Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The world's favourite airline? When a brand represents a nation

British Airways is about to launch a print, online and radio brand campaign entitled “Upgrade To BA”. Interesting; I really hope this is a little more than a smoke and mirrors PR exercise and here's why:

I have journeyed from committed BA advocate to reluctant detractor in a short space of time (This is an airline run by accountants; never a good thing. BA, you had my loyalty and you blew it) meanwhile BA has almost continuously and very publicly damaged its brand (
Brandindex) in recent years, creating no lack of negative publicity and prompting crisis management as a result.

Even if we discount the scrapping of Concorde they have had the
lost luggage issue (28 thousand bags), the price fixing issue (£271 million in fines which lead to the departure of Martin George) and the January strike. I could go on.

So what? you might say. Well the B in BA is pretty important to me and around 60million other people. When a brand represents or is associated with an entire country surely it has a duty to be remarkable, and for the right reasons.

The good news is that this campaign is to highlight “high levels of services” while predictably attempting to spin "improvements in fuel efficiency" for the green lobby.

Maybe some of this £60m advertising campaign investment could have been better spent investigating a
how to make a WOM-worthy airline (jackie huba) to deliver an exceptional customer experience, learning from the marvellous Captain Denny Flanagan.

'The world's favourite airline' is a worthy ambition requiring substance behind the spin when a brand is also a nation's flag carrier.

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