Friday, October 19, 2007

Brand Update : Airdeccan

It seems this is a season of rebranding. Along side the mega rebranding of Hutch to Vodafone, another high profile rebranding is taking place .... at Airdeccan. After the high profile and highly surprising " acquisition " of Airdeccan by Kingfisher, the brand is going through a makeover.
When the media announced that Kingfisher has taken control over Airdeccan, one thing that will have popped up in the mind of a marketer is about the brand "Airdeccan ".
How will Mallya treat Airdeccan ? was the million dollar question. Personally I thought that Vijay Mallya will keep the two brands in two different platforms. How dare one can even think of integrating a low-price brand with a lifestyle brand ? My reading was that Mallya will definitely try to cut unprofitable routes , may tweak a little with the level of service at Airdeccan but keep the brand at arms length from Kingfisher.
But what Mallya did with Airdeccan made me realize again that I am still a student of Marketing.
Airdeccan has changed completely. From the brand name, the logo, positioning and all the brand elements. Airdeccan is now " Simplifly Deccan " . The earlier logo of Hands has paved way for the Kingfisher logo. The color of Yellow and Blue has changed to Red. The old tagline has been integrated to the new Brand name and the new positioning statement is " The Choice is Simple ".
According to, the rebranding exercise is costing around Rs 15 crore ( media spend).
The rebranding and the heavy secondary association with Kingfisher was surprising to me because I thought that it is highly risky for a premium brand to be associated with a price warrior brand. So any association of Kingfisher and Deccan may hurt the Kingfisher brand most. But having seen this repositioning exercise, I now have a changed point of view.
The new Simplifly Deccan is promising many things to the customer :
Excellence in timely performance
Wider Network
and more importantly " Little Delights all the way ". The new repositioning identifies all the weakness of Airdeccan. There were constant harping about poor customer service, delays and no free food. In blogs and forums , harried customers aired not so good words about Airdeccan while conveniently forgetting the fact that " You get what you paid for ".
Kingfisher has now bought in a breath of fresh air into Deccan. The Kingfisher airlines brand has established itself as a clear leader in delighting the customers by managing the Moments of Truth. Now that promise is being given to Airdeccan customers. And interestingly Mallya need not do much but just bring in the culture to Deccan. Deccan already have good planes, crew and infrastructure. Bring in Kingfisher culture will be the key change that we are going to see in Airdeccan... sorry... Simplifly Deccan.
The new positioning is also significant. The positioning of " The choice is simple " takes strength from the famous old tagline :Simplifly. It builds on the old platform and aims to be the " preferred airline " for the discerning customers.
So the questions remain. Will Kingfisher brand suffer by associating with a low price brand ? May be no because price was not what Kingfisher is all about. Whether it is Kingfisher airlines or the beer, the brand never was an expensive one. The focus was on experience and lifestyle. There can be huge expectations about the new Deccan and people ( including Kingfisher loyalists ) will try out the new Deccan but will see a clear demarcation on the service levels between the two. The Kingfisher experience will be limited to Kingfisher airlines but you will get a teaser of that in Deccan ( that may be the idea). Having said that , this rebranding exercise is definitely a risky affair for Kingfisher brand.

Related Brand