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Development of EasyJet's Marketing Campaign

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 4856 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Over the years, the aviation industry has seen drastic changes. More and more low cost airlines are gaining popularity in significant markets for their services. There has been an increase in passengers who are now choosing to travel a low cost airline. This started off with less than 2 million passengers in 1994 (Mason, 2000)

The universal model of a low cost airline is the reduced fare price in comparison to tradition airline. There are common core characteristics which are common to most low cost airlines. Such as use of internet bookings, minimum crew on board, passengers have to pay for their food and drinks, passengers pay while booking their seats, faster turnaround times, use of secondary airports, e-ticketing, no connections and point to point services (Doganis, 2001, Williams, 2001, Mason et al., 2000).

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At their inception, the sole purpose of a low cost airline was to provide cost effective travel and the target was mainly the leisure market. (Mason, 2000) However there have been significant reports of about 40-80% business travelers in a low cost airline travel for the purpose of business (Mc Whirter, 2000). This helps us see the potential of a low cost airline in an altogether different light. It is hence important to understand the nature of the business travel market so that managers can explicitly take advantage of the market changes (Mason, 2001)

The brand that I have chosen is local home grown lost cost airline is Easy Jet. With a strong capital base in the UK, Easy Jet is known for its easy and affordable point to point travel to Europe. With over 10,000 people, including 2,865 pilots and 6,516 cabin crew members, the low cost airline has an excellent retention score of over 9.0%. Easy Jet claims that the success of their business depends on a number of factors. This includes constantly engaging with their stakeholders such as employees, customers, suppliers, (including infrastructure owners and operators e.g. airports, air traffic control), regulators and national governments and maintaining good relations. (Corporate easy jet)

Diagram 1: (Abratt and Kleyn, 2012)

The above diagram is a theoretical corporate branding framework of Abratt and Kleyn (2012). The framework helps us understand the key concepts of corporate identity, corporate branding and corporate reputation. We shall use it, to understand in detail about our case study of Easy Jet and its alignment with the corporate branding frameworks. The nature of these universal concepts is shown through the multi-dimensional arrow.

Accordingly to the Abratt and Kleyn (2012), the corporate identity of an organization refers to the understanding of what the organization is which includes foremost (mission, vision, values, culture) and what is seeks to be through (strategic formulation and strategic implementation), this further comprises of its strategic choices and the corporate expression which is also a part of the corporate brand. However, accordingly to (Balmer, 1995), the corporate brand identity is the dominantly the company’s view and it helps define not only “who they are” and but also “what they are not” which Abratt and Kleyn (2012) fail to recognize thus giving a clear vision in the minds of its multiple stakeholders.

Easy Jet’s core corporate value clearly defines offering friendly services to their passengers thus making a difference. (Corporate easy jet) However, in a recent event, it was reported that many of Easy Jet’s flights were cancelled and delayed from Bristol airport and to the utmost despair, the customers were made to sit and wait for hours with no food, drinks and some even had to spend the night at the airport. (Wood, 2017) This contradicts the claims they make of offering of “friendly services” and “making a difference”.

Abratt and Kleyn (2012) the corporate identity (strategic choices- mission, vision and core values values) backs the corporate expression of the brand. Although most scholars including, Abratt and Kleyn (2012) consider corporate identity to be a separate entity to corporate brand, I think that the corporate identity should be within the corporate brand as it contributes to building the framework for its corporate expression and brand image (diagram1)

According to (Balmer and Gray, 2003) a corporate brand is a pathway through which a firm can build its image in the minds of multiple stakeholders and achieve corporate brand equity and brand reputation. A corporate brand consists of two aspects: the corporate expression (how it would like to be seen) and the brand image (which is shaped by the stakeholder’s perception) of the organization (Abratt and Kleyn, 2012). The corporate expression is then further subdivided into: visual identity, brand promise, brand personality and brand communication.

