AIRPORT MANAGEMENT

A Stepwise Guide to Re-position your Airline Brand amid the Pandemic

Anusree Bhattacharya | September 13, 2021

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Hit by the impact of the COVID-19 slump, airline businesses are enduring a major crisis no matter how recognized they were before. The crisis has pushed airline businesses to re-look at how to manage and operate their operations.  It even includes re-positioning in the airline industry’s competitive market landscape.

In a time like this, you need to delve deep when you update your airline brand positioning strategy. Your marketing team will have to be versatile and adapt to a new set of planning strategies. They should be mindful of aspects to reduce risks and overcome challenges that the pandemic caused. It’s time to rise again through hindrances that affected your airline brand image to go down. Let’s throw some light on why brand positioning in marketing has become necessary now.

Importance of Re-positioning of an Airline Brand

Brand positioning in marketing is receiving snowballing attention in airline marketing today. Adopting versatile branding concepts creates optimism to provide value to products and services. And such concepts help products and services to perform well on various distribution channels.

The values play an active role in brand positioning and so in re-positioning. Since customers’ activities have transformed in the new era of digitalization, deciding afresh on values will help you position your brand for the future. The branding must include a proper blend of physical and emotional values to make the brand both powerful and meaningful.

When faced with challenges, it’s natural for even large airline businesses to become unrecognizable by customers. Thus, showcasing your brand as unique as possible becomes hard-hitting to differentiate from the competition. In that case, the idea of re-positioning requires consistent branding strategies. The strategies can help in many ways. A few of them are maintaining customer loyalty, encourage awareness, and showing customers your presence in the market.

Therefore, to build deeper relationships with customers by re-positioning your airline brand, there are some important steps to follow. The stepwise guide will help in creating a competent brand positioning framework development. But remember, the framework should be defendable for growth.

6 Steps to Follow: Re-position your Airline Brand

Determine your Values

Start by considering the values that will represent your airline business brand. By finding the values, it will make you different from the rest of the competitors. Especially in a case where you are going for product marketing or service as an ordinary in the market or marketing it extraordinarily.

Your aim gives you essential insight into what and how to go with the brand again in the new normal. Thus, try to analyze and research aspects of your competitors as well.

We fight every day to stand out. We know our customers like to sound and feel authentic about brands. So, we believe that instead of building a complex picture of our airline brand (where no one will be able to understand), we prefer humanization.

- Kevin Krone, the Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Southwest Airlines.

In realizing this aspect, your marketing team can innovate by creating campaigns to improve brand image.

Identify the Competitors Surrounding and Research

After recognizing the brand values, it’s requisite to analyze competitors serving in the market as you. You can do it by performing competitor analysis. The analysis will help to decide how better you can do in creating your brand positioning strategy.

To start with it, there are different methods for determining your competition. They are:

Do a thorough competitor research

You can take guidance from your sales team to study what and how competitors develop their distinctive ideas with sales. Then, identify them through in-depth market research on their tactics of positioning their brand. To conduct it, include the following points into your research:
  • What are the services or products competitors do offer?
  • What are the brand positioning strategies they are using to ensure success?
  • What is the current position of their brand in the market?
It will be easy for you to set your aim to re-position your airline brand by putting these considerations forefront.

Take Feedbacks from customers
Connect with your existing and potential customers. Try to know what services or products they are considering according to the present scenario.

Use the power of social media

Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Quora, Facebook, and other online forums offer interaction with consumers. You can ask questions about products and services. Use these forums to discover competitors in your role.

Find your Brand’s Uniqueness

Building a unique brand image (by keeping a similar aim as before) will make you different from the competitors in the airline industry.

We are the same exact airline that we were before. We are not walking away from our DNA.

- Kevin Krone

Your well-researched step on competitors will help to learn about branding patterns in the new normal. In addition, by looking at their weaknesses and strengths, you might get a chance to know your strength. This aspect will make your brand unique.

