Welcome to our Monday Briefing for the week beginning 5 November 2018, summarising the main developments in air travel over the past week.
IAG’s Capital Markets Day
Whilst there were no surprises at the individual airline announcements, looking back a couple of days on there were a couple of interesting changes.
These presentations are usually dense on hard financial information and IAG’s uncompromising mantra of rational, disciplined, investment by a “brand agnostic” parent.
This year, it was noteworthy that IAG spent a lot of time discussing the relative brand positioning of its airlines.
IAG was quite candid that there were some areas its brands, such as BA, fall behind others in terms of perception. In the eyes of passengers, perception is of course reality.
Two of these airlines were easyJet and Emirates. To illustrate the the point, the day afterwards Emirates debuted the first of two new TV ad spots on UK television under the brand promise “Fly Better”. The first ad shows a passenger boarding an Emirates aircraft and being taken on a fantastical journey as cabin crew morph into different style dancers to demonstrate the breadth of its in-flight entertainment.
What Emirates does extremely well is hammering home its points of differentiation, such as its advanced in-flight entertainment systems. And selling a positive vision of the future “Hello Tomorrow”. The huge amount of attention given to Qantas’ launch of direct flights from London to Perth shows the power of the perception of progress. The suggestion is also that being that by flying Emirates you are part of something. As does easyJet with “Generation easyJet”.
It has been more than five years since BA ran a major brand-led marketing campaign. The last being “To Fly. To Serve. Today. Tomorrow”.
With BA’s centenary next year, there is clearly going to be a huge marketing push. Irrespective of budget and technical prowess, for any marketing campaign to be successful there has to be an underlying truth that customers can buy in to.
It has be said that BA’s preparation for its centenary feels a bit like the 2012 London Olympics. Until it happens you’ve no idea whether it will be an absolute triumph or beset by unforeseen problems.
IAG can claim to have delivered on the promises of its initial formation, namely cost and revenue synergies. Many legacy structural issues such as BA’s pension deficit have also been addressed. Whilst IAG does monitor customer Net Promoter Scores across all its airlines, there is no central group marketing / brand development function. Arguably, this should be the next stage of IAG’s evolution.
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