1. A:Customers, shareholders, employees and communities to name a few. Co-branding allies, venture partners and wholesale corporate clients to name a few more.2. A: Bad service, old and dirty planes, fees for everything, etc. … fill in here.3. A: Rebrand United. Give it a new brand story that resurrects its iconic status and legacy in the American landscape of industry and return it to its former glory.
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_airlinesRef: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_AirlinesContinental Airlines was a major U.S. airline, founded in 1934 and headquartered in Houston, Texas. In May 2010, the airline announced that it would merge with UAL Corporation, the parent company of United Airlines, via a stock swap. The acquisition was completed in October 2010, at which time the holding company was renamed United Continental Holdings. During the integration period, both airlines ran separate operations under the direction of a combined leadership team, based in Chicago, Illinois. The integration was completed on March 31, 2013.So not once, but TWICE, Continental merged and dominated during historic depressions. So impressive! Speaks to its fiscal responsibility … What is United doing with that investor capital? Robert F. Six changed the name to "Continental" because he wanted the airline name to reflect his desire to have the airline fly all directions throughout the United States. Thus, the United name should continue to reflect that “fly anywhere, do anything” mentality.And did you know, they were both originally “Varney” airlines? United was “Varney Airlines” and Continental was “Varney Speed Lines,” though currently none of this information is mentioned in the company’s historic merger and legacy of making “firsts” together. “United Airlines originated from the Varney Air Lines air mail service of Walter Varney, who also founded Varney Speed Lines which later became Continental Airlines. Founded in Boise, Idaho in 1926, the carrier flew the first Contract Air Mail flight in the U.S. on April 6, 1926, marking the first scheduled airline service in the country's history.”
Key points: similar numbers in all categories, complementary details elsewhere, especially where hubs were concerned—no overlap! Antitrust issues solved.
Key points: The new “United” leaps ahead of industry leader, Delta/Northwest, with 21% of the marketshare.Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703969204575220372800747024.html
It seemed like a lucrative idea, and the merger promised synergies that were about to make United the leading airline in the United States, if not the world.
And customers wondered where the heck all those fees and fare costs went to when riding the mostly unaltered planes.
Hint to next slide … shareholders were right to be skeptical.
“Mr. Smisek said he takes inspiration from Delta, "which is doing quite well, which I'm delighted with because they're two years ahead of us" in absorbing its 2008 acquisition of Northwest Airlines. Delta last month announced plans to begin paying a quarterly dividend of six cents a share, and to buy back $500 million of its stock.Mr. Smisek said United has "absolutely every intention of paying a dividend to our shareholders. The time is not right now, but the time will come.”EEKS! Reference: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324049504578545681212270480.html
Not only was United “leaking” customers to younger, hipper airlines with cheaper fares, but it was quickly losing the loyalty Continental worked so hard to gain with its customer base and shareholders.
To add insult to injury, the new service level was the worst in the industry, according to a 2012 study. And in fact, when the merger began, United charged customers for EVERY bag checked. EVERY.
This bit of good news came from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, detailing a a customer’s ability to tweet about her dissatisfaction, then receive help from a customer service representative, as well as get a follow-up tweet from one of United’s social media customer service team members.In fact, there are several good bits of news coming through United’s channels of communications …
Why is Jeff’s Journal an intranet-only solution, as opposed to an intranet AND United internet site solution? Why don’t these internal and external channels share their content to broadcast the success stories to all their audiences? Employees, as well as customers, investors and communities?
Mo’ planes, mo’ problems!
But the fleet was “mature,” to be kind, and not necessarily getting better with age.“Mechanicals” were–and still are–leaving older planes delayed, stranded or cancelled … causing overbooking of flights, crowded airports and chaotic baggage-handling scenarios. Poor customers!
Even Bloomberg Businessweek recognized the two companies’ undeniable corporate chemistry. But was this a love built to last or just a one-night stand?
So the lights went out, and the brand was created in the dark.
And when the lights went on and the two met in the morning, United had taken Continental’s globe and Continental had taken United’s name.It was starting to feel as if they were two ships passing in the night … and that lack of brand was causing for a lot of confusion.
But that’s old news …. What’s going on today?
