Boeing’s “From Inspiration to Innovation” campaign tells the stories of Boeing engineers and technologists who develop innovative solutions that literally change the world through a series of short videos. United by the drive to do something important--to solve the next big problem, to develop something that had previously been considered impossible--these engineers shared their passion for building something better. The “Inspiration to Innovation” campaign is a five year initiative that sets out to share these stories of Boeing engineers through videos and other supporting materials leading up to Boeing’s centennial in 2016. Each month a new video rolls out showcasing their game-changing innovations and will continue to roll out once a month. Ultimately, this collection of stories is designed to reach all Boeing's key stakeholders including investors, customers, suppliers & partners, influencers and current & prospective employees to share with them these stories and create advocacy for the brand leading up to the centennial. Designed as a long-term initiative, the goal of the first year of the “Inspiration to Innovation” campaign was to test and learn. Various strategies were tested from a web, digital, and story-telling perspective.
The result of this first year provided significant learnings of what worked and what didn’t, allowing for very real benchmarks to be established. In year 2, goals were established to triple the amount of video views, site visits, and engagement hours generated for the ‘Inspiration to Innovation’ campaign. A challenge was thrown into the mix as well with reduced budgets and the delayed launch of an overarching advertising campaign. Therefore, the insights gained from the campaign’s first year were increasingly important to establish an even more efficient digital strategy. In year 1, the strategies employed relied heavily on publisher direct websites such as slate.com and forbes.com with high reach/high profile custom digital solutions. Given the increased goals and decreased budget, Boeing looked at opportunities designed to deliver a more efficient buy against the core metric goals. As they learned through the first year, native advertising and social properties delivered best against these new objectives. The campaign uses the company's owned media channels, including Boeing.com/stories microsite, a custom iPad app and the Boeing YouTube channel, as the primary hubs for the videos, posting to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to drive viewership and engagement. However, given the need to triple their results with the reduced budget, paid media had to be looked at in a different way. Facebook was a huge driver of video views in the first year, delivering more than 50% of total video views. Noticing that a large portion of the Boeing Facebook fan base interest came from international markets, they expanded their paid support internationally as well. Now, this tactic provides many video launches with 90+% of their video views outside the US. “Quartz” is another tactic employed late in 2012. “Quartz” is a digitally native news outlet launched by the Atlantic Media Group providing a 24/7 digital guide to the new global economy.
This digital-only publication is designed to serve business professionals who travel the world, are focused on international markets, and value critical thinking Quartz is optimized for access on tablets and mobile devices, and is also easily accessible on computers. Boeing was a founding partner of this property. In year 2, the strategy shifted towards more native advertising due to the target willing to engage with content on their own rather than a typical banner unit on a website. This type of advertising followed the consumer throughout the Internet and let them click on it instead of being on a publisher direct website. These media partners included Outbrain, Sharethrough, Kontera and Rocketfuel and have all helped this campaign continue to reach the metrics for year 2. In addition to the updated strategies from the media angle, the films themselves were significantly evolved as well to move away from a ‘corporate video’ and more towards an innovative solution that means something to the target market. Boeing has updated the framework of the story to be focused around the question: “Why should I care”. This allows them to hone in on the single most important aspect of the innovation they are speaking about, and turn it into a story most relevant to the target audience. They have also evolved the general creative look & feel of the films to be more youthful and engaging. They have evolved the music, graphical treatment, storyline and removed the voiceover so only the Boeing engineer is telling their story. These tactics have proven successful. In a recent research, these videos tested very high in “likeability” & “likelihood to take action” well above the industry standard. Boeing as a company is getting more and more involved in content marketing. The tactics laid out above in relation to generating interesting & engaging content, and distributing it in the most cost-efficient, targeted way, could be employed across the entire enterprise. Through some of the learnings seen on Facebook alone, Boeing found that international markets are interested in the content they are distributing. Theoretically, because the interest level in those international markets is high, they can presume that similar media & content marketing tactics will yield similar, if not greater, results in those markets as well.
The core PESO model of content distribution can be internationally as well. The acronym sums up the types of available channels as Paid (advertising, sponsorship), Earned (third party media placements), Shared (placements on partner-owned channels) and Owned (those channels that are owned and controlled by Boeing). In year 1, Boeing set out for 1.0M video views, 1.0M site visits and 100K engagement hours. With these numbers in mind, the campaign has continued to test, evolve and optimize, To date they have over 2.5 million video views, 257,000+ hours of time spent viewing content and more than 1.9 million microsite visits. In true, test and evolve fashion, the Innovation Video paid media cost per view has decreased by 67% (from $0.89 to $0.28) from January 2013 to June 2013. Social activity, primarily though Twitter and Facebook, is strong with news of each video reaching hundreds of thousands of aviation enthusiasts. Each month, hundreds of "shares" and "re-tweets" extend the reach to an even broader audience. To date, Boeing has had over 40,000 total "shares", 100,000+ new fans to the Boeing Facebook pages, which include Boeing Stores and Boeing Careers and over 3,000 new Twitter followers. They have seen great results come in from Boeing’s International Facebook audience and sometimes see 90%+ of the views come from outside the US. In 2013, they have had over 24K shares on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and 49% of Boeing’s total video views have come from non-paid advertising such as sharing through Boeing employees and Facebook friends. Perhaps most important, job-seekers have submitted over 71,000 qualified applications for careers with Boeing since the launch of this campaign. Stemming from over 2.6 million clicks by potential applicants, the campaign has ultimately impacted over 870 new hires as a result of 4,400 interviews - a testament to the relevancy and power of a well-crafted campaign at a time when highly specialized skills are in high demand throughout the industry. In a recent research study on Boeing’s innovation videos, the videos all scored well above the industry standards with one video reaching 99% likeability. The intent of this campaign is to showcase that Boeing people do amazing things and are solving the world’s hardest problems. Through these metrics it is proof that this campaign is doing what it set out to do.