Flybe marketing manager: We believe our repositioning takes us way beyond the rest of the sector

This week, Flybe has announced a brand repositioning to ‘Making flying better’, which it will start to roll out straight away. The Drum caught up with Simon Lilley, Flybe’s marketing manager, to discuss why the repositioning took place and how it will be promoted.

Why did Flybe decided that it was time to reposition the brand?

We did an extensive piece of research back in the last year, about autumn time last year, which surveyed consumers across the UK, both those who have flown with Flybe and those who haven’t flown with Flybe, and asked them their views on Flybe and also the industry.

It was clear that they saw lots of good things about Flybe and the low fare airline sector but it also came across loud and clear that there were a lot of negative perceptions of the sector, and they particularly focused on the lack of transparency in the way that we price and sell air fares, a lack of trusts that existed therefore because the price that say would rarely actually be the price they paid.

So there were a lot of good things, and things that we need to shout louder about, but also these negative connotations that were affecting the whole sector, and we needed to really break the mould and show people how we were addressing those and our response in terms of making flying better.

We firmly believe this [repositioning] does this, and takes us way beyond the rest of the sector in addressing these key issues.

How are you going to promote the new ‘Making flying better’ positioning?

A £9m marketing campaign will run across the whole year, above the line and below the line.

Above the line - national press that will break from this weekend, regional press that will also break from this weekend and radio and television. We’ll be covering most of the UK regions through an ITV regional buy, and that will run on and off throughout the year as well.

Below the line we have our digital campaign, twinned with an email marketing campaign to our database which happens weekly will support it as well.

The campaign will all be fronted and feature our own cabin crew and pilots. We had tremendous response when we opened it up to the pilot and crew community, so we filmed all the adverts in Birmingham Airport – three different commercials – so as of this weekend [you’ll see] the genuine crew and pilots that are operating every day up in the air and they have really warmed and thoroughly enjoyed being part of the process.

Were any agencies involved in the marketing campaign?

Our creative agency is Souk, based in London, and our media buyer is Starcom MediaVest and our PR agency is Red. So, they have been long term agencies with Flybe, they have been instrumental in this change of brand positioning and the research.

How do you think passengers will see you with this new change of brand? Do you think it will immediately make a huge difference, or will it slowly trickle across?

Well, we hope that with the marketing spend we will see some immediate reaction, obviously you can appreciate it takes time to build, the whole of the campaign will take time to build.

We genuinely want to convey the honest approach and upfront approach that we are taking to everything we are doing, and we firmly believe that will come across in the way we’re going to market it.

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