MN6005 Managing Corporate Reputation
Case Study: Ryanair www.ryanair.com
Despite being a hugely successful company, with revenues in 2013 of Euro:4,884 million, and profits of Euro:569 million, the ‘no-frills’ airline Ryanair has a number of problems. It regularly comes bottom, or near the bottom, of every major customer satisfaction survey, customers regularly use social media to complain about the dreadful quality of service, its belligerent CEO, Michael O’Leary, brushes aside any criticisms of his company, claiming that he gives customers what they want – cheap ‘no-frills’ flights with little quality service - and there is even a website called ‘I Hate Ryanair’ (see www.ihateryanair.org). But things are changing. In 2013 and 2014, faced with reductions in predicted profits, many shareholders, plus other key stakeholders, are asking Michael O’Leary many tough questions, and are demanding that Ryanair radically improves its levels of customer service, turns its negative publicity into positive publicity by managing its communications more effectively, plus radically improves its overall corporate reputation. Ryanair’s CEO O’Leary finally agreed, and made 2014 the year of change for Ryanair (see: www.ryanair.com/en/news/ryanair-announces-customer-service-improvements-over-next-6-months, plus also ww.thedrum.com/news/2014/01/17/ryanair-insists-it-s-changing-2014-weekly-twitter-chats-and-new-irish-ad).
O’Leary will clearly need help, and will require the expertise from the industry’s best corporate communication professionals - you - in producing a comprehensive communications presentation / report which identifies Ryanair’s key stakeholders, and improves communication with them in order to: (i) improve the company’s customer service, identity, and image (ii) ensure the company gains positive publicity, and (iii) develop a strong corporate reputation for the company overall
Selected newspaper articles:
1.The Economist, Tuesday Feb 4th 2014, by C.R.
Ryanair: Price or quality - pick one
RYANAIR is the airline Europeans love to hate. Horror stories abound about flying with the carrier that took the no-frills model to a new extreme. Some find its hidden charges annoying: one British family in 2012 were charged €300 ($405) to print out boarding passes they left at home. Others are driven to distraction by petty irritations, such as noisy announcements flogging perfume and booze on night flights, when most people would prefer to be snoozing. Yet needling customers has not, so far, stopped Ryanair becoming one of the largest airlines in Europe. An estimated 81m passengers used it last year, more than flew with rivals like British Airways and easyJet. So why do people still fly with Ryanair, even as they moan about standards of customer service? When I got caught up in travel disruption at Dublin airport this week, the answer to this conundrum became clear. In spite of spending almost four hours sitting on a motionless Ryanair plane that was then cancelled, followed by another long wait in the terminal until we finally boarded a new flight, passengers were surprisingly forgiving. “It’s not like we’re doing anything else today”, commented a pair of retired teachers on holiday. For them, price was more important than service. Flights with the airline were so cheap, most passengers seemed to feel, that it did not matter if occasionally things went wrong. “To be fair I paid only £20 [$32] for this flight,” another holidaymaker smugly announced to her fellow travellers, only to be deflated when informed that her neighbour paid even less. Only two people on the plane, in fact, really seemed to be getting annoyed: one who missed his connection and another who was travelling on business. In short, at least according to my rather limited sample, it seems that holidaymakers are willing to fly Ryanair because it’s...
References: should be included as a bibliography and should follow the Harvard system. For example:
Boddy, D (2007) Introduction to Management, (4th ed) Essex: Pearson Education Ltd
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