If you are planning on flying somewhere within the country these days, your choice of domestic airline is likely to be IndiGo. With a television commercial that stands out from the rest of the competition, and the fact that this is an airline that prides itself on being on time, Indigo is the way to go. The airline is touted to be the youngest airline in the Indian sky with the most awards and commands 27% of the market with over 355 daily flights.
I happen to travel by this airline last weekend for a quick hop to Chennai. One of the first things that you notice when you get to an airport is the fact that the Kingfisher check-in counter is relatively empty. Next in line being Jet Airways. The biggest lines to be seen however are queued up at the Indigo check in counter. Packed flights and long queues, signs of an airline that is not only prospering but has managed to garner brand loyalty amongst frequent fliers (without a flying points program as well I’d wager.) While I personally found the seats to be kind of cramped, there were several things that caught my eye from a marketing perspective.
At the beginning of the flight when you are getting strapped in and the air-hostess goes through the various routines, you may notice that the captain makes it a point to introduce the crew, telling you where they hail from and what languages that they know. This is a nice touch, especially when you hail from a country that has different languages and many first time fliers. One thing I would like to see them add is to have the flight crew being introduced in each of the languages that they know. Could be a bit time consuming, but if done well it adds a reassurance to any of the people who speak that language. One of my friends once told me that the best way to break the ice is to speak the same language.
One thing I couldn’t quite fathom was the use of an angled walkway to board and de-plane. Personally I thought that a normal staircase was much more comfortable and was glad that they used the same at the rear of the airplane. Descending the ramp with heavy baggage is no easy feat, especially if you happen to be an elderly person. True I expect wheelchair bound people can be wheeled up the ramp more easily. Whether that was the motivation, or whether it was to increase the speed of boarding, I can’t quite figure.
The in-flight literature – ‘Hello 6E’, from a copywriter’s viewpoint is quite a delight. Each product on offer is preluded with a witty headline that leads the reader in. For example the page with T-Shirts are captioned ‘Addicteed’ and the scale model has ‘Model of a modern global airline’ as a headline. True some can argue that this may be wasted on the common man flying on these flights, I on the other hand think that this is a clever way to carve out a memorable niche. In fact while I do not remember the actual copy, I recall there was something witty on the staircase that boards the aircraft as well! Added to this is the use of the brand’s characteristic font in all its communication whether it is the in-flight magazine or the cover photos on Facebook or print ads.
Behind every seat you will find that the seat cover ends with a toll free number. Users are requested to use the toll free number or website for any customer complaints. It is interesting that a visit to the facebook page of the brand revealed that the company does not solicit any kind of customer complaint on the wall. This is a bold step and a very good way to ensure that just brand communications and offers are pushed on the FB wall. With a respectable 17000 odd fans talking about them, they must be doing something right.
As the brand matures I think they will find more ways to carve out a niche for themselves. Right now the company is focussed on getting its product and service right, and kudos to them for achieving it.