Magazine article Marketing

Mark Ritson on Branding: Airlines Count Cost of One-Track Mind

Magazine article Marketing

Mark Ritson on Branding: Airlines Count Cost of One-Track Mind

Article excerpt

They say that things come in threes. We should, therefore, not be surprised that Silverjet has now followed rival airlines Eos and MAXjet into financial difficulties. Things aren't looking good for the British business-class airline. A pounds 12.6m funding deal appears to have fallen through and shares have been suspended.

It is all a long way from the launch of these three business-class airlines only a matter of months ago. The chance to focus on one particular market segment with a very specific positioning made a lot of sense. This was certainly the viewpoint of Deloitte partner and airline expert Graham Pickett, who believed that Silverjet, in particular, had a lot of potential. 'It is a hassle-free experience. When you go to Silverjet, you go into a terminal dedicated to Silverjet passengers. The only aggro you have is getting off your backside to go and sit on an aircraft,' he said.

The benefits of a clear positioning for a single target segment were also apparent in the cut-through achieved in the three airlines' ads Eos' print executions showed a couple attending a packed tennis game, except for their section - empty save for a dedicated waiter. The strapline was 'By removing the crowds, Eos Airlines has completely transformed transatlantic travel. No lines, no waiting, no stress.' If only it had added: 'And no chance of staying in business', the ad would have been spot-on.

While rising fuel prices may be responsible for the immediate downfall of the three airlines, the real reason for their demise was targeting. While a single positioning to one target segment is attractive from an execution point of view, the reality is that you need to target multiple segments to make serious money. The economic advantages of multiple target segments almost always outweigh the marketing benefits of a tight, singular positioning to just one group.

Two segments increase the overall size of the market potential you can attract. They also provide a hedge against economic fluctuations. When the economy is good, for example, most business schools make their money from executive education with fat, happy corporations. When the economy slows, they switch focus and make most of their money from the individual MBA candidates recently released by their employers with a big exit payment and time on their hands. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.