Flybe targets rail and road competitors in new strategy

Regional airline Flybe is implementing a brand and marketing strategy overhaul across all customer touchpoints.

Flybe a to b

It is unveiling a multimillion pound marketing campaign focusing on “time-saving travel”, including television spots, alongside a website overhaul and the introduction of purple as a colour it can “own”. The colour will be introduced across the airline’s collateral, such as uniforms.

Chief commercial officer Paul Simmons says that the company has revisited its heritage to find the “product truth” that will give Flybe a strong positioning, personality and way to engage with fliers.

“It is necessary because very few people know what we do. Now we have a very focused proposition. We were a brand most people had heard of but nobody knows what we stand for.”

He says that as Flybe has no airline competitors on 80 per cent of its routes the marketing will target road and rail users and champion the airline’s speed to destination.

A new strapline “From A to Flybe” is being rolled out with creative executions that show how speedily Flybe can transport you to a destination. There are three TV spots with calls to action for business and leisure travellers and they will be supported by other channels, including social media. The campaign has been devised by The Corner.

The branding refresh and communications are underpinned with a ‘60:60 Guarantee’ product that will give passengers a £60 credit towards their next flight booked within 60 days if, through the fault of the airline, their flight arrives more than 60 minutes late.

Simmons says: “No-one else can do this – not BA, Ryanair or easyJet – because their on-time performance is not good enough”.

The airline claims to be Europe’s largest regional operator and flies to 70 airports in total. In the UK its key airports are Birmingham, Southampton and Manchester.

It sees opportunities for growth in both business and leisure sectors and also as a “white label” airline serving flag carriers as a connecting service for their hubs. Currently half its passengers are business fliers.

Flybe recently overhauled its pricing structure to a “yield to load” model as used by low cost carriers but is emphatically not using a budget airline model. It is retitling its three types of ticket so the propositions are clearer with the new names of Just Fly, Get More and All In.

The company has seen a near total management overhaul since August last year when Saad Hammad was named CEO. A number of senior executives, including Hammad and Simmons, have previously worked at easyJet.

Commenting on Ryanair’s recent charm offensive and promises to become more customer friendly, Simmons says: “If Ryanair is really serious it will make inroads but it will take years, not months.”

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