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KLM UK’s First Chinese Marketing Campaign

With the introduction of new flight routes to China, KLM Airlines wanted to reach a previously untapped audience. Knowing that Chinese speakers are the world’s most active social media users, KLM knew they needed to speak fluently to this group to boost online buzz.

KLM Airlines successfully used Facebook and Weibo—one of the most popular websites in China—to advertise their UK-to-China flight routes. The airline ran innovative Chinese language campaigns that were extremely effective in targeting over 1.5 million Chinese speakers in the UK.

For the first time, KLM UK was able to reach an undiscovered demographic. Sheng Li Digital formulated and implemented creative advertising campaigns, social media contesting, and performed influencer outreach specific to this audience. The Chinese customer uses social media differently than the Western user, in that the Chinese user talks about travel more frequently and shares their experiences with their social networks more.

Campaign Objectives

  • Promote awareness and knowledge of KLM’s flight routes to the UK-based Chinese-speaking population.
  • Increase engagement with KLM’s social media content on Weibo and Facebook.
  • Drive traffic to a Chinese landing page that offers UK-to-China specific route information.

With these goals in mind, Sheng Li Digital created uniquely curated content on each of KLM UK’s social channels for fans and influencer

Building a community of empowered consumers and brand advocates

Sheng Li Digital leveraged influencers, as well as paid advertising opportunities on Weibo and Facebook, to increase 1) reach of KLM’s messaging and 2) engagement with target audiences on relevant social media platforms.

Sheng Li developed promoted posts based on eight distinct creative concepts tying back to the overall campaign theme. The concepts positioned KLM as a trustworthy and established brand, introduced the flight crew to showcase the brand’s personality, and leveraged promotions for Christmas, Chinese New Year, and Singles’ Day, China’s alternative Valentine’s Day that has become the world’s biggest eCommerce holiday rivaling ‘Black Friday’ sales.

One of the highlights of the campaign was the ‘Winter Break Contest’, which asked Weibo users why they wanted to fly home for the holidays. Hundreds of fans shared personal, heartfelt stories on Weibo, showing how strongly the contest resonated with them. The contest was shared 475 times – this is incredible engagement for an international brand engaging on a Chinese-specific social media platform.

Throughout the campaign, Sheng Li connected KLM with influential content creators on Weibo to create compelling and authentic earned media. Popular Chinese influencers created Weibo posts sharing flight experiences from Heathrow to Shanghai. With our help, KLM used social media effectively to support communities of brand advocates. 

An Authentic Experience of Home

Sheng Li Digital helped KLM promote flight routes while successfully gaining stories that populated their social media presence with authenticity. Advanced advertising techniques supported brand awareness with detailed targeting—engagement levels were best-in-class, and the response proved that Chinese users were eager to join the conversation.

Through emphasizing KLM’s cultural recognition and ties between the UK and China, we encouraged the socially-active Chinese demographic to collaborate with their own stories—a conversation that took place in the perfectly fluent language of home.

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