Develop a Re-positioning Statement

Once you know your customers' thoughts, you need to develop a statement that portrays your message. If you aim to convey that your business offers the best services or products in the market during the current economic slump, then it’s imperative to keep a razor-sharp focus on a brand positioning strategy.

For example, you can include your ROI data. Use it as a statement in online paid ads, social media platforms, campaigns, emails, and other marketing methods. By doing this, you will be able to grab your existing and potential customers’ attention. And see how potential ones become loyal towards your business in no time.

There’s no definite way to re-position your existing airline brand in times of the pandemic. But there are some crucial ways to do it. The ways are customizing efforts enable significant chances to offer quality services and products to reach customers.

Test your Re-positioning Statement—if it works!

Once your re-positioning statement is formed, it’s time to test it. Try to do experiments with the help of feedback collection from customers. The feedbacks should cover if they are conveyed with the right message. Therefore, in this way, you can know whether your brand achieved its goal or not.

As you invest effort and time into re-positioning your airline brand, it’s helpful to keep in mind the type of consumers, demographic segmentation, and verticals. These verticals provide a deep insight that content and its aim remain advantageous to your brand.

Develop your Brand’s Reference Frame

Your brand’s reference will be an accurate way for customers to perceive it in the right way. Having a genuine brand positioning framework today is vital for re-positioning. And with the help of an on-point brand development strategy, you can plan it extraordinarily. Once you have created the frame of your brand, it is advisable to keep a focus on reaching achievable goals.

Successful Re-positioning Efforts Drives Growth

As you are aware that a strong branding of an airline business makes all the difference when you enter the market, similarly, re-positioning also makes a difference when you have to outshine again amid challenges. So, having a definite approach will ensure success for your brand and drive growth amid the ongoing pandemic challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can airline businesses improve their brand image?

An airline business runs with a multitude of functionalities. Every function plays a responsible role in improving the brand image. Thus, some crucial ways are discussed below:
  • Create the right message which should be synonymous with brand value or perspective
  • Stay in contact with customers through various marketing ways
  • Keep track of strategies and implementation
  • Turn data into intelligence
  • Keep an eagle eye on competitors and their activities
  • Keep employees in the loop

What are the best branding strategies for airline businesses?

The best branding strategies for airline businesses are as follows:
  • Cost control strategies
  • Social media campaigns
  • Creative advertisement
  • Loyalty programs
  • Use power of influencers

Spotlight

Alba Star Airlines

Alba Star is a private Spanish airline based in Palma de Mallorca, which was founded in November 2009 by Italian and British entrepreneurs from the tourism and transport sectors, to provide chartered air transport from Spanish and Italian airports to the most popular holiday destinations in the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Red Sea and to the pilgrimage sites, in cooperation with the main Italian, Spanish and European Tour Operators.

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They are: Capturing difficult footage Enabling detailed monitoring Spotting errors and implementing an error-free workflow Assimilating huge data records { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How can drones be used efficiently in the supply chain?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Drones in the supply chain can be used efficiently to deliver at a low rate to rural areas. Also, it can eliminate the need for road transportation to save time, be more secure and faster." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How will drones impact the supply chain?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Drones in the supply chain will have a massive impact. Drones will improve service scenarios in industries and reduce costs, workforce, and capital. 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What are the Areas the Blockchain Technology is Making a Difference in Aviation?

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The technology helps create cost-effective solutions to allow airlines to swap take-off slots and land more efficiently.e { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How is blockchain used in the aviation industry?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Blockchain in the aviation industry is gaining high value. It showcases its capabilities in tracking the status and location of flights, detecting parts, passengers' data in detail, monitoring operations in-flight, and more." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How can blockchain improve the aviation industry?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Blockchain in aviation can bring in much-required shifts and alterations. 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Article | December 3, 2021

