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Why does British Airways spend on ads that aren’t designed to sell flights?

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses British Airways' advertising strategy, which focuses on emotional brand advertising rather than direct commercial ads. The goal is to position British Airways as the default choice for a great travel experience, even if it is more expensive than low-cost competitors. The article also compares this strategy to that of other companies like Target and Zara, who have shifted to an emotional proposition rather than competing solely on price.

🙋 Q&A

[01] British Airways' Advertising Strategy

1. What is the key focus of British Airways' advertising strategy?

  • British Airways' advertising strategy is focused on emotional brand advertising rather than direct commercial ads with a call-to-action or pitch for flying with the airline.
  • The goal is to get consumers excited about traveling and associate that excitement with the British Airways brand, making it the default choice for a great travel experience.

2. Why doesn't British Airways advertise its features and amenities?

  • If British Airways focused on advertising its amenities like better seats, food, and service, it would risk inviting price comparisons with low-cost competitors.
  • BA wants to avoid the conversation around whether the slightly better experience is worth the significantly higher price.

3. How does BA's advertising strategy put the brand in the "driver's seat"?

  • By focusing on emotional brand advertising, BA sets the bar for customer experience and expectations, rather than reacting to price competition.
  • This shifts the dynamic from "Is it worth paying more for BA?" to "I love BA, do I want the hassle of going with a cheaper option?"

[02] Comparison to Other Brands

1. How does BA's strategy compare to Target's approach?

  • Like Target, BA is shifting away from competing on price to focus on an emotional proposition and better customer experience.
  • Target survived by offering better design, stores, and collaborations, rather than competing directly with Walmart on price.

2. What is the strategy of fast fashion brands like Zara?

  • As low-cost fast fashion brands like Shein and Temu offer rock-bottom prices, Zara appears to be following a similar upmarket strategy to BA.
  • Zara has recorded a record share price, in part by raising its clothing prices, rather than competing solely on the lowest price.
Shared by Daniel Chen ·
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