When DM does the heavy lifting

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You may have seen an intriguing advertisement featuring objects from lawn-mowers to petrol pumps being lifted by propellers. It’s for Avios, a loyalty point scheme. What the ads are not pointing out is that this is a rebrand of AirMiles, the scheme owned by The Mileage Company.

It’s interesting that The Mileage Company (owned by British Airways) has opted not to treat the “Anything can fly” campaign as a rebrand communication. All the above the line activity simply talks about Avios and not the scheme’s origins in AirMiles.

And that’s because direct marketing did the heavy lifting in explaining the overhaul. The Mileage Company was faced with a tough challenge because the rebrand and restructure of the AirMiles scheme did mean a change in terms and conditions, which some collectors feel disadvantaged them. These disenchanted customers have made their feelings quite vocal via social media and other forums.

It’s been the job of the DM channel to communicate with the existing AirMiles database and address their concerns while the above the line work is to reach out to new customers who don’t need to know the heritage and are not aware of the recent controversy.

This makes an interesting contrast with Aviva, which rebranded from Norwich Union but made this quite plain in its whole advertising strategy, which featured celebrities who have changed their names. However, Norwich Union wasn’t carrying so much negative baggage.

So, via channels such as direct mail and email The Mileage Company has tried to address the concerns of its members. Considering there were up to 8 million AirMiles, BA Executive Club and Iberia customers, I’m sure it has been a tough job and I have no insight into how well the tactics have converted customer sentiment. However, using DM in the broadest sense for one to one communication on such an important issue to customers was surely the right way to go and shows how valuable the discipline is in tackling such challenging scenarios.

Did your direct marketing campaign deliver outstanding results? Enter the Marketing Week Engage Awards 2012 DM category by clicking here.

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