Building a strong Indigo Airlines brand, and outlook for 2009

In this second part of the interview with Sanjay Kumar, the Chief Commercial Officer of Indigo Airlines, we talk about my favorite topic – airline branding. Sanjay believes that branding is all about how customers experience Indigo as a brand, not just how they perceive as a brand. And there is a conscious effort at Indigo to translate the brand promise into a great experience through systematic implementation.

Consistency not only in the sky, but also on the ground

When someone flies Indigo Airlines, what he looking for? Sanjay believes that it’s not a five star flying experience. He’s looking for an easy, hassle-free travel experience. And Indigo lives up to the expectation. Not only do they have Queue-busters – mobile check-in counters that Sanjay mentioned in the first part of his interview last week, but they are also the first airline to have welcome announcements on the “coach” that takes passengers to the aircraft. It makes them feel that the journey has begun.

Why low pricing isn’t sustainable?

Sanjay feels that the current spate of low airfares in India is a short-term phenomenon and it’s a ploy to get people in the air once again. Such prices cannot be sustained in the long run. Hence, once the prices rise (this has already started happening), the challenge will be for airlines to keep the passengers in the air. And how does Indigo make this happen? By delivering a consistent brand experience, over time.

As for Sanjay’s predictions for airlines in India in 2009, he feels it’ll not be an easy year for the airlines in India in 2009, but those who keep their costs low, and keeps the customer coming back for more will emerge stronger in the long run.

I invite you to listen to the second half of Sanjay’s interview right here, on SimpliFlying.

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Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Shashank Nigam
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