IndiGo spat: Could it jeopardise the brand image?

Industry experts believe that no matter what the provocation, IndiGo staff could have dealt with the manhandling situation at Delhi airport with sensitivity

Soon after a video surfaced, which showed an IndiGo staff allegedly beating up a passenger, the airline was at the receiving end of public ire. The hashtag #boycottIndiGo has been trending on social media with a spate of memes and tweets trolling the airline as well as people vowing that they will never avail their services.
To make things worse for the airline, Air India’s official Twitter handle also posted two tweets which took on its rival head-on. Each tweet was accompanied by an illustration, trolling IndiGo.

In one of the images, the mascot of the airline, the iconic Maharaja, is seen with folded hands and a caption that reads, "We raise our hands only to say Namaste." The second image has the logo of Air India with a caption reading, “Unbeatable Service." Interestingly, both tweets have since been deleted.

This clearly is a rough time for IndiGo with just last week, Olympic winner-shuttler, PV Sindhu claiming that an IndiGo crew member misbehaved with her on flight.

Industry experts believe that the airline could have been more sensitive and dealt with the situation with more empathy. N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA, said that the recent incident could seriously dent the brand’s image. “The brand is going viral with negative connotations with memes and pseudo ads floating around. As a brand, no matter how much provocation, you cannot manhandle your customer. From a brand perspective it will have a longstanding impact because there is typically zero loyalty in airlines,” he said.

He pointed out that it was not the first time the brand had indulged in such rude behaviour. “When they came out with their IPO, they had become extremely rude. They had some parts of their brand strategy straight and tongue-in-cheek but they need to understand that a consumer is the backbone of the brand and he can make or break a brand,” he explained.

Brand expert Jagdeep Kapoor, Chairman and Managing Director, Samsika, also was of the opinion that the situation could have been handled more sensitively. “IndiGo is a good brand. However, in light of such a situation, they should train their people to be a little more sensitive,” he said.

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