How does a brand that is still premium in price fair so well in our ‘live well for less’ world? Especially when other iconic brands such as Cadbury, BMW and Sony have fallen out of the Top 20 this year? This customer perception accolade also comes at a time when International Airlines Group, the owner of British Airways, reported a 65% jump in annual profits after a bumper year of strong demand and low fuel costs.
It doesn’t come as any surprise to us here at Antelope that customer perception of British Airways - be it a consumer or business customer - reflects its financial success, how the strength of its brand promise has led to its success.
It has also made us more committed to our belief that brand equity and understanding your bit of ‘gold dust’ can really help brands stand out and stand the test of time. And how important it is to understand your audiences, find their value proposition and communicate this proposition to each audience continues to be.
Over the years I have seen so many senior management teams dismiss the importance of the brand. To side track the essence of what their brand is for discussions about profit margins. Believing brand marketing is too intangible to be justified, and communications is solely something that features on the cost rather than revenue line of the balance sheet.
I am going to say this loud and clear - Finding out what makes you different than your competitors, what your brand promise is and hinging the hub of your content on this difference is the key to brand success, and the key to financial success.
In fact, far from being intangible there is a process, even a science. Situational analysis, competitor and market research, identifying your audiences, and your potential audiences, possibly redefining that audience, identifying their emotional responses, their reasons for purchase and linking your brand essence to these emotional triggers - are all part of that process. It can be intense, it is brand navel gazing, but it isn’t indulgent.
Let’s go back to British Airways' success. Stephen Cheliotis, the Chairman of the Expert Councils and Chief Executive at The Centre for Brand Analysis (TCBA) comments, “British Airways continues to be deemed a perfect representation of a brand that embodies quality, reliability and distinction; the three facets inherent in a Superbrand.” What British Airways also continues to do is to understand it’s brand proposition, flex those three facets of quality, reliability and distinction to its audiences -both in a B2C and a B2B context - and stand straight and firm on its brand promise, and watch as it reaps the benefits. What’s not super about that?