Singapore Airlines Apply to Differentiation Strategy

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  • Topic: Airline, Singapore Airlines, Brand
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Singapore Airlines - An Excellent Asian Brand 
Think about one of the strongest brands from Asia, and chances are that Singapore Airlines and its long-serving, almost iconic Singapore Girl easily come to mind. Singapore Airlines has consistently been one of the most profitable airlines globally, and has always had the reputation of a trendsetter and industry challenger. There are several good reasons for this. Most relates directly to the strong brand management driven primarily by the Singapore Airlines boardroom and top-management, and the healthy brand equity as the result of a dedicated, professional brand strategy throughout a diversified, global organisation. The Singapore Airlines brand has been instrumental for the airline from the early start. It serves as one of the leading brand cases from Asia for other established brands as well as any aspiring brands. The Singapore Airlines brand is unique in the sense that the boardroom takes dedicated leadership of the brand strategy unlike many other Asian companies. Background

Singapore Airlines (SIA) began in 1947 as Malayan (later Malaysian) Airlines in a joint venture between the Malaysian and Singapore governments, serving primarily the South East Asian region. In 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia, and later the two governments agreed to set up separate airlines. Singapore Airlines was born in 1972. Singapore Airlines was in a different position than most other airlines at the time. There were no domestic routes to serve it was forced to immediately start competing with international airlines for routes, getting access to airports, securing flight slots and landing rights, and attracting a new customer base. Unlike most state-owned entities, Singapore Airlines was subject to heavy competition from the onset and this tough start created a driving spirit to compete and also a dedication to branding, especially in the boardroom. These factors have prevailed within the organization since then, and served the airline very well as the following will illustrate. Building the Brand

Singapore Airlines decided on a fully branded product/service differentiation strategy from the very beginning. Innovation, best technology, genuine quality and excellent customer service were to become the major drivers of the brand. Throughout the course of their 32-year history, Singapore Airlines has remained true to their brand attributes. They have pioneered many in-flight experiential and entertainment innovations, and strived to be best-in-class. SIA was the first to introduce hot meals, free alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, hot towels with a unique and patented scent, personal entertainment systems, and video-on-demand in all cabins. The company keeps driving innovation as an important part of the brand, and the cabin ambience and combined experience are key factors of their success. On the technology side, Singapore Airlines still maintains the youngest fleet of aircraft amongst all major air carriers, and keeps to the stringent policy of replacing older aircrafts for newer, better models. They have always been first in line to take delivery of new aircraft types like Boeing 747 jumbo jets, Boeing 777, and they will become the first airline to fly the Airbus Super jumbo A-380 in 2006. Even the aircrafts are sub-branded like 747-Megatop and 777-Jubilee to further distinguish SIA and its brand from competitors. Singapore Airlines also flew Concorde between Singapore and London in the late 70'ties in collaboration with British Airways (BA). The aircraft was painted with SIA's colours and logos on one side, and BA's on the other, and it carried crew from both airlines. The strategy behind the technology program is clear: It enhances cost efficiency to use the latest aircrafts and at the same time, Singapore Airlines uses these events for marketing purposes. An example of this was the new non-stop services to Los Angeles and New York launched in 2004, which attracted huge...
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