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How Airlines are Delivering on Brand eXperience in the Age of Sustainability
Achieved by aligning all product, service, and corporate operations to deliver the promises made while setting brand expectations, eXperience is probably the most important aspect of an airline’s brand.
The aim of providing a superlative brand experience should be to build customer loyalty. What can the airline do to make sure that customers fly with them again?
Brand eXperience is fostered across multiple touchpoints, from the booking hotline and website, to the check-in row and onboard the plane. This also provides multiple opportunities to emphasise the brand personality of the airline.
Something unique to airlines is the length of the customers’ experience with the brand. For the duration of the flight, as well as before and after, airlines owe it to themselves to leave an indelible impression on the customer that keeps them coming back for more.
Often, airlines spend a lot of attention on frequent fliers, but almost none on a majority of the other customers. Though loyal customers need to be rewarded, the rest should not be ignored. It is the first-time fliers who need to be cultivated to become die-hard fans.
So how can airlines make every customer feel that he or she is the centre of their universe?
Many make the mistake of assuming that delivering such an experience would require excessive expenditure. In reality, consistency across multiple touchpoints is the key to winning a customer’s heart.
Indigo in India has a sets a simple brand eXpectation of getting the passengers to a destination on-time. While it may seem trivial to most, this used to be a big deal in India. When it comes to brand eXperience, Indigo delivers simple service that almost always exceeds expectations by flying on time and then delivering a professional yet fun service.
Case Study - Air France & Delta Air Lines Re-thinking Amenity Kits
Airlines are making the passenger experience more sustainable by re-thinking amenity kits.
The new Air France amenity kits launched for long-haul flights are eco-friendly, including the contents. These include a toothbrush made from maize straw to earplugs wrapped in kraft paper to avoid using plastic. The kits, which are made from 96% recycled materials in Business and 89% in Premium Economy, are said to be designed as genuine gifts, as they can be kept, collected and reused after the flight.
In all cabins, each kit’s plastic packaging has been replaced by an integrity seal. In addition, the systematic cleaning and disinfection of headphones have enabled Air France to do away with the single-use earphone covers that were previously offered, as well as their packaging.
Image source: Air France
Across the Atlantic, Delta Air Lines has launched “Delta One” kits in collaboration with Mexican artisan-brand, Someone Somewhere and skincare brand, Grown Alchemist.
These kits have reduced over 90,000 pounds of plastic annually by eliminating five single-use plastic items like zippers and packaging and introducing recycled aluminium for its cosmetic packaging. Passengers can ‘meet the artisan’ who created their amenity kit and even send them a note, reflecting the hyper-transparency imbibed in the initiative.
Of course, some questions remain about the contents of the amenity kit itself. Perhaps premium passengers should be able to choose some amenity kit items in the lounge before boarding, learning from airlines that serve dinner in the lounge so they can carry one less meal. Every bit of weight counts and less weight on board means less fuel burned, leading to a lower carbon footprint.
While amenity kits will not disappear overnight from airline cabins, it is encouraging to see the steps some airlines are taking toward a sustainable solution.
This is an extract from our “6X+S Airline Brand Model” whitepaper which presents a new framework for airlines to build lasting brands in the age of sustainability. Download the whitepaper to explore the rest of the 6X+S model concepts and the accompanying case studies in our whitepaper.