Despite the two airlines coming under the same ownership in Singapore and now, being handled by the same performance-marketing team, the strategies employed for heritage brand, SIA, differ greatly from the methods used for scrappy cheerful startup brand, Scoot, said general manager of Performics Asia-Pacific, Hari Shankar.
“Because SIA is such a premium brand, the ‘branding’ part of its marketing strategy is so huge that the only way to approach search marketing is to address it within the context of the brand,” he explained. “Things are different with Scoot. Awareness of the brand isn’t high, so we will have to build it up over the coming years and in the mean time use performance marketing to drive direct sales and conversions.”
SIA is a brand that will never openly compete on price beyond the monthly ‘sweet deal’. “There are no fire sales, no aggressive price promotions," Shankar said. "Of course, Scoot’s strategy involves really aggressive price points in bursts.”
In fact, Scoot’s aggressive sales are decided on so swiftly that the team at Performics may have a window of only two to three days to get the campaign online and maximise its impact. This calls for a team that’s capable of much swifter deployment than would normally be required of the SIA account.
While Performics’ brief tasks it with driving conversion for Scoot, the agency has a larger job cut out for it. “In the past there hasn’t really been a concerted and planned strategy aimed at [customer] acquisition," Shankar said. "We’ve been asked to bring a methodical way to approach this based on our deep category experience [in travel]. It’s really exciting but we have our work cut out for us as we essentially have to build things from the ground up if we’re going to increase web’s share as a sales channel.”
The incumbent on Scoot’s search account was Australian agency 30 Acres, and it’s understood that Scoot is in the process of reviewing its roster of digital and social-media agencies. Its creative agency is Saatchi & Saatchi and incumbent digital agency is iNeo—the agency responsible for the social media fiasco, the ‘World’s Longest Virtual Flight’. (See update below)
The airline is also undertaking a revamp of its website and while Performics is not building the site, the firm is handling a review of the elements it will be dealing with to drive on-site conversion. “We’re running an editorial audit which includes looking at content and understanding what content should and should not be there and the angle. We may build some part of that content or facilitating it,” said Shankar.
Update April 29, 2014: A spokesperson from Scoot got in touch to provide futher context and clarity on the "World's Longest Flight" Campaign. According to Scoot there was indeed a technical glitch in the first running of the campaign, but it was remedied and ran again to a successful conclusion in Singapore. The team then took the contest to Taipei where it ran without any technical fault. "On our part, we have accepted the initial failure but we have also worked hard to turn it around into a successful event. The experience and lessons learned with this contest was made into a case study which we presented at several conferences," said Scoot.