali in Indian culture.
The next social media posts by the British Airways are about the national holiday which is celebrated in US, Canada and different Caribbean Islands. The main theme of this national holiday is focused on giving thanks as the blessing of the harvest and also for the preceding year. It is celebrated in the month of October in Canada and US. It is considered the traditional and cultural event which is celebrated as the secular holiday by the people. The acculturation behavioural concept can be applied in this scenario as the people may find it positive that different cultures are promoted through the company which signifies how British Airways cares for their customers all over the world. In addition to the above statement, the Thanksgiving is not celebrated in the UK but people do respect the culture and traditions followed in different parts of the countries which is the reason that people have positively focused on the aspect on Thanksgiving.
The next social media post is about in which they have mentioned that the company have raised over £17 million for the Comic Relief. The video presents some highlights of how Mohammed has started his journey towards becoming a pilot to which they named as “Flying Start”. In this context, the last aspect of acculturation can be applied to the social media post as the company is engaged in the social event which is focused on the betterment of the society. The CSR initiative taken by the company for giving a better lifestyle to Mohammed is commendable which should also be adopted by other companies for adapting to the culture.
The behavioural concept of the cognitive dissonance can also be applicable to some of the social media posts of the British Airways.
The social media post presented above explains that Nancy Fares complained about their Egypt office as there was no answer for two days. However, the British Airways get back to her through their Facebook page by apologising about the experience she had with the company. They further assured her that they will resolve her issue at their earliest. According to George and Yaoyuneyong (2010), in the highly competitive business environment, marketers are making effort for not acquiring new customer base only but also have a strong focus towards retaining the existing customers by providing them maximum value and customer satisfaction in exchange of their expectations. From the post, it can be observed that the customer is dissatisfied with the services of British Airways because she has passed on her decision and evaluation. Being aware of the situation, the conflicting beliefs can seriously impact the decision-making process of the customers. She can spread a negative word of mouth about the company which can make the company lose their precious customers. In this situation, the company is required to improve their customer service to improve their ability for making the customer satisfaction better and help them in making an accurate choice with respect to the services being offered by the company.
The second post is also of similar nature in which the customer is asking about their complaints department email address on 20th November. To which another customer replied that it cannot be found anywhere on their website that can be regarded as the drawback of the website or the company as a whole. The cognitive dissonance, in this case, will be increased because the query was posted on 20th November and the social media expert of the company replied on 24th November. The response given to the customer was quite slow which can make the customer more disgruntle towards the services offered by the organisation. In the light of Hasan and Nasreen (2012), it was proposed by the author that dissonance has always resulted from the threats of discrepancies in the one’s conception and the actual behaviour. This also relied on establishing the veracity of the global self-concept. This impression is applied to the situation identified in the social media posts of the company.
The next social media post is focused towards another issue which can raise the cognitive dissonance of the customers. The customer made a pre-booking with the credit card; however, it was the desire of the customer to shift it to another account. However, the company responded after a week till then the cognitive dissonance of the customer may have increased. The increase in the dissonance level can significantly impact the consumer behaviour. The inconsistency between the two cognitions can create an aversive state for the consumers towards the increasing demotivation for not making purchase choices of flights by British Airways.
The next social media post by British Airways is focused towards spending a vacation on their favourite destinations in which they have asked the people about their perfect beach holiday destination for this year. In this context, the people have responded by providing their valuable suggestions in which they have mentioned their destinations such as Thailand, Boracay, Riveria Maya, and Bangkok. This increases the engagement of customers through their posts and the link attached to the post redirect to the travel guides of British Airways. At this stage, the customers will establish a state in which they will set a standard performance of the company that depends on the performance delivered to the customers. If the performance delivered to the customers is below their expectations then the cognitive dissonance will be higher, however, if the performance and services delivered to the customers match the standard performance then the cognitive dissonance will be lower.
Based on the analysis carried out above, following recommendations are proposed to British Airways for improving their social media posts for the purpose of enhancing the customer behaviour towards the organisation,
- The company should focus on prompt responses to the customer complaints because the delay in replying to the customers can increase their cognitive dissonance which is not beneficial for the company. This can lead to negative word of mouth of the organisation which will be spread by disgruntled customers from the organisation. In addition, the prompt responses and feedback given to the customers will result in the positive reputation of the brand and will attract the customers in a positive manner which will be beneficial for the credibility and profitability of the company.
- The social media platforms are the key to enhance the experience of the customers, therefore, the company should get benefitted by it through monitoring social media with the tools that can manage the brand online and can assist the business in growth and development. The positive reviews and understanding of customers’ complaints can influence the behaviour of the customer. In this context, the British Airways operating in different countries should further understand the cultural grounds of those countries so as to encourage customers for making BA as their first choice.
The present assignment was aimed towards assessing the social media post of the British Airways by means of behavioural concepts. The two concepts selected for the consumer behaviour are the acculturation and cognitive dissonance. The acculturation is associated with learning the culture of the host country where the company have operations. On the contrary, the cognitive dissonance is explained as the conflicting attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours which occur when someone holds two or more conflicting attitudes. From the analysis, it was revealed that most of the customers are dissatisfied with their services to which they should consider to improve the performance by deriving social media strategies.
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