Archive for Brand Management

ROI of Social? How about $25m Annually…

KLM owes a huge thank you to Eyjafjallajökull. Oh, you don’t remember our Icelandic friend? The volcano that erupted in 2010 which left thousands of passengers stranded in the wake of cancellations? Perhaps it’s little known history by now, but Eyjafjallajökull marked the beginning of what’s now a $25 million-a-year profit center for KLM. With phone channels busy, […]

Creative Marketing: Candy as Payment?

How’s this for creative marketing? Train travelers using the Sanriku Railway network in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture can now use KitKats as train passes. The concept is part of a scheme by Nestlé to rejuvenate tourism in the northern province, following the devastating effects of the 2011 T?hoku Earthquake. Customers can buy special packs of KitKat for less […]

Boarding Pass Design Warrants More Thought in the Airline Industry

That air travel has become commoditized is no secret. Study after study in recent years has shown that for the vast majority of travelers, there is no such thing as loyalty anymore. Instead, purchase decisions are based solely on ticket price, fees and schedules. Still, this hasn’t stopped airlines from spending–and spending healthily–to differentiate their […]

British Airways Should Ignore Privacy Group Concerns

  It has gained attention in recent weeks that British Airways has taken to Google-stalking its V.I.P customers, equipping thousands of staff with iPads so they can search for information about the passenger prior to their flight and greet them accordingly. Of course, it has caught the attention of privacy groups as well, creating headlines […]

jetBlue Trying to Get Away With It by Launching a Gameshow!

It may look a little Smurfy at first glance, but jetBlue is set to make history by becoming the first airline-cum-gameshow operator. From June 18th through 22nd, the airline will be streaming a travel trivia game live online from a New York studio. Hosted by the slick, smooth-talking Mark Hammerberg–a character seemingly straight out of […]

Air Asia Rebranding to the Tune of $5 Million USD

AirAsia is setting aside approximately USD$5 million for corporate rebranding. According to Group Head of Commercial Kathleen Tan, the exercise will include a new look and feel to its main office, check-in counters (starting with Bangkok, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur), advertisements and aircraft, as well as a revamped flight attendant uniform. I’ve always been leery […]

Humanization is the Name of the Game for Tweeting Customer Service

Much to the chagrin of many European travelers, there is only one Lidia Stefanowska. But thanks to Twitter, easyJet’s Customer Experience Manager is seen regularly in all 118 easyJet destinations. As the leader of @easyJetCare, Lidia’s team handles customer questions and problems in real-time, and has earned high praise due to its ability to humanize […]

Engagement 101: AirAsia Continues to Innovate with “100th Dragon” Contest

By now, we should all be used to seeing innovative marketing campaigns from AirAsia. While the airline continues to adapt its route structure to the changing aviation landscape in the Far East, one thing that has remained consistent is its dedication to innovative, engaging approaches to brand communication. And that doesn’t just mean outbound. Instead, […]

Who Killed Rico? Air New Zealand’s Clever Move to Phase Out the Loveable Lunatic…

Who killed Rico? That’s the million-dollar, or free round-trip, question. Air New Zealand’s fuzzy little mascot that crept his way into our hearts over the past year, and took a starring role in several of my presentations, was recently “murdered” at a party in his posh new Hollywood home. In a move partially designed to […]

New Whitepaper Out Today! (Hint: Download it Here!)

How many times have you read  a whitepaper that introduced new vocabulary to the English language? Specific to the aviation industry? My latest one (done in conjunction with SimpliFlying) does exactly that, introducing a concept called “Airrogance“, which is essentially arrogance applied to the airline industry when airlines fail to engage their customers in a two-way […]

Feeling Like a Proud Dad…

As I checked in on Foursquare at Washington Dulles Airport this morning on my way to Chicago, I couldn’t help but notice the following display at one of the idle United gates: In light of the article I wrote in this space and on SimpliFlying a few months ago, I must say I was quite […]

How Mango Airlines has Succeeded in Customer Engagement (CEO Interview)

Everyone reading this blog, I’m safely assuming, books most of your airline tickets online. Without question, it is the easiest and most cost-effective way (for all parties involved) to make a booking. So it makes sense that a startup airline would focus its distribution strategy around direct online sales. However, imagine if you were tasked […]

Qatar Airways Employing Stay-At-Home Moms?!? I Think Not!

A couple of months ago I posted an article here and on SimpliFlying about how United Airlines made a major gaffe in distributing napkins to 400,000 passengers a day that invited them to follow UA on Twitter without specifying the exact handle to search for. When I got home and tried to oblige the napkin, […]

Prioritizing Precious Expenditures: Livery Design or Customer Experience?

Aviation buffs everywhere love a beautiful livery, but painting and re-painting a fleet isn’t cheap. As part of its merger with Continental, United Airlines is in the process of rebranding its livery—for the second time in the past seven years (see AirlineReporter’s hilarious account here). With a fleet of roughly 700, the physical process of […]


Do you remember the first time you ever flew? What did you remember about it? How big the cabin was on the inside? How small those cars looked on the ground below? The pain in your ears from the air pressure, or perhaps the gum you had to chew to make it go away? Alice […]

Airline Marketing Job #1: Ban the Phrase “There Is Nothing I Can Do”

It’s no secret that I believe an airline’s first and foremost “marketing” task, before a single dollar goes into fancy logos and brochures, is to take every step possible to deliver a consistent experience to each and every customer. While the nature of the business means that this is not always possible operationally (airlines often […]

Stick to the Point!

If my last post picked on United Airlines for leaving key information out of a message, this post will highlight the opposite extreme–including too much information so as to jumble a message. United has a corporate initiative called “Eco-Skies” designed to promote corporate responsibility to the environment. A noble cause, UA came up with a […]

Why Should I?

As airlines continue to grow into the social media age, there seems to be a common, clumsy mistake that will likely become a major point of contention in this space:  a call to action without a communicated incentive. Halfway through my flight from Washington (IAD) to Seattle last week, I received a special surprise along […]

Turkish Airlines vs. Kobe Bryant: The Right Kind of “Engagement?”

As ABC zoomed in on Kobe Bryant’s scowl heading into a commercial break during the Los Angeles Lakers’ surprise loss to New Orleans on Sunday, the last thing I expected was to see Kobe smiling at me 10 seconds later. Due to various image incidents throughout his career, the world’s best basketball player today–and formerly […]


As you can tell, I started dabbling in aviation blogging a couple of years ago, sharing some views I had formed from my experience working in the airline industry under the moniker “5yen.” After a nearly two-year hiatus, I’m pleased to announce the launch of this rebranded blog, AIRticulate. In this space, I will focus […]

Half-Assing It: Why Airline Marketing Efforts are Incomplete

Your mind is already halfway there. You’ve worked 14-hour days for past month, developing your strategic plan. You’ve prioritized your initiatives, calculated your budget, done your resource allocation, outlined your KPIs, and spent the past few late nights seasoning your presentation for the board. And you aced it. Now, it’s time to start thinking about […]

Customer Engagement Strategy for the Airline Industry