How WestJet’s Experiential Marketing Connects Consumers Emotionally to Their Brand

WestJet has been known to create annual Christmas campaigns that generate a ton of traction on social media.

Heading into the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference in Squamish on April 14 and 15, Co-Founder Christian Thomson from Markwick Marketing sat down with WestJet’s Greg Plata to learn more about their marketing strategies.

Christian: What strategies does WestJet take when it comes to marketing?

Greg: Our brand is built on our people, and the values we associate with them: fun, friendly and caring. Everything we do, starts here and we look to layer in messaging specific to the objective(s) through the same tone and persona. We’ve been fortunate to be handed the keys to a great corporate culture, and a strong/engaging social presence so we look to leverage that whenever we can. Building a narrative around our people and the care in everything we do.

Christian: What advise do you have for brands generating and emotional connection to their consumers?

Greg: Stay true to who you are as a brand, and understand that it takes time. These things don’t happen over night, and there are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to creating content. There needs to be consistencies in your messaging and a platform to stand on, and taking ownership in your positioning in the market. Do one thing, and do it well – then look to build off of that.

Christian: When it comes to marketing, what have you found to be your most effective avenues?

Greg: Our people. They are our brand, they live, eat and breathe our brand. Many of our stories, or campaigns are inspired by WestJetters across our network. This year’s Christmas Miracle: 12k mini miracles was inspired by them. It was simply showcasing the work they do everyday and providing a platform for them to own it, be proud of it, and share it. The work they do in going above and beyond day in, and day out has become almost second nature. For one day we wanted to put those moments out there on a pedestal, and hopefully inspire others to do the same; get involved with our WestJetty-ness.

Christian: How important is experiential marketing to WestJet? And do you see this becoming more important as brands fight over consumer attention?

Greg:Over the past few years WestJet has really embraced experiential marketing, and harnessed the power it has to help amplify campaigns. We look to see this trend continue, as we create new opportunities to work with our partners. It is crucial to maximize your ROI, and a great strategic way is to engage already active partners in new and unique ways. A good example of this would be our work with Tourism Barbados and our #WestJetLove branded content piece or the #WestJetVegasUpgrade experience with our friends at the LVCVA.

Christian: What are some of your suggestions for the tourism/hospitality industry to improve their marketing strategies?

Greg: As mentioned above, partnerships = amplification. But not just for the sake of doing something. We were able to bring two brands into one room, and create a simple and effective message, which resonated and delivered on objectives for both sides of the table. A true win-win for both brands.

Tickets to CIMC are sold out, but those interested can still register for the waitlist at