NEW YORK: JetBlue, the air carrier, has enhanced its understanding of how to build equity with existing customers and attract non-customers thanks to a research programme that deeply links consumer insights to its creative.

Elizabeth Windram, JetBlue's Director/Brand Marketing & Advertising, discussed this subject at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) 2017 Annual Conference.

More specifically, she outlined a multi-stage study conducted with Forethought, the research firm, that used qualitative and quantitative techniques to gain a clear picture of the emotions linked to purchase decisions, its category and brand.

"[We want] to think ahead about how we can infuse some rigour and some science into making people feel the way about JetBlue … that we need them to [feel] in order to grow and meet our big vision," said Windram. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: JetBlue uses insights to find the missing flier.)

"We've been … working with Forethought to figure out how the value message and the product we offer are paired with an emotional feeling about our brand – and how we can work with our [agency] partners at MullenLowe to infuse this science into our creative."

One finding from the research showed a gap existed between customer and non-customer perceptions in terms of how differentiated the JetBlue experience was – a learning that can help finesse its messaging to each group.

"People … who have experienced JetBlue understand why we're different. But folks who haven't had the privilege of flying JetBlue perceive us as undifferentiated," Windram said.

"So we know exactly what to say and who to say it to. We have to target non-customers to say, actually, [with] a little bit of tough love: 'There's another way to fly. Why don't you try JetBlue?'"

A related insight reaffirmed the fact that dimensions such as value and quality must be viewed in a truly holistic way, rather than simply through the lens of rational appeals premised on price.

"In the airline business, it is extremely easy for my brand to be reduced to a product, just a price, and a route at a particular time. And if I live there, I'm never going to win. And we also know that isn't really why people choose what they choose," she said.

"We all know this intuitively, but it's really good to keep that in mind. And this is really what the Forethought research has helped us understand."

Data sourced from Warc