Friday, December 02, 2022

Air India to get a brand makeover, London based consultancy firm roped in

Tata Sons has roped in London-based brand and design consultancy firm Futurebrands to redraw Air India’s branding strategy.

Futurebrands – which has worked on rebranding of American Airlines and British luxury automobile brand Bentley and branding of the 2012 London Olympics – will work to refurbish Air India’s identity as it targets to become an airline of choice across the world, a person aware of the development said.

Among multiple strategies being considered is creating a new mascot for the airline as there is a thought that the current one of Maharajah has become outdated. Air India is currently not using the Maharajah logo in its campaigns of new destination launches.

The logo was created by Bobby Kooka in 1946 when he was commercial director of the airline.

“No decision has been taken. There will be multiple rounds of discussions based on the consultant’s report, cost estimation, and positioning of new Air India that the group intends,” said the person cited above. “But there is definitely a requirement to refurbish the image in a modern world where it intends to compete with the likes of Emirates and Singapore Airlines.”

The airline has also hired Sunil Suresh, a former MakeMyTrip executive who has joined as chief marketing officer, and Colin Neubronner, who had earlier worked on branding of Singapore Airlines and Jet Airways, as part of a new brand-building team.

A new branding strategy for the airline has become important as Tatas are simplifying their aviation portfolio by merging four airline brands into two airlines.

While the salt-to-steel conglomerate is amalgamating Vistara into Air India to create a full service airline by 2024, it is also in the process of merging AirAsia India and Air India Express to create a low-cost airline.

People involved in the process said that while the name Vistara will be phased out, it is possible that some features of the brand campaign will still be part of the new brand identity of Air India.

Vistara, which draws its name from the Sanskrit word ‘vistaar’, took to the skies for the first time in January 2015. In a short period, the brand has become popular among fliers in Indian metros but it has limits regarding its reach outside India.

The Tata group is also working to have a new brand identity for the low cost product which will be created from the merger of Air India Express and AirAsia India, people aware of the development said.

As per its agreement with Malaysian-based airline group AirAsia, which has exited AirAsia India, the AirAsia brand can be used for one year till mid of 2023.

Among multiple names being considered for the low-cost airline are Connect and Connections by Air India, people in the know said. A new corporate name, ‘AIX Connect Private Limited’ has been proposed to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for the merged entity, they said.

02/12/22 Arindam Majumder/Economic Times

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