Consistency, Not Uniformity: Humanizing the Boeing Brand with Talkwalker
“When you hone in on needs and expectations, that’s how you stay relevant.” — Georgina Goode, Vice President (Channel & Content Marketing), Boeing
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“Our posture needed to change because the world had changed.”
This was the take that Boeing’s Vice President for Global Channel & Content Marketing Georgina Goode took to heart when shifting the company’s communications with the onset of COVID-19. The airline industry has been among the hardest hit as billions of people remain grounded at home. But for Goode, the focus was less about the bottom line and more about the people and relationships impacted by this shift. In conversation with her longtime colleague, Talkwalker CEO for the Americas Todd Grossman, Goode elaborated on the “relevant, relatable, and human” stance that Boeing has maintained, even as a company often considered B2B by category.
Here are the primary insights and takeaways:
- Be consistent, not uniform with your messaging
- Don’t be something you’re not
- When adapting, especially during a time of crisis, be king to others and yourself
Forget How We “Should Show Up”
In truth, Goode bristles at the classification of B2B, instead preferring to focus on what groups need, not how the brand should show up in their digital communications. “Let’s not try to be something that we’re not,” she shared as her guiding philosophy on crafting communications that can meet the moment we’re in. “When you hone in on needs and expectations, that’s how you stay relevant.”
Highlights of how Boeing has met those needs and expectations include honoring VE Day earlier in the months by sharing archival footage of Boeing aircraft from the 1940s, sharing interactive footage of the 777X aircraft ahead of its introduction to the fleet in 2021, and even creating virtual field trips for those in need of a digital escape for the little ones at home. “For a company that’s 104 years old, we don’t struggle for content,” she shared. And that wide breadth of content has afforded flexibility in how they show up in this moment.
“Consistent, Not Uniform,” and More Guiding Principles
When asked how to manage the many stakeholders that Boeing has as a brand, Goode shared six guiding principles that were helping teams all over the world weather this storm with a sense of stability that other areas of life simply aren’t providing. A key one: “consistent, not uniform.” Using common data processes, technology, and tools are ensuring that no matter whether communications are aimed inward toward other parts of the company, or externally to shareholders and stakeholders, that the message is coming from a common place.
“We have diverse audiences and diverse needs, but we set teams up around stakeholder groups and adapt based on what they need or expect.” This includes how social is used to communicate to Boeing employees; recognizing that the needs of a team in South Carolina or Chicago might differ sharply from those in Arlington in Washington State. And while that messaging is in some ways the same, Goode sees it as “a single narrative, deployed differently based on what people need and how people need to hear it.”
Be Kind. Including To Yourself
Given how technical the nature of Boeing’s work is, it might be surprising to hear the level of humanity Goode is committed to bringing to her work. When asked about how her teams are adapting to these fast-evolving and often stressful circumstances, she shared a list of axioms she found online, including the crucial “this team’s success will not be judged the same way it was when things were normal.” Even as the team evolves its work to meet the current moment, it is not lost on Goode the toll that such evolution might be having on her team members.
“Relationships are at the core of how we build content,” she shared, extending that idea not just to the content being created, but also to the people creating that content. She’s committed to connectivity with her team, and to the idea that those check-ins are about more than just business. The kindness that she’s committed to infusing into her work, is a kindness that she extends to her team – and asked the session attendees to extend to themselves. “We’re more connected now than ever before, but it can still feel lonely,” she admitted as she encouraged viewers to mix in a few memes with their still-important (but not the most important) memos that are flying around our inboxes at record speed.
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