Experience is Everything—human or mechanical. But Get it Right. "AI's potential doesn't solely lie in its ability to improve business efficiency. Rather it lies in its ability to bridge the gap between businesses and customers. AI-powered communications enable for surged personalized and strengthening of information, stimulating customer trust and customer experiences." - Kevin Gosschalk, CEO, Arkose Labs, in a conversation with Media 7. Whether you make payments with a single tap in apps, ask Alexa to instruct in your smartphones, select Google assistance to find flights, or connect to airline companies, digital transformation is omnipresent. So, the appreciation comes naturally for how today's digital atmosphere transforms and affects our lives in every way. Yes, you heard that right! Using Google assistance to find flights is not the new way the industry uses AI. Instead, it has enhanced its way of AI usage into its process and operations. Like other businesses, aviation businesses are catching up well in using data and technology. With the help of these, they now create more compelling and prompter customer experiences. The developments and revenues in the global aviation industry are skyrocketing. The industry expects almost 8.2 billion passengers to fly around the world by 2037. The rising numbers are because of digital transformation. The most interesting thing is aviation now has to manage high expectations of digital-savvy customers. It will be even more interesting now! Before the blog breaks into discussing the futuristic airline customer experience, let's look at the flashback of the past customer experience scenarios (challenges) that prevailed in the airline industry. Past Customer Experience Scenario in Airline The aviation industry in 2018 recorded 4.4 billion passengers flying around the world. Furthermore, according to the IATA reports, the count is anticipated to reach 8.2 billion by 2037. But the industry is increasingly lacking behind in customer experience. Complex booking procedures and missing out on the best flight offers because of complex app/website navigation and other potential customer services are issues raised in air travel today. Apart from this, customers also raise concerns over inflight infotainment systems. The systems merely do their job. Therefore, as many airport terminals are still empty, customer service representatives are working harder to overcome such issues. As the industry has stepped into the fourth industrial revolution, AI rewards the best experiences for travels and other airline customer services. Now, airline marketers can find diverse AI-based digital solutions to sail through the cloud. And the findings are quite remarkable. Let's come to the part where you will know how AI is helping the aviation industry scale its customer services. How Can AI Enrich Airline and Scale Customer Services? Airlines that leverage AI customer experience have had a significant advantage during the pandemic time. Their insights have been put into enriching the entire aviation business. Let's understand the 'how.' Get Multiple Output in Seconds When the demand for air fly rise, offering immediate services for customer handling teams becomes stressful. However, with AI, instances like this get a perfect solution. AI can handle an infinite number of customers' demands at once. By leveraging AI-based digital solutions, you can scale up fulfilling airline operations in seconds. As a result, teams in your firm can easily diminish the increased demand for services and serve remarkable customer experience. The benefit of AI can also be seen crosswise support channels. For instance, WestJet's ticket volume surged by 71% on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp during the beginning weeks of COVID-19 disruption in North America. However, the airline kept its response time low as its virtual agent Juliet ultimately resolved 87% of tickets. Identity New and Trending Issues Aviation is an industry of challenges. Issues and obstacles keep knocking on the door of airline companies. In such cases, AI informs if there are any trending issues over channels. For example, during the COVID-19 outbreak, new onboard safety issues and questions towards social distancing surfaced for the first time. However, airlines have never come through about social distancing. So, by leveraging AI, they created a responsive plan for customers. They communicated the same through AI-enabled solutions on websites and applications. In response to the coronavirus, Gartner suggests that companies should use chatbots in digital channels to focus on the most ordinarily asked questions to give solutions for customers. Feedback Analysis Air travel can be stressful at times, even for frequent and experienced travelers. 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Briana Brownell Briana highlights the growing relevance of natural language used in AI. Understanding technology in the processing and analysis of customer experience data thus allows businesses to explore the customer journey in their own words. For example, ANIE, an AI assistance, can help customers find, book, and pay for flights. Effective Communication The speed of responsive communication to customer queries is highly considered to resolve issues. For example, airport issues like flight delays or baggage loss crop up quite often throwing. As a result, travelers usually get into a state of nervousness. However, when they do not get a response or explanation to their problems, they start considering other airlines for their future trips. In these cases, AI software deployment can speed up and simplify services, automatically enhancing airline customer experience. In addition, effective customer emails with exact information can also solve significant issues and