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Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Indian carriers ramp up marketing in battle to win passengers
Neelam Mathews Aug 18, 2015
As airlines in India jostle for media recognition in a bid to attract passengers, they are employing a host of new marketing initiatives in this fiercely competitive market.
Leading the way is India’s fastest growing carrier, IndiGo, which has finalized a deal to acquire 250 Airbus A320neo aircraft. Eyeing a public offering before year-end, the consistently profitable budget carrier focuses on excelling in meeting the core needs of passengers. “It’s all about the experience – being on time, cleanliness on board and standardization,” says a marketing guru in the region.
The carrier’s Twitter handle reacts politely to good and bad tweets, and its marketing is imaginative. “Who would think of printing little [story] snippets on sandwich packs? I know of a woman who has collected 68 cookie packs! Perhaps one day they will have a competition for the collectors,” he says of IndiGo’s decision to make the packaging of buy-on-board items inspiring and in some cases, collectible.
Celebrating its ninth birthday, IndiGo has also launched 6EAppsters, a “Virtual Appathon” that invites travel enthusiasts and tech start-ups to share their ideas for apps that, among other things, make travel easier and allow people to crowd-fund travel. Generous return tickets await the winners.
Fellow budget carrier SpiceJet, meanwhile, has launched a “red, hot, spicy” branding initiative. The new look – a reminder of US aviation in its adolescence, and perhaps inspired by Virgin – follows a rise from the ashes for the carrier, which shut down last December, but was saved when its original owner and benefactor Ajay Singh surfaced with funds to revive his baby.
Depending on who you talk to, the ads are either gutsy or garish for a comparatively conformist audience but Singh is not offering any apologies. He is clear on the point that his market is India’s youth (under 35) who have no biases; and says “red, hot, spicy” speaks to the carrier’s inherent attitude.
Sanjiv Kapoor chief operating officer SpiceJet tells RGN, “Singh wanted to turbocharge the brand and make it bolder. I was told not be a fuddy-duddy.”