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GoAir – taking flight on marketing & digital wings

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GoAir – taking flight on marketing & digital wings

After the establishment of GoAir in the year 2005, there was a bit of advertising and marketing for the brand initially. However, the past two years saw the airline busy trying to cope with the slowdown and just like the other airlines, GoAir, too, had to cut back its marketing spends.

With the economy looking up, the airline has brought on board several new people across functional areas and is in the process of infusing a fresh lease of life and building up a stronger presence in India’s aviation sector. With growth plans in place, GoAir now wants focus on advertising to create a distinctive identity and reach out to its TG. Consequently, the airline is planning to significantly increase advertising activities and an increase in ad spends is also on the cards.

In conversation with exchange4media, Rahul Deans, Head - Marketing, GoAir, pointed out that there were six players in the market, which, according to him, were “not really too much”. He said that competition on every route was different and added that even though there might be 2-3 competitors, it was all route specific. Being a low cost carrier, GoAir competed primarily with two other low cost carriers – Spice Jet and Indigo. People usually went for an airline who’s fare was low and the timings were right, Deans pointed out, adding that GoAir planned to give itself a distinctive image/ association and the advertising agency that it would appoint was expected to do precisely that. According to him, every brand might not have an USP, but every brand needed to have a distinctive image.

Future Strategy
Deans added that the airline planned to make sure that all the elements of branding were the way that they were supposed to be. Therefore, they might have a brand manual which had the design, the colour scheme, how the logo should look like, and so on. He maintained that it was more important to make the present logo look right rather than changing the logo entirely.

At a strategic level, they’d also like to be distinctive, he added. Tactically, there were always different things to do. “There may be a route that is not doing so well, so we’ll have to do marketing to shore it up; there might be a route that we are not into, but we intend to get in, if we get a new aircraft that has to fly to new destinations, we need to market that. So, it is a mix of tactical marketing as well as strategic marketing,” Deans said.

Since Deans handled the network, tactical marketing would be done in close conjunction with the network team, and the revenue and sales team. He added that his experience had taught him that to run a business, every team had to join hands. “If one wants to launch a new sales cell to work with, the revenue team has to figure out how much they’ll be able to sell tickets for. The network team has to work on providing the best possible route and timing,” he pointed out.

“These apart, there are 2-3 things that we would like to believe – we have the youngest fleet in India, which gives the customer the impression that the ride is clean and comfortable and a lot of people have said this in our survey. Secondly, our in-flight service is very good. Since we are not a full service airline, people do not come to us with a lot of expectations, and they get pleasantly surprised by the quality of service they get. Thirdly, in a lot of destinations, we are the first flight out and the last flight back, so being a business traveler you get a full working day by travelling with us,” said Deans.

Meanwhile, events are also an important mode for them and the airline plans to continue gaining mileage out of them and ensure that the brand is not lost in clutter. GoAir has been associated with Gladrags and is their official airline.

Digital as Marketing Medium
Speaking on the digital medium, Deans said that while they had not allocated any amount to the digital medium so far, they plan to do it now. “Whatever the spend is, it will be more than our previous spend,” he added. The airline has started off by revamping its website, which is slated to be made live soon. It is also taking the first steps in social media and getting into Twitter, following which it will explore further digital initiatives as well as supplement all these activities. The purpose of all this being increasing the number of people who book with them directly. Thus, Deans said, whatever they did in the digital sphere had to be quantified.

“We aren’t there yet as much. It’ll take time for us to be present in the digital space. I think digital is still a very underrated medium. In India, the number of people who access the Internet is as much as the number of people reading newspapers. I think it’s definitely a growing media. It encourages one on one communication rather than one to many. Customisation of content is another advantage that it has over other mediums,” Deans concluded.

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He joined the company in 2016 as Head of India and South Asia at Discovery Network