streamline employees' workflow using natural text. Another way to automate and improve airline customer experience is chatbot development. Today, many airlines enhance their customer support with AI-powered chatbots on their websites and mobile applications. The Business Insider’s research report says that by 2022, over 80% of airline businesses are likely to have chatbot automation implemented in operations. These chatbots help passengers with bookings, managing flight schedules, and updating customers about general flight information. In addition, they can post queries and other types of assistance to get quick responses. Self-Services at Airports Easy self-check-ins, ticket booths, and overall communication (from booking to destination arrival) add to the comprehensive AI-based digital solutions. The pandemic forced the aviation industry to witness the extraordinary rise of numerous contactless technologies. So, airports are now more focused on providing self-services for customers. These include contactless payments, luggage checks, robotic assistance for queries, and more like these. Self-service systems in airports are critical automated systems. AI technology is installed to automate passenger journeys without any hurdles. Today, airline companies and airports implement an end-to-end solution using artificial intelligence in customer experience to facilitate smooth passenger air travel and operations. In case of point, Delta Airlines, one of the world's largest global airlines, uses intelligent systems such as Fly to Gate by Thales. The system works with biometrics technology. The employees use it for the document scanning process to recognize and verify passengers at security checks. Such technology reduces passenger check-in time and improves customer experience. Future of AI Customer Experience in Airline Industry There are many shreds of evidence that customers increasingly want a personal touch with their communications. They adore personalized services. Even airline companies are seeking profound connections with their customers. And this is the right time to act by offering personalized customer experiences. Today, AI makes it possible for the entire airline industry to enhance customer experience with automation, provide self-service solutions, ensure safe air travel, and more. Technology is a powerful tool for airlines to make informed decisions that they couldn't take in the past few years. Now airlines can make decisions faster on essential decisions such as on pricing of tickets by analyzing data, enabling secure authentication of customers than before. Ultimately, the success of artificial intelligence in customer experience is driven by having a deep understanding of different customer segments. By harnessing the power of conversational AI, airline businesses can improve their ROI, nurture long-term customer relationships, metrics being the core elements. Frequently Asked Questions How can airline companies improve their customer experience? To improve customer experience, airline companies can follow these ways: Focus on knowing the target audience Meet unique and specific customer needs Keep customers engaged on social media platforms Make smart customer-targeted decisions Be responsive towards customers How does AI play its role in aviation concerning customer experiences these days? AI plays a crucial role in helping customers in aviation to find the correct information more efficiently. It actively helps analyze customers' data and recommend services based on their browsing preferences about flights. How does AI improve customer experience? AI enables the power to strengthen customer engagement, encourage activities, and improve customer retention. Although not a replacement for human beings, it does help increase the efficiency of serving — like answering frequently asked questions, providing the correct information, and being available 24*7. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How can airline companies improve their customer experience?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "To improve customer experience, airline companies can follow these ways: Focus on knowing the target audience Meet unique and specific customer needs Keep customers engaged on social media platforms Make smart customer-targeted decisions Be responsive towards customers" } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How does AI play its role in aviation concerning customer experiences these days?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "AI plays a crucial role in helping customers in aviation to find the correct information more efficiently. It actively helps analyze customers' data and recommend services based on their browsing preferences about flights." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How does AI improve customer experience?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "AI enables the power to strengthen customer engagement, encourage activities, and improve customer retention. Although not a replacement for human beings, it does help increase the efficiency of serving — like answering frequently asked questions, providing the correct information, and being available 24*7." } }] }

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Alba Star Airlines

Alba Star is a private Spanish airline based in Palma de Mallorca, which was founded in November 2009 by Italian and British entrepreneurs from the tourism and transport sectors, to provide chartered air transport from Spanish and Italian airports to the most popular holiday destinations in the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Red Sea and to the pilgrimage sites, in cooperation with the main Italian, Spanish and European Tour Operators.

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