Balmer (1995, page no of the quote) quoted “Corporate brands are born out of corporate identities, but live in the minds of groups and individuals” thus emphasizing on the importance of verbal identification (what they saying) and visual identification (how they want to be seen); with the company logo and the significance of the colors in shaping the corporate brand identity (Balmer, 1995). The Easy Jet logo, significantly uses the orange color in its company logo, uniforms of the cabin crew, color schemes (interiors and exteriors) of the airlines, website and so on which defines them as spirited airline (corporate easy jet)

At the heart of corporate brand management, every organizations maintains a bi-lateral relationship with its stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers, investors and so on) and there is an informal contract of a promise between the two; this is what we called the brand promise (the promise made from the corporate side and what is expected from its stakeholders) (Balmer, 1995) Easy Jet promises an easy and affordable travel for all with good connectivity across Europe. However, with the recent figures that came in by the Civil Aviation Authority shows that when it comes to punctuality, easy Jet is the worst airline. While the airline takes pride in makes the whole flying experience easy for the passengers. (Mann, 2017)

(Aaker 1997) defines brand personality as a human like qualities that are associated with a brand that makes it more real. He further goes on to describe that there are 5 dimensions of brand personality (diagram 2). Every dimension comes with a certain set of qualities and it’s the personality of the brand that the multiple stakeholders resonant with. If we had to analyze the personality of Easy jet based on all the evidence, we can say the brand personality would be sincerity (honest and wholesome), Excitement (Spirited and up-to-date) and competence (reliable and successful). However, in another recent event a student of Imperial College was denied boarding for her holiday due to over booking despite having a confirmed ticket and the seat was actually offered to another passenger. This caused a lot of distress not only to the student and her holiday companion (Calder, 2018). This doesn’t display Easy Jet brand personality of sincerity, reliability and being up-to-date.

Diagram 2: (Aaker, 1997)

Melewar et al, describes corporate communication(cited in Abratt and Kleyn, 2012) as a means by which an organization chooses to communicate to its stakeholders; in an attempt to form good relationships with groups of people (Van Riel; as cited by Abratt and Kleyn, 2012) and how consistent is a firm’s with its communication adds to the credibility of the organization Bronn et al. (as cited by Abratt & Kleyn, 2012). Van Riel refers to three sub‐types of communication: (cited in Abratt & Kleyn, 2012) organizational communication, management communication and marketing communication. The way an organization might choose to communicate with its internal stakeholders might be different from the way it would choose to communicate with its external stakeholders (Balmer, 1995) Hence it is important to decide to which stakeholder you wish to communicate too.

When Easy Jet’s came up with its new campaign the aim was at creating value to their stakeholders (as a whole) through an “emotional connect” by inspiring travel. This was reflected in their TVC which showed a passenger fantasizing across Europe and the ad ends with the tagline, “Imagine where we can take you”. The advert was out on various channels of traditional and new age media with focus on digital innovation and customer experience. (Fleming, 2018)

Easy Jet has opted for an integrated marketing campaign with the total value spent €12m media budget across Europe and Blair. Although they do understand the importance of television, the focus was digital media with an ambition to improve the overall customer engagement and experience through the easy Jet app (Fleming, 2018) Hence, a fundamental part of easyJet’s strategy is the implementation of a wider digital strategy such as a web platform and their mobile offering. With an increase of 30% since last year, easy jet’s award winning App has was downloaded 18.3 million times. However despite all this, they still face website issues where a passenger couldn’t go ahead and book her tickets due to a server issue. (whypeor41, 2017)

This takes us to second aspect in the theoretical framework (diagram1) of Abratt and Kleyn (2012) which is brand image of how stakeholders perceive the organization. (Abratt and Kleyn,2012) go on to say that stakeholders do not directly intermingle with the corporate identity of the organization however they do experience the brand and draw a brand image. They then add that some go ahead and form a relationship with a brand and further become a part of the brand community. However, the point I would like to make here is that there are different types of stakeholders. For instance, in some scenarios a person can be a founder/ investor / a consumer of the brand and can hence be likely to interact and have a say in forming the corporate identity of the organization. Also most stakeholders who do become a part of the brand community are mostly because the brand gives them a sense of identity and they identify with the corporate identity. Some examples would be fans of Manchester United, Game of throne, Indian cricket team and so on. Hence making a statement that the stakeholders do not have an interaction what-so-ever with the corporate identity would not be appropriate. The brand image can further be divided into 3 subtypes: the brand experience, brand relationship and brand community. 

