Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Air Asia Brand Flies High

Air Asia makes for a good case study in branding.

I have never flown Air Asia. I don't have friends or relatives working there. Neither do I have a vested interest in this low-cost carrier which has remarkably built a name for itself in 10 short years.

I like what I've read and heard in the media and from my friends, who tell me Air Asia is like a soothing balm compared to other budget carriers. By most accounts, it offers good value for money, its planes run on time most of the time and there's little to complain about its service. So, when others claim it's the best airline in the low-cost category, it has my full attention.

Air Asia's launch of a new corporate identity as part of its 10 Awesome Years' campaign reported in this week's eGlobal's report comes as no surprise. Not only does the airline take branding seriously, its focus on engaging customers and delivering a positive service experience is paying handsome dividends in terms of customer loyalty.

Air Asia stewardesses from Air Asia Facebook page
Air Asia is said to have changed the face of travel. It's bold and it's different. It's known for its bargain basement prices. Its stewardesses in their spiffy bright red uniforms are hard to miss at airports in Singapore and Malaysia.  There's also something different in the way Air Asia girls carry themselves. Unlike the more elegant Singapore (Airline) girls, they seem naturally warm and more approachable.

It helps to have a tireless brand champion in the Group CEO, the charismatic and dynamic Tony Fernandes. I've not met the man, although I've read and watched enough media interviews of him to form an opinion. Picture Richard Branson.

CNNGo photo of the dynamic duo
Tony and Richard are two of my favorites CEOS to follow. They give their staff space to be different. They dare to take risks. They're unlike your typical stuffy CEOs and their sense of fun is infectious. I recall Air Asia's chief once daring the Virgin chief to don an Air Asia stewardess' uniform and shave his legs if Air Asia's Lotus Racing team beat the Virgin Racing team in a 2010 F1 race. Guess who lost the bet and had to cross-dress?

Look out Air Asia, are you ready for one more customer?

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