Helping easyJet Build a Brand in Eastern Europe
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Holmes Report

Helping easyJet Build a Brand in Eastern Europe

In April 2004, Mmd was appointed to provide innovative and provocative communications consultancy for easyJet in Hungary and Slovenia and to strengthen its image as one of the leading low cost airlines in Europe.

Paul Holmes

In April 2004, Mmd was appointed to provide innovative and provocative communications consultancy for easyJet in Hungary and Slovenia and to strengthen its image as one of the leading low cost airlines in Europe. As a result of a successful profile building campaign for the airline, which was previously not known in the region, Mmd was asked to extend its services to an additional five countries (Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic) in 2005, and then at the beginning of 2006 to another two markets (Croatia and Turkey). Mmd operates as the eyes and ears and of easyJet in Eastern European markets, since the company has no offices locally. Mmd’s unique network in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltics enabled the firm to fulfill a complex task seamlessly across all the relevant countries combining local knowledge with international best practice. Says Philippe Vignon, country manager, commercial, for Switzerland, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Turkey: “Mmd has been delivering excellent work for us in countries like Hungary and Slovenia. As it also offers an extensive presence in most CEE countries, it was obvious that they would be our first choice in Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic and recently in Croatia and Turkey. We especially value its ability to combine regional co-ordination and local expert delivery in these markets.” Mmd’s main assignment was to build the easyJet brand in these markets and at the same time educate people about the concept of discount airlines (which were a new phenomenon in the region) and supporting sales activities through a diverse range of communication activities. The communications objectives were: • To generate quality media coverage inc. easyJet’s key messages via several tactics • To support, and generate, sales on the easyJet new and existing routes • To gain greater share of voice with local media • To become the first port of call for media requiring comment on low cost sector • To create direct association with easyJet brand and good value, modernity, consumer champion, innovative, provocative • And to create awareness for the routes served. The firm’s strategy was to establish and strengthen easyJet’s image as one of the leading low cost airlines in Europe and one of the three biggest airlines overall, on intra-European passenger traffic. At the same time easyJet was positioned to be the voice of the industry related to low-fares air traffic and thus a key player educating the wider public about this new flying experience in the region. However, one of the key differences in terms of their communications strategy compared to the U.K. or Western European one was that the campaign was less “aggressive,” taking into account country specific features and having less mature markets in terms of the awareness of the low cost concept and travelling habits. The key message was that easyJet provides customers with safe, good value, point-to-point air services; offers a consistent and reliable product and fares appealing to leisure and business markets on a range of European routes. Mmd was responsible for a broad scope of activities that included media relations, complex PR activities, website support, merchandising activities, third party promotions, sponsorship, consumer stunts, crisis communication support etc. In addition, the firm was providing intelligence reports on these local markets to easyJet concerning competitors, market trends, media landscape, and recommending business cases accordingly on proactive basis. As a result of the campaign, easyJet created a strong, well-educated team of journalists in each country; developed continuous communications with the media and easyJet partners; established key messages; generated a high level of coverage in target media; differentiated the airline from its competitors; and increased the brand awareness of the airline in local markets In particular, the firm helped very busy and overloaded country managers to manage a multitude of countries; generated impressive media coverage in Hungary and Slovenia in supporting the launch of the airline; educated the client on markets it had never visited in the initial stage of the pre-launch, such as Latvia and Estonia; became the client’s eyes and ears in the local markets; and provided 24/7 availability and flexibility and effectiveness in regional coordination from the beginning of the cooperation.
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