To build a strong corporate image it is essential that corporate brands build a lasting brand experience which would go down in the memory of the stakeholders and strength their memories and the associations they have with the brand (Abratt & Kleyn,2012) In the year 2014 ,Easy Jet chose to give its flyers an experience of a lifetime where for almost a week prior to Christmas, Easy Jet held carol concerts on their flights from Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Lisbon Rome and London with the aim to spread some cheer over the Christmas festive season. (Easy Jet, 2014)

Another example of how an accidently damage caused by Easy Jet with a baby push chair, got the passengers really annoyed and how they overcame this challenge by providing a spare one from the unclaimed department and helped take control of the situation. Its continuous efforts like these that will enrich the brand experience (Flight, 2014)

To understand brand relationship better, the concept of brand resonance was proposed. This refers to the nature of the relationship the stakeholder shares with the brand and the extent to which the stakeholders resonate with the brand. (Keller, 2001) Such loyal stakeholders actively seek to interact with the brand through different means and share their experience with others. (Keller, 2012).Easy Jet encourages its employers to gain professional qualifications, recruit’s individuals from various cultures and backgrounds thus increasing diversity in the workforce; thus one might say Easy Jet is multi-cultural. It regularly supports their employees through local donations, living up to its brand promise of being responsible and responsive employer (corporate easy jet)

Brand culture and communities play a very important role in evoking the personal identity of an individual or of groups of individuals who share a common platform. The legal ownership versus the emotional ownership of a brand is long argued about. The emotional ownership of a brand goes way beyond just the ones that have a share/stake within the company but extends to internal and external stakeholders associated with the corporate brand thus leading to a revolution in the way how one emotional feels about that brand leading the brand a strong corporate brand culture and community. (Balmer)

EasyJet’s launch of the Amy Johnson Flying Initiative, in partnership with the British Women Pilots Association in partnership with STEM to encourage more women pilots in the workforce (Easy Jet, 2017) In 2015, at the 20th anniversary campaign, passengers who have flown using Easy Jet since 1995 were encouraged to share their own travel stories and to send in their favorite holiday snaps across Europe using #TimeFlies (Davis, 2015). Building a brand community leads to promoting stakeholder engagement with its internal and external stakeholders but also helps build a brand image and reputation in the future. (Abratt & Kleyn, 2012)

Accordingly to the Abratt and Kleyn (2012) theoretical model, all this finally boils down to corporate reputation. They go on to talk about an organization usually have one or more reputation and denotes that a single reputation at a point in time is highly unlikely. However it also goes on to contradict by mentioning about the brand associated stimuli such as interactions with the individuals or groups, employees, mass communication that enable to form perceptions which consolidates to form a common impression at a point in time. This common image in the minds of the stakeholders then leads to corporate reputation. For instance: Brands like BMV, Virgin and Mercedes are some of the brands that over the years have built a single impression and a corporate reputation in the minds of its stakeholders.

Over the years, Easy Jet has won many awards and accolades in the aviation Industry in the UK and even in Europe. Let’s have a look at the awards won from 2015- till now (Corporate easy Jet)

“Best Low Cost Carrier”, 2018 for the 14th successive year Business Traveler Magazine’s (Corporate easy jet)

Best airline for business travel – EMEA region 
Italian Mission Award event 2017, 2016, 2015

Best Short Haul airline
Buying Business Travel Awards 2017, 2016, 2015

Best low-cost airline
Publituris Portugal Travel Awards 2016, 2015

Winning these accolades over the years has definitely helped Easy Jet expand its horizon and provides substantial growth and returns for its shareholders and stakeholders. However they still struggle with other brand measures and fail to be amongst the top 5 for recommendation amongst customers (Fleming, 2018)

(Davis, 2015) On the occasion of their 20th anniversary campaign they also released their very first advert of 1995 on social media which offered flights at £29.99 at the cost of the jeans. The purpose of this campaign was to show how much they have grown, evolved and even revolutionized air travel with a hope to inspire the next generation Easy Jet (Karakter casting, 2016)

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In its recent partnership with UNICEF since 2012 where Easy Jet helped raise funds over £10 million including over £1.5 million in the financial year 2017 to primarily support UNICEF’S vaccination work as a part of the global efforts to ensure the eradication of this deadly disease and to keep children safe from polio. (corporate easy jet) We can safely say that the measures taken in CSR will definitely help Easy Jet build a good brand reputation.

