Monday, October 12, 2009

American Airlines to launch African-American social network

DALLAS: This week, American Airlines (AA) announced plans to launch BlackAtlas.com, a social network targeting African-Americans travelers, as part of a larger effort to increase brand loyalty within multicultural segments. The company hired Burrell Communications 18 months ago to help develop a strategy for the African American segment.

Stacey Frantz, strategy lead for African-American communications, explained that focus groups independent of customers and employees influenced the idea for a largely unbranded network.

"The AA research showed us that [heavy branding] would overshadow the social media outlet,” said Frantz. “They're influenced by word-of-mouth from peers more than any other channel.”

The site will feature content related to black culture through discussion boards, blogs, videos, images, travel stories, tips, and contributions from author and filmmaker Nelson George. Some of the content will link to related fare information from AA.

George was expected to speak about the initiative at a Blogalicious event in Atlanta, October 9-11. AA is also planning an official launch event in New York on October 14.

In addition to Burrell, AA is working with Lagrant Communications, and its AOR Weber Shandwick, on media relations targeting travel and multicultural blogs and general interest publications. Promotional platforms also include Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

AA will also promote the site through a traditional ad campaign

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