written by: Low Xuan, Xuan

AirAsia is the biggest low cost airline in Asia from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. AirAsia has been named the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline for eight consecutive years by Skytrax, and just claim the crown again for the ninth time this June [1].

What makes AirAsia different from other Airline?
Branding: AirAsia did a brave brand building ten years ago when people all considered traveling by air as a luxurious activity. By branding itself as a low-cost airline, and announcing a short, easy but clear tagline – “Now everyone can fly”, they successfully became the top of mind budget airline brand [2].

Targeting: Targeting the younger generation who are adept to technology, AirAsia simplified the process of buying air ticket by developing excellent website interface for customers to buy tickets online . Customers’ habit of booking flights through traditional travel agents or airline operators are changed [3].

Pricing: To cater for the need of the tight-budget travelers, AirAsia introduced an a-la-carte pricing system to help them minimize traveling cost. For example, customers could decide whether they would like to be served with meals or charged for additional insurance. It is a two-way cost saving initiative for both the customers and the Airline. As such, AirAsia’s tickets are usually 40% to 50% cheaper than other airlines.

Service: Despite the cheap pricing, AirAsia provides customers with professional services and safe flight experience at par with other airlines [4].
AirAsia’s successful implementation of the idea “Now Every One Can Fly” makes air travel no longer an expensive and luxurious option.

Building top-of-mind brand awareness outside Asia

Outside Asia
When AirAsia first started their flights to Sydney in 2012, it is still very much an unknown brand in Australia. The “Friendsy” Facebook campaign is launched in Australia to boost brand awareness.
AirAsia created a Facebook App that allowed participants to allocate their Facebook friends into different seats in the flight by tagging them. The seating plan will be posted on participant’s wall. Those who agreed with it will then click “accept” and share it.

The campaign generated $1.7million PR value, increased AirAsia’s Facebook fan base by 30% with 12,500 registrations and engagement with 2.3million Facebook users [5]. It also beat the goal of 80% load factor on all flights from Sydney [6].

Inside Asia
AirAsia prides itself as the only airline that provides direct flights to all ASEAN countries. Associated with the ASEAN Day, 2016, AirAsia launched “Think ASEAN, Think AirAsia” campaign, which is the largest 360 VR production in Asia. It features hundreds of VR-Ready 360 scenes from all ASEAN countries and at the same time, sell tickets to ASEAN countries at RM10 [7].
The campaign has successfully attracted public attention and won the 30th Asean Tourism Association (ASEANTA) Awards for Excellence [8].

Setbacks in India
AirAsia’s entrance into India in <YEAR> is however a different story. AirAsia is far from a household brand in India. The sole reliance on word-of-month marketing instead of advertising is apparently not good enough for a market is not ready for a complete a-la-carte pricing system . Until now, AirAsia is still lagging behind other airlines in India with a low market share of 3.3% [9].

Conclusion
AirAsia has done well in building a great brand with a consistent brand concept. All campaigns can bring customers back to their big idea – “Now Everyone Can Fly”. Besides, their grasp of market trends in technology deployment, use of social media and 360 VR, are great case studies for competitions to learn from.

 

[1] https://www.fastcompany.com/4041285/airasia-was-just-named-best-low-cost-airline-but-dont-expect-a-big-u-s-expansion

[2] http://www.nextupasia.com/3-airasia-success-factors/

[3] http://www.nextupasia.com/3-airasia-success-factors/

[4] http://simpliflying.com/2008/five-reasons-why-budget-airlines-in-asia-are-successful/

[5] http://www.digitalvidya.com/blog/air-asias-friendsy-social-marketing-campaign-went-viral-case-study/

[6] https://blog.clickfunnels.com/case-study-how-these-top-3-created-an-irresistible-marketing-campaign/

[7] http://www.marketing-interactive.com/airasia-launches-360-vr-campaign-to-celebrate-aseans-50th-anniversary/

[8] https://www.airasia.com/ot/en/press-releases/airasia-wins-best-marketing-campaign-at-asean-tourism-awards.page

[9] https://www.bangaloreaviation.com/2010/12/strategic-and-execution-failures-make.html