Well, the …. new brand—or lack thereof—leaves a lot to be desired.
And at least on their United.com site, they’re acknowledging the need for a rebrand. Points for that.
Meanwhile, other enterpreneurial minds are making leaps and bounds in the aerospace industry. The firs solar-powered flight landed in New York this past Saturday, July 6, making airline history.
And it looks like they had a great time doing it.
Here’s the pilot’s view on the left from his GoPro helmet cam, and in the center is his flight map. It was a great accomplishment.
Well, take a look at this flight map. It was and is a great accomplishment, perhaps the greatest in the industry in terms of destinations.
As well, United responded immediately this weekend to help its Star Alliance partner, Asiana Airlines, in recovering passengers from a flight that’s tail ripped off and roof burned off.
United’s social media response was timely, professional and sensitive, and the social media community—made up of customers, competitors and others—responded receptively to its warmth.
So, what is going on here?
Well, let’s take a little quiz and find out.
Ref: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-20-best-airlines-in-the-world-2013-4?op=1Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Us_airwaysSweetheart merger ofAmerican (260) + USAirways (198) = 458!!!Also, as part of trick question, FedEx has about the same as United = 374-375. Go figure!
Ref: The Worst Flight in America, (WSJ, ) - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324412604578513233389346270.htmlRefs: J.D. Power & Associates, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNN.com, Cleveland.com, BloombergBusinessweek, Gulliver Business Travel in the Economist, Consumer Reports, Fox News … Fox News: “According to a Consumer Reports' airline ranking released Wednesday, Virgin America, a separate company from Virgin Atlantic, got the survey's top marks for check-in, flight attendants, the in-flight entertainment options, cabin cleanliness and seat comfort. Virgin was also the only airline to get top marks for baggage handling.Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2013/05/22/consumer-reports-rates-best-and-worst-airlines/#ixzz2YVleJwnZ”
“There are three kinds of airlines now: full-service, international network airlines like United, Delta Air Lines DAL +0.16% and American Airlines; lower-fare, lower-fee value carriers like Southwest, JetBlue Airways JBLU +1.43% and Virgin America, and ultra-low-cost, high-fee carriers like Spirit Airlines, SAVE -0.15% Allegiant Air and Frontier. Nowhere do all three types compete head-to-head as they do in Denver. What happens in the battle for Denver may well foreshadow what kind of airline service wins out in the long run around the country.” Middle Seat Columnist, WSJ.com Source: How Southwest Airlines Changed The Equation in Denver (WSJ, June 6, 2013) - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324299104578527301162186278.html
So you can’t just be the largest airline. You have to be the leading airline too to be the greatest show on Earth.
Introducing The United Brand Story:(triumph over reputational setbacks)Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map
• Real-Time Service: synchronized service across all customer touch points: real-time responses to service issues with total media transparency• The “Silk Road” of Travel: the most diverse, reliable fleet of airliners in the sky on the largest flight map around the world (the "silk road" of travel), a seamless, silky travel experience … literally and figuratively floating through the clouds.• Bespoke Airfare: All the “boutique airline” amenities; none of its limitations. A fuller range of pricing, seating and service options to customize your travel experience. United has one of the most robust operational infrastructures in the industry, due to its international scope and size. Helping people utilize that to meet their budgets or luxury/amenity expectations.
Customers have taken a figurative crash into reality with the latest service on airlines, and want to be spirited away again. Reloft their dreams! Be that brand.
Think like a designer: What looks good in a thumbnail? What is clean, simple and connects me with that aspirational audience? Design elements: clouds or horizon to consider. Think like a mobile app creator: Clean. Exact. Powerful. Iconic. Warm. The imagery should harken back to the "Speak softly but carry a big stick" days of the airline’s origin, meaning, "Be the big airline everyone knows has muscle, but only use it to rescue people from adversity. Otherwise, speak gently and be kind to those who chose to give you business," and combine it with the kind of big-data analyzing, mind mapping, real-time tracking problem-resolution airline everyone expects you to be.
Here would be an example of what you could do with the copy to tie in the notion of dreams and clouds.
