The airways’ customer base and target market
British Airways has positioned itself as an intercontinental carrier targeting the up-market clients such as business people. However, the company launched a subsidiary known as ‘Go’ that targeted the lower-market clients. British Airways was therefore in a position to cover both the up-market and the lower-market customers. However, the airline did not find the lower-market appealing and as a result sold it in order to fully concentrate on its original market: the up-market clients. Currently, British Airways concentrates on business executives on the upper end of the economic divide.
The airline has made a name for itself in this market category and other airlines have found themselves trailing behind it. British Airways marketing approach British Airways’ marketing organ is ‘the world’s preferred airline,’ a statement that has proved to be true in the up-market category. Other than the slogan, the airline also uses other methods to advertise itself. These methods include covert advertising, television commercials, infomercials, celebrity advertising, commercial advertising and newer media forms of advertising (Kilbourne, 2000). Covert advertising refers to the embedment of a brand or product in the entertainment media.
British Airways places such advertisements for its services in entertainment media such as movies and music channels (Williamson, 1994).
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Television has enabled British Airways to meet its objective of reaching to wider range of its potential clients. The airline also inserts virtual advertising into the standard television programming, mainly via computer graphics. British Airways runs a number of infomercials, mainly about the opportunities presented in their flight destinations. The airline uses both the short-form and long-form infomercials to communicate its products to its potential clients. Short-form commercials usually run for a period of between 30 seconds and two minutes while long-form ones run for about thirty minutes.
Infomercials add a great value to the advertising since they serve as direct response marketing (Williamson, 1994). As a result, they are often referred to as direct response television commercials. British Airways’ infomercials are aimed at creating an impulse purchase in the sense that the client sees the infomercial and buys the airline’s products via its website or the phone numbers provided in the infomercials. Through infomercials, the company demonstrates its services, displays and describes its products together with its features.
Some of these infomercials also include testimonials from satisfied consumers. The company also uses celebrities to advertise itself and reach out to the entertainment savvy clients (Kilbourne, 2000). Through this form of advertising, the company focuses on the use of celebrity popularity, money, fame and power to earn recognition for its range of products. These celebrities advertise the company’s products when they choose their favourite airline, whereby British Airways is chosen. The airline also involves celebrities in its advertising campaigns such as print and television advertisements.
Due to the television being overtaken by other forms of advertising at a rapid pace, British Airways has also taken to newer advertising and media approach. It makes use of the Internet and other devices like Tivoli. The company has adopted the World Wide Web phenomenon in the advertisement of its products (Louw, 2001). The new phenomenon of e-mail advertising via unsolicited e-mails, commonly known as spam is also used. British Airways also makes use of word-of-mouth advertising where they ensure customer satisfaction in order to have them back for more or to refer their friends and family to the airline (Williamson, 1994).
The airline also makes use of mobile phone advertisements such as advert games, video messaging, MMS pictures, coupons and banner adverts, calendars as well as a variety of other marketing campaigns. With the advent of social network advertising, the company stands to gain greatly in its advertising campaign (Leiss, 1990). This is because such advertising is not only an online form of advertising, but also focuses on social networking websites. Even though this market has not matured yet, it has portrayed a lot of promise for British Airways.
The company utilizes the demographic information that the user provides to the network service. The company also uses the various forms of commercial advertising such as banners, newspapers, magazines, human billboards and bus stop benches. Others include skywriting, web pop ups, shopping carts, mobile telephone screens, web banners, cinema adverts, radio, rack cards and printed flyers, and billboards. British Airways has adopted the Unique Selling Proposition as its marketing campaign basis to convince its potential clients to switch to its services.
The company does this by making propositions to their potential clients through their advertisements. The advertisements offer specific benefits of the airline’s products over other products by the airline’s competitors. These propositions made in British Airways’ advertisements are unique in the sense that they give the impression that none of the airline’s competitors offers the same services. In addition, the airline’s propositions are very strong and capable of moving the masses and pulling over new their services.
The airline also employs a number of other promotional strategies in its promotional campaign, such as public relations, sales promotion, and direct marketing. The main aim of all these is to augment the advertising strategies (Reeves, 1961). British Airways has a strong customer service department which is very effective in marketing the company. Moreover, the marketing and public relations functions of the company are carried out by the company employees, and not just the concerned department. The company has also been engaged in a number of corporate social responsibility initiatives.