The Company—A savvy British-owned, iconic airline with a large footprint in the UK and Europe but with a small fighter-brand footprint in the USA.
Challenge—How to forge a better brand dialog with USA frequent flyers and grow share of mind and wallet and leverage the European brand equity into a more powerful, compelling and relevant USA membership program in a competitive market during a recession.
Insight—The power of branding to generate loyalty. Based on our analysis, we revealed Virgin Atlantic punched above its weight on a competitive basis but that its membership services were underleveraged through a lack of meaningful brand and communications engagement. In parallel we learned Virgin Atlantic’s small US footprint did not tarnish the brand’s value—in fact it enhanced its ‘rebel’, lovemark equity.
The 4Cs Shift—We applied our 4Cs discipline to reimagine:
- Conversation: Introduce the notion of driving loyalty through dialog not monolog programs
- Clarity: Expand and reinforce the Airline’s definition of flying as experience not travel outside the flight and the cabin
- Currency: Enhance competitive value for passengers on lucrative but highly competitive transatlantic routes
- Culture: Advise Virgin to cultivate a culture of endless ideas by keeping a pulse on Flying Club members, making quick brand and operational fixes based on member feedback, and using real intelligence to inform growth.
Result—Virgin Atlantic used the member-contributed intelligence to help ignite and lift lifetime member value and to evolve brand and destination loyalty, in America and Europe. On December 11, 2012, Delta Air Lines Inc bought 49% of Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. for $360 million, to substantially boost its share in the lucrative US-London market.