Coming back to our theoretical framework (diagram1) of Abratt and Kleyn (2012), for someone trying to understanding the concepts and how they are inter-linked this module can be bit mis-leading as they do make a lot of contradictory remarks. Nonetheless it is still very simplified and helps us understand in detail the over-all theoretical framework of corporate brand management practices. After creating a corporate identity, the organization must thrive towards creating a strong corporate brand through its expression and building a strong brand thus contributing to build a strong corporate reputation over a period of time.

Based on all the evidences that we have here are some of the recommendations for Easy Jet. Easy Jet has been ranked as the worst airline when it comes to punctuality (Wood, 2017) The company should take it upon itself to come up with strong delays/cancelation policy and incorporate it in their brand promise. If the flight is going to be delayed for over 3hours or cancelled, the passengers should be informed prior to them making their way to the airport via messages or calls, so that the passenger can plan their travel accordingly. For instance: Easy Jet now has a director of “customer” which was newly created to enhance the overall customer service including its services at contact centers. These calls can potentially be helpful in calling/messaging passengers on the flight delays and cancellation (Tan, 2017)

If a late night flight that has been cancelled passengers should be compensated with a place to spend the night rather than them having to lounge at the airport. Special assistance needs to be provided if there are elderly people, pregnant women or women with kids, in a situation like this. Easy Jet already with their other partnering companies offers additional services such as hotels, car rentals (corporate easy jet) this can further be put to use in situations like this to improve the customer experience.

Proper training should be provided to the staff in terms of maintaining transparency with the customers and being honest in informing passengers the reason for the delay. They can further compensating them with food and drink vouchers to make their travel not-so-unpleasant by partnering with the existing food and beverage company. Although the cost would be additional, it most definitely worth the effort in the long haul for building a good corporate reputation.  Virgin Atlantic flights are a classic example of how customer satisfaction can be achieved with their flight disruption policies. (Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd, 2018)

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) helps build a positive corporate image and good reputation and brand equity. Many companies benefit by the engagement of these CSR activities and hence are willing to invest in CSR initiatives. The willingness of the a consumer to buy or recommend a product is driven 60% by what the consumers perceive the company to be (Smith 2012). Easy Jet is already partnered with Unicef since 2012 (corporate easy jet) but by additionally increasing awareness about its CSR Campaign through digital media and communicating it out loud to its stakeholders, Easy jet can create consumer awareness, positive attitude and a sense of attachment towards the brand (Bhattacharya and Sen 2004; Du et al. 2010; Melo and Garrido-Morgado 2012)

To focus on business travelers, these business travelers are either those who haven’t traveled to do business before or it is a very good time for low cost airlines over the traditional network carriers. (Mason2001) This can be achieved through good digital strategy as most these business travelers are from medium/small sized firms and usually do their own bookings.

Easy Jet should work being sincere and reliable (as defined in their brand personality) and be truly committed to making a difference. This can be achieved by better customer service trainings for their employees and the management can be more transparent and accountable.

Fixing all their website and server issues, and making sure they have a dedicated digital team, although they have recently doen that too. This can further be enchanced on better interface to smooth functioning of their mobile offering. 

(Argenti and Druckenmiller, 2004) define corporate reputation being a result of the continuous interaction amongst the organization and its stakeholders over a period of time. Hence by focusing on continuous stakeholder engagement through employee retention, loyalty, satisfaction (Davies et al, 2003) and its enhanced services, innovation, workplace, governance (Abratt and Klyen, 2012) Easy Jet can strive towards achieving reputable image.

In conclusion, the success of corporate brands depends on the alignment of a firm’s strategic vision along with its culture and corporate image. It’s the strategic vision of the firm that embodies what the company and its top management aspires to achieve for the firm in the future.  Hatch and Schultz (2009: 1047)


Davies et al. (2003): Corporate Reputation Chain, see also Corporate Character Scale or corporate personality



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