YouGov survey illustrates high stakes in Ryanair’s bid to soften ‘macho’ brand image

Ryanair, the budget airline famous for its devil may care attitude to public relations, is being tipped for further growth by pollsters YouGov – assuming moves to reposition itself as a customer friendly business pay off.

Promising to ditch its ‘macho and abrupt culture’ the budget airline is reworking its website, employing a team to respond to emails and pledged to stop fining customers for carry-on bags which are mm’s above the minimum size permissible.

The volte face, which includes the launch of a new Twitter account (@Ryanair), follows shareholder concern that traveler’s perceptions of poor service are harming growth prospects.

Stephan Shakespeare, chief executive officer and co-founder of YouGov – one of the UK’s most respected market research companies, said: “Using YouGov BrandIndex, we can measure the brand’s performance in Europe’s three largest markets: Germany, the UK and France.

“Looking at Ryanair’s overall Index scores (a composite of six key measures of brand health) we see that the brand has the most work to do in Britain, where it has an Index score of -40.8.

It is much better off in Germany (-14.5) and France (-6.4), but in all three markets it is not a case of where Ryanair is most liked, but rather where it is least disliked.

“Ryanair competitor EasyJet beats it by 40 points in the UK, 12 points in Germany and 8 points in France.

“Our research suggests that if the company were to succeed in improving its customer service (and therefore how consumers regard the brand), it could build upon its market position and take its already formidable success to new heights. But in the meantime, it has a lot of work to do.”

Ryanair is already Europe’s second largest airline behind Lufthansa.

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