Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Communicator of the Week: British Airways

Awards. A nice evening out for the team and a chance to pop on a dinner jacket but really not all that important for building a strong brand. Or maybe not. 

British Airways has just been handed the accolade of top UK consumer brand by the annual Superbrands survey conducted by The Centre for Brand Analysis. To reach the top they beat other household name brands such as Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Andrex as well as the tech monsters like Google and Amazon. Once again, despite the positive media coverage  this secured for British Airways for an award that you cannot apply or pay for, does this or other awards matter?

The definition of a Superbrand demonstrates that they do: “A Superbrand has established the finest reputation in its field. It offers customers significant emotional and/or tangible advantages over its competitors, which customers want and recognise.”

If we take the second part of this first, BA was a successful and visible tier one sponsor of the 2012 London Olympic Games in my view helping them to nail the emotional connection with the brand. On the tangible advantages that is more subjective but BA’s marketing has focussed on innovation and investment in their new fleet of planes and a much talked about #lookup outdoor campaign, linking digital billboards in Chiswick and Piccadilly to flights passing by overhead.

It is though on the awards front that BA’s reputation has been brilliantly boosted. Throughout the past year British Airways won awards relating to its airline business (Best Airline, Best Short Haul Carrier, Best First Class, Sunday Times Travel Best Long and Short Haul awards) as well as their reward scheme (Best Frequent Flyer Programme) and Best Airport Lounge. On the communications front they won awards from the Marketing Society and the PRCA as well as for their sponsorship of the Olympics. 

All these awards communicate quality, reliability to deliver for their customers but also a point of distinction from their competitors. The sum of all this is to build a brilliant reputation for the brand and is why I am happy to give British Airways another award as my Communicator of the Week. 

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