Racheal Lee
Jul 4, 2013

Tigerair must deliver on its promises: branding experts

SINGAPORE - The rebranding exercise launched by Singapore-based budget carrier Tiger Airways yesterday was a positive move but it is still too early to tell if the brand DNA will be changed into as what has been preached, industry experts said.

The brand is aiming for warmth rather than contemporary appeal
The brand is aiming for warmth rather than contemporary appeal

The rebranding exercise announced yesterday saw Tiger Airways renamed as Tigerair, with a new logo, branding and livery. Its signature leaping tiger has made way for contemporary grey and orange rounded font typography.

Developed by The Secret Little Agency (TSLA), the new face of Tigerair aims to convey a fresh and upbeat look that embodies its brand personality—warm, passionate and genuine, according to the agency.

Tigerair has been criticised for its level of service but has made fundamental changes to its core processes, recently setting up a new call centre that reportedly reduced call response time by half.

It has also created closer links between all its airlines in Singapore, Indonesia and The Philippines that allow customers to book connecting flights from any of the carriers, and to connect flights seamlessly without clearing immigration or transferring luggage.

The airline plans to enable mobile and web check-in for all customers, on top of the current functions of searching and booking flights as well as selecting seats.

Flight delays featured highly on the list of past complaints, along with poor customer service, inconsistent charges and failure to comply with safety requirements. The rebranding exercise is generally seen as a campaign to transform the image.

Ryan Lim, founder and business director of Blugrapes, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that the brand's DNA has to change, or the rebranding exercise will be purely cosmetic. He said there are still gaps between the airline’s services and what has been promised.

While the new call centre is a good idea, he added that the personnel must receive proper training and be fully empowered.

“They have to get all [services] together first before they talk about all the rebranding stuff,” he said. “They have to offer what they are telling people and branding has to be consistent, changing from the internal, to gain the trust from the customers. As a carrier, it is very difficult if customers don’t believe in it.”

Tigerair had not responded to Campaign Asia-Pacific’s request for comment at press time.

But Simon Bell, executive director strategy, Southeast Asia & Pacific at Landor, said the new branding signals a change of direction for the airline, and that the more approachable identity shows the brand's intention's to put greater personality into Tigerair.

“The bold and fun approach is easier for the consumer to digest and speaks more to the context of value travel,” he added. “With the rebranding, I would expect to see the brand translate its new values into the customer journey, offering a simpler and more engaging experience with a lot more personality.”

Tiger Airways Group appointed Singapore-based independent creative agency TSLA as its branding partner for the region early this year.

A spokesperson from TSLA said the work was undertaken by TSLA's Design Practice, a unit within the agency that has existed for the last five years, to service TSLA's key creative accounts.

“Tigerair’s evolved brand reflects a distinctly warmer more honest personality,” the source said. “The endeavour here isn't to create the coolest, funkiest airline brand in the market. There are way too many of those cluttering the space we play in.”

MEC handles the brand's media account.

In a statement, Koay Peng Yen, group CEO of Tiger Airways Holdings, noted that leisure travel is about accumulating great experiences and memories, and that the airline hopes that the new brand can represent relaxation, joy and adventure to the customers.

Koay said the airline has initiated a series of changes since late last year, and this brand identity should be seen as “a reinforcement of our commitment towards a better and bolder Tigerair”. He added that its counterparts in Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines will also be launching their own corporate citizenship activities.

Update, 5 July, 4:40pm

Tiger Airways responded with statements from CEO Koay Peng Yen:

"Tigerair has made significant strides in the recent year in its operations and service. We have been recognised as the largest budget carrier in Singapore, moving more than 4 million passengers annually, more than any other non-full service carrier in Singapore. Our brand refresh marks a significant milestone in the journey that Tigerair is taking to establish itself as the leading airline in Asia-Pacific. We will continue in our efforts and are confident that with time, we will receive the recognition that our team deserves." 

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