Skift Take

Cathay Pacific's efforts to gain momentum for the #lifewelltraveled hashtag before aligning the brand more closely with it is a case study that other brands should watch in their efforts to introduce authentic, trustworthy campaigns.

Cathay Pacific recently launched a new social media campaign, but in a step of digital confidence it is putting the tone and direction of the campaign largely in the hands of influencers and customers.

The social campaign is centered around the hashtag #lifewelltraveled. There are three phases to the campaign that Cathay Pacific executives created to lend authenticity to the largely Instagram movement.

“Our strategy for the launch was to ensure the hashtag had authenticity and momentum before we started to align it with the global advertising campaign.  We see #lifewelltravelled as a state of mind that resonates with many different types of travellers, so it was important that it was co-defined by the audience, and not just OUR brand idea,” says Brandon Cheung, a managing partner at McCann Hong Kong.

In the first phase of the rollout, Cathay Pacific selected social media influencers that had already spoken positively of the brand. Fashion blogger Jessica Stein and photographer Tyson Wheatley were two of the Instagrammers involved and were told to simply share their version of what #lifewelltraveled meant to them.

At first, they shared images of a trip, which Cathay Pacific made possible, with the hashtag but no mention of the brand.

They then included branded posts that included the hashtag and mention of Cathay Pacific. Stein spoke about her start as a travel blogger and Wheatley thanked his followers.

“We wanted to be at the bookends of their trips and be associated with their moments of anticipation and reflection at the airport, lounges, and in-flight,” says Cheung.

The airline finally introduced a global ad campaign that pushes its definition of a “life well traveled.” The campaign hub includes user-generated content, information on Cathay Pacific’s people, products, and videos.

The airline is gauging the results of the campaign by measuring how many Instagram users adopt the hashtag #lifewelltraveled, by tracking the growth of Cathay Pacific’s Instagram following, and whether #lifewelltraveled posts from influencers outperform their standard engagement rates. It is also looking at whether this more a more cost-effective way to reach potential visitors versus other forms of paid media and whether it would generate sustainable brand advocacy.

Cathay Pacific wasn’t able to share all results as it is in the midst of the campaign however, its Instagram following has doubled in the past month and mentions of #lifewelltraveled have gone from 100 to more than 6,000 in that time.


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Tags: branding, cathay pacific, social media

Photo credit: Cathay Pacific promotes its new #lifewelltraveled campaign on Instagram. Cathay Pacific / Instagram

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