And what better place to unite people with their dreams than on the soon-to-be-released 787 Dreamliners™? And I know that Rhapsody in Blue has been United’s song for a very long time, but … almost too long. The song is dramatic, fraught with tension and is unflatteringly associated with United’s past, the crashes in the ‘80s, and other issues. I’d propose a new song. One that feels as light, and fresh, and seamless as the travel dream we’re trying to create. (Play YouTube song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVz1ATv7vR8) The song is “Blue Skies” by Maxine Sullivan.
Questions? Comments? Feeling the love?Contact: Roxanne Tomcortomco@gmail.com@rtomco #united415-830-0213
130709 united rebranding(interbrand)_final
Rebranding U N I T E D
Restoring brand value and promise
to the world’s greatest airline
Answering the 3 questions:
1. Who is United’s audience? (Hint: there are
several of them …)
2. What are their problems?
3. What is the solution?
History of United’s brand and business
Service has suffered from lack of brand vision
What are other airlines doing?
Looks like customers are liking that.
How do you get them back?
Answer: New brand, new marketshare.
History: Both Continental and United were born
And it seems like they were a perfect match.
But problems were afoot, and the brand was
beleaguered by the age-old “airline fees” gripe.
And it wasn’t just a customer complaint …
United Continental on Mend After ‘Awful’ Year,
CEO Says – WSJ.com
And the critics started bellowing …
… though their complaints weren’t unfounded.
Funny enough, United was and is improving …
The problem is: Nobody knows about it.
^^^ United’s intranet, flyingtogether.ual.com
Additionally, the merger resulted in a significant
boost to the United company’s fleet size.
“Mature = Better with Age” or “Mature = Old”?
“Mechanicals” cause chaos.
Customers having to make up for lost time in very
Though I’m not sure they’re smiling this much.
Answer: Develop a new brand, attract a new
Travel. It's in our blood as Americans. We left in search of something new. We left to follow our dreams.
United was born during adversity, just like most of you were—if you're human, there's difficulty. And the airline has
seen America through some of its toughest times.
It has flown you to meet loved ones after disaster and toward the horizon of your brilliant new career. It has united
moms and dads with grandparents seeing their grandchild for the first time. It has united adoptive parents with their
new baby setting foot on foreign soil.
It is an iconic American company whose triumph over setbacks has proven it will refresh its attitude, revamp its look
and rebuilt its assets to keep its customers and maintain its indelible imprint on the global psyche, the new frontier of
American business. We are growing, changing and maturing just like you are. We get excited about progress and never
stop working for perfection, just like you do.
Its pilots are the men and women who went the extra mile in school to become, for some, the first "female pilot" their
families knew, and to ensure their excellence was the thing that took you up and brought you down safely. Its flight
attendants, ground crew and travel agents are your mothers, sisters, cousins and brothers who live to travel, just like
you do. Its founders wouldn't settle for just an American airline, they wanted a global one, just like you do, with hubs in
every place your heart desires to be and stops in every city on your bucket list.
We said "Yes!" to the future just like you did.
This is United: a triumph of human spirit and expansion, along with you on the journey to the new frontier. And it's not
just the exploration of space that we seek, but the mapping of every internal and external place worth going. Be united
with your dreams.
AUDIO CLIP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSq_nwoG43s
All that is to say, the new Brand Proposition is here:
We’re in the business of uniting people with their
Brand Proposition in Practice:
Streamlining essentials, customizing the rest.
Everything else cascades from
the Brand Story and Brand Proposition,
“We’re in the business of uniting people with their dreams.”
The rest of the downstream business details will be put to the test:
Does this meal create a memory for me? If not, which brand can we bring in
to co-partner with to make it memorable?
Is that a dreamy voyage?
Am I floating through this experience, among the clouds?
If not, start over.
Tagline: A Breadth of Fresh Air.
Speaks to the width of:
• Travel scope or places to go
• Greater spectrum of choices as a consumer
• One of the largest and most diverse fleets
in the industry
Why be in the clouds without the cloud?
Introducing wi-fi on 787 Dreamliner™ flights.
Giving you the technology you need to work and
the inspiration to finish the job.
Rebranding U N I T E D
Restoring brand value and promise
to the world’s greatest airline