Friday, September 30, 2011

British Airways intends to invest USD $5 Billion over the next 5 years

Frank van der Post, British Airways' managing director, brands and customer experience, says that being a Dutchman, he's less embarrassed about "talking about ourselves", than is deemed correct by English standards. After years of internal and external problems, Mr Van Der Post, who joined just 8 months ago, also believes that it is finally time for the airline to make a splash about its branding and identity - for the first time in 10 years, after resolving a debilitating 18 months of staff strikes and union problems earlier this year.

The airline intends to invest USD 5 Billion over the next 5 years in upgrading cabins, customer services, food and lounges over the next 5 years, as well as expected additions to the fleet of Boeing's Dreamliner's and Airbus A380. British Airways is now embarking on a global branding and advertising blitz, with the new-old tag line - To fly. To serve. "It is not a new one, it is sewed in our staff uniforms, and we are now in the process of painting it back on our aircraft," Mr Van Der Post said. It's earlier tagline, the world's favorite airline, has not been in use since 1999.

BA, which merged with Iberian and tied up with American Airlines to form the holding company IAG, now headed by former BA CEO Willie Walsh, has since 9/11 lurched from one crisis to another. The return to roots mood in the airline was kicked off with with a TV commercial that features BA staff and crew - underlining the new bonhomie between its staff and management -- and for the first time in decades, it also highlights airlines colonial and historical heritage from its beginnings as Imperial Airlines.

"The strategy for India will be different," says Paul Rogers, marketing manager Asia Pacific and Middle East. "India is probably our most important market in this region, but here we're more of a challenger brand to the already established players. So the message will be a lot more practical." In India, where the new campaign created by ad agency BBH in Singapore kicks off in early October, the idea is to stress on the tangible benefits offered, stressing on prices. "People have a perception we're more expensive, and actually we're not," he says. He calls the strategy a "price-wrapped in brand" approach.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com

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