Air India to undergo brand makeover, hires London-based consultancy firm

Air India

Tata Son’s Air India has hired a London-based brand and design consultant ‘Futurebrands’, to redesign Air India’s branding strategy.

Air India
Air India is going to refurbish its brand designs as it plans to merge its airlines together

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Futurebrands, which has worked on the rebranding of American Airlines, British luxury automaker Bentley, and the 2012 London Olympics, will seek to update Air India’s identity as it strives to become a prefered airline around the globe.

The development of a new airline mascot is one of many initiatives under consideration, as it is believed that the Maharajah, the current mascot, is no longer relevant. Bobby Kooka, the airline’s commercial director at the time, designed the mascot in 1946.

Currently, Air India does not promote the debut of new destinations using the Maharajah logo.

Bobby Kooka, the airline’s commercial director at the time, designed the Maharaja Mascot in 1946

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“No decision has been taken. There will be multiple rounds of discussions based on the consultant’s report, cost estimation, and positioning of the new Air India that the group intends. But there is definitely a requirement to refurbish the image in a modern world where it intends to compete with the likes of Emirates and Singapore Airlines.”

–Source cited above

As part of a new brand-building team, the airline has also hired Colin Neubronner, who formerly worked on the branding of Singapore Airlines and Jet Airways, and Sunil Suresh, a former MakeMyTrip executive who has joined as a Chief Marketing Officer.

As Tatas streamline its aviation portfolio by combining four airline brands into two airlines, a new branding strategy for the airline is now crucial. It is currently merging AirAsia India and Air India Express to form a low-cost airline while also combining Vistara into Air