Why Branding is as Important as Ever in the Airline Industry
Are you ready for a bold claim?
OK, here we go: “Airlines are in a battle for market share, and in some cases, survival”. Although hyperbolic, DDB’s paper, published in 2009, still makes a relevant point – in an ever-populating marketplace, how can you stand out?
We think that branding is an important element of getting an airline’s voice heard. It’s almost a given, but this makes it all the more important to focus on the best ways to connect with consumers before, during, and after their flights.
At SPIRIANT we see it as important as ever that through branding, we can create emotional connections, brand loyalty, and repeat business using a series of simple elements. I spoke with our Director of Design Daniel Knies to get his thoughts on the subject.
Branding builds communities
It’s a process that begins before the end consumer even boards the plane. From word of mouth reputation to above the line advertising, airlines are trying to grab attention from different directions. Inside the airports, as consumers board, they are greeted by check-in counters, lounges and billboards – each representing a moment to connect and build a community.
It’s not enough to just have equipment items branded with the airline name to further add to a sense of service leading to the airline’s name to be recognizable, associated with a trusted experience, and ultimately stored in the passenger’s memory. All parts must play together and sometimes even using other brands in collaboration with yours, can help to do the trick.
A sum of many parts
SPIRIANT translates this community building by seeing an airline brand as the sum of the experiences that passengers have when they fly with that carrier. Every product – and every design detail of every product – makes a difference. And consistency is key.
We think about each touch-point a consumer will have with a brand, to create an experience, the brand values should be reflected in both the look and the feel of the product.
SPIRIANT takes the brand image and reflects it in the design of the product (not just through the name stamp!). An airline wants their customers to have a sense of self-identification and recognition in the products – when a premium customer eats off a porcelain plate, they should instantly experience the meal as an important moment, not a throwaway experience.
When we design tailored solutions for airlines, we always dig deep – to make sure we really understand the airline’s brand values, philosophy and design style.
It isn’t only the airline’s brand that adds to creating consumer loyalty. In the next part of the series we’ll talk to Brand Manager Karen Rohweder-Lenkeit to look at how partnering with other brands with the right fit can increase further brand orientation by emphasizing either a value an airline already has or add a value that might be missing.