JetBlue is a low cost US airline. The firm was founded by former Southwest Airlines employee, David Neeleman, and incorporated in 1998 in Delaware. The firm was not originally known as JetBlue, the initial name was NewAir. The plans for the new airline were announced by Neeleman in February 1999, and in April an order worth $4 billion was given to Airbus for up to 75 new A320 aircraft, at the same time leases were arranged for 8 aircraft. The firm gained exemptions for 75 take off and landing slots at JFK Airport in September, takes delivery of the first aircraft in December, and officially starts flights on 11 February 2000 (JetBlue, 2012). The first was being between JFK and Fort Lauderdale, a week later a route between JFK and Buffalo is added, and as the next few months services to Tampa, Orlando, Ontario, Oakland, West Palm Beach and Fort Myers are added. By the end of the first calendar year of operation the airline has flown 1 million passengers and reported $100 million of revenue (JetBlue, 2012).
2001 was a difficult year for the aviation industry following the 9/11 attacks, despite this JetBlue was one of the few airlines maintained a profit (Zuckerman, 2001). However, in the following years the success of this airline in the low-cost carrier segment resulted in increased competition including the setup of Song by Delta and Ted by United Airlines, both of which are now defunct (Maynard, 2008). In 2002 the airline flew its 5 millionth customer, and undertook its' initial public offering (JetBlue, 2012).
The airline has grown, with the concept of a value based low cost service that is differentiated which has included a wide range entertainment channels, including live satellite television and radio (JetBlue, 2012). The introduction of the customer bill of rights has also been a source of differentiation, setting out the way that the airline will deal with customers in a range of situations such as delays and set out specific levels of compensation (JetBlue, 2012).
The airline has suffered some difficult years as a result of rising fuel costs, but has survived and today flies roughly 700 flights with a fleet of 169 aircraft to 70 different destinations, mainly within the US, as well as Mexico and 12 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America (JetBlue, 2012).
The airline has a growth strategy and to grow it is not only operations that are important, it is also the marketing to support the image of the firm and the brand image (Kotler and Keller, 2008). The importance of this can be assessed along with the way it may be developed further in a strategic manner to support the growth strategy, especially when the firm is looking at international exceptions where there may be different interpretations of brand images (Shaw and Onkvist, 2004).
2.Strategic Brand Management
There are several consideration when looking at the way a brand may be used strategically, these include; • The way that the brand is differentiated from the competition in order to attract interest and support the purchase decision. • A good alignment of the brand image and values with the product offering and positioning. • The determination of the way that the brand will be managed in the different countries it is found, with the choice made between standardization and localization.
To assess the way that JetBlue has strategically developed and used its' brand image each of these areas of strategy consideration may be examined in theory and the context of JetBlue.
It has been argued by Michael Porter (1985) that there are two ways in which a firm may gain a competitive advantage; cost advantage and differentiation. Cost advantage is seen when a firm is able to provide a service product or services at a lower operational cost compared to competitors. This does not mean the firm has a low price to the...