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Emirates begins brand overhaul

posted on 29/03/2012: 521 views



Emirates is launching a major branding and marketing campaign that will promote the airline as a lifestyle proposition. The campaign will help the airline refine its image from just ‘service' to a lifestyle brand, Gulf News has learnt.

The campaign will be launched next month — when the airline enters its new financial year — replacing its existing the ‘Keep Discovering' campaign that has been running for nearly a decade.

"The new global campaign will focus on how Emirates is connecting people and cultures and creating relevant and meaningful experiences that are shaping the world," Sir Maurice Flanagan, executive vice-chairman of Emirates airline and Group, told Gulf News.

"The key message is that through connecting people and cultures we connect people's hopes, dreams and aspirations."

Last year Emirates hired Strawberry Frog as its lead communication agency.

"Once you have a cultural movement you can do anything. In the fragmenting media scene, Strawberry Frog is an innovative global agency that develops strategic vision and creative solutions that create growth for our clients," the agency says on its website.

Within three years Emirates will be the largest airline in the world. The campaign developed by the New York team of StrawberryFrog was designed to show Europeans how many jobs were created as a result of Emirates' largest orders for aircraft in aviation history.

"In addition to creating the campaign created for Emirates, StrawberryFrog is responsible for developing their global brand and a stellar strategy platform and communications for the parent and sibling brands," the agency says.

Explaining the shift, Flanagan said, the airline's Keep Discovering campaign has fulfilled its objectives.

"It helped us spread the brand image across the globe during the last ten years. It has fulfilled its objectives. By 2017, Emirates will be the largest airline in the world. As our brand evolves so must our messaging, which is why we are launching a new campaign that encompasses the way the world is connecting now and in the future," he said.

"Emirates is now becoming more of a lifestyle brand — globally. The new campaign will strengthen this brand proposition as we move public perception while expanding our global footprint," Flanagan said.

Emirates spends less than three per cent of its annual revenue in advertisements, sponsorships, events, media relations and digital online and social media. The Emirates Group, which includes the airline and Dnata, and last year reported revenues of Dh57.4 billion, would have spent up to Dh1.72 billion on these activities.

The group spends 30 per cent of its communications budget on sponsorships, 30 per cent on advertisements, 20 per cent on events and exhibitions, 10 per cent on public relations and 10 per cent digital.

The airline is famous for using sports sponsorships to its maximum benefit.

Over the last decade it has sponsored a number of popular European football clubs including Arsenal football club and its stadium. It is also partnered with Fifa to sponsor World Club Football.

"Airlines globally spend on an average between four and six per cent of their revenues on communication and brand building. We spend about three per cent. But we spend smartly and the returns are visible," Flanagan said.

"What we achieved in 26 years, others could not do even in 50 years."

According to Gautam Sen Gupta, managing director of Brand Finance Middle East, Emirates is the region's biggest brand.

The 2012 Brand Finance Global 500 Brands Report noted that it ranks 288th in the global list (up from 291 last year) with a brand value of US$3.7 billion (Dh13.5 billion).

There are only two other regional brands in the Global 500 — etisalat ranked 363rd with a brand value US$3.11 billion and STC of Saudi Arabia ranked 400th with a brand value of US$2.84 billion.

"I see Emirates as a huge brand," said Gupta.

"First, the product: my perception is it has the largest [or close to largest] fleet, and flies to more destinations than any other international airline.

"It has pioneered product features such as movie screening in economy, a wide range in music, flat beds, lounges at airports, skyphones, limo transfers for business and first-class passengers, early use of technologies such as mobile check-ins, etc."

Emirates can reach 6.6 billion of the global population within 16 hours flying time, and its network of 122 destinations is served by 171 aircraft.

Inherent strengths

Flanagan said the brand's strength and character comes from a number of factors — it's bold, innovative and very much customer focused.

"Also, our success is inter-linked with the growth of Dubai — the airline's hub. We bring economic benefits to the emirate while its popularity helps us," Flanagan said.

More than 60 per cent of all passengers passing through Dubai International Airport fly Emirates. Last year, Dubai airport recorded 51 million passengers, and Emirates carried 31.4 million.

"However, our success is also built on a number of firsts — we are the first airline to install personal video in all three classes, the first to introduce Private First Class Suites, the first to offer onboard shower spas on our A380.

"We were also the first airline with 1,200+ entertainment channels on demand," he said.

Achievements — Emirates is the:

• First to install personal video in all three classes

• First to introduce Private Suites

• First to order the Airbus A380

• First to introduce onboard shower spas

• Airline with the largest order of A380s, A350s and B777-300s

• First airline with 1,000+ channels on demand

• Fastest growing intercontinental airline of its size

• World's largest operator of the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777. – Gulf News

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