The urge to fly global routes is upon Indian airlines. While Kingfisher Airlines Ltd is preparing to do so, Jet Airways Ltd is aggressively expanding its international presence and Air India—once India’s only international airline, and part of the newly formed National Aviation Co. of India Ltd or Nacil — is looking to refurbish its fleet. We asked the experts how the brands should be advertised to non-Indians in overseas markets. Edited excerpts:
Executive director and CEO, Mumbai DraftFCB+Ulka
Ad/brand strategy and positioning:
Broadly the airlines will have to have the same positioning that they have for
the airline; i.e. you cannot have a different positioning for each market.
Air India is the true ambassador of India, so it can play on the tradition of India.
Kingfisher is the young travellers’ choice and can be seen as the “fun” aspect of India.
Jet can position itself as the business traveller’s best way to reach India.
Taglines: Jet: “Business Efficiency”; Air India: “The flavours of India”; and Kingfisher: “Young India’s Airline”.
National creative director
Leo Burnett India Pvt. Ltd
Ad/brand strategy: The strategy should be much the same as what exists right now. There are three kinds of audience segments that airlines look at: international travellers, those visiting friends and relatives, and international tourists. Air India’s communication is around the India theme. They can take the concept further in the form of “The new face of India.” Maybe by including Bollywood, or technology or art or culture-based themes.
This would bring in a surge of international tourists. Jet is modelled around British Airways, and targets the business traveller in a big way. They should continue highlighting efficiency, because that’s what the business traveller wants. In fact, the efficiency quotient is far more important for Jet, than the luxury quotient. With Kingfisher, one would expect an extension of “Good Times.” It has worked in India, and it will work with international audiences.
Positioning: Jet’s positioning should be around efficiency of product and service. Kingfisher’s positioning should be around good times, music, fun and a carnival-like atmosphere. For Air India, it should be around the new face of India (all things that are current and topical)—a taste of India even as you get on the plane.
Taglines: For Jet, it should be “Best in the world”; for Air India, it should be “Taste of India”; Kingfisher should continue with “King of Good Times”. Perhaps an accent on Goa and Lavani music, which wouldn’t just benefit the airline, but also bring in tourism monies for the country.
Law and Kenneth Worldwide
Ad/brand strategy: Any brand cannot mean different things to different people. What is the core of a brand? Whether it’s for domestic or international audiences, the core must be taken forward.
Air India doesn’t have any fundamental need to change. Any national carrier should reflect the nation in all its beauty, splendour and culture. But, they need to take the same plank forward. India is a land of mystery and exotica. They could tailor communication around those aspects.
Meanwhile, Kingfisher is all about good times and it should stick to that plank, even while addressing international audiences. It’s a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously and helps you unwind.
For Jet, the challenge is the toughest, because it has an undifferentiated product.
Jet’s pitch is on professionalism and service and while they rank the highest in India on the same parameters, international travellers have sampled that kind of service from brands such as Singapore Airlines and British Airways. The only way out then, is to push the professionalism pitch to the tee and say, that you are truly the best among world-class airlines.
Positioning: Air India: mystery, culture and the Maharaja; Jet: professionalism at the highest level. High standards of service. Business class; Kingfisher: celebration of good times.
Air India: “Everyone feels like a Maharaja in exotic India”.
Kingfisher: “Unwind in the sky” or “Fly the good times”.
Jet: “The business class airline” or “When you mean business, you fly Jet”.
Chairman, BBDO India
Ad/brand strategy: I view this as India’s three-pronged strategy to conquer international skies. We need to leverage the existing strength of each brand and give it scale—for greater Indian dominance and competitiveness.
Just because it is for non-Indians, it does not mean it should not have an Indian flavour. In the new world order, there is a certain aura around Indianess. But each brand will serve that aura differently. Kingfisher should reposition Singapore Airlines. The “Singapore Girl” was a great brand idea. But, now she is a tired act. This is opportunity for the sexier Kingfisher hottie! Jet Airways should take on Lufthansa. Lufthansa is seen as hard-nosed robotic efficiency. This is an opportunity. Jet Airways should take the famous German super-efficiency image and soften the edges with India’s caring attitude.
Air India can grow its existing equity of great Indian hospitality by promoting the cause of diversity. No other airline can say that. Air India should be seen as the United Nations of the sky. Diversity is a unique position for airlines. It is memorable and relevant to a world that is forced to fit in. The other option is for Air India to disrupt its current position and create a new one. It should seize the opportunity of a rising number of business travellers and create an identity of being the preferred airline for business travellers—a bit like what business hotels are doing.
Positioning: Kingfisher should promote the red-hot air hostess with a touch of Indian sensuality—make her the sexy face of the brand. There should be more oomph, with fashion shows and fusion dance on board. For Jet, the brand position would be that of feminine efficiency. For Air India, the brand position could be a celebration of diversity or a focus on business travellers.
Taglines: Jet: “The sky is in the details” or “Because efficiency is a woman”.
Kingfisher: “Fly the 36-24-36 skies!” “Hostess with the mostest”.
Air India: “We’re open for business” or “Your business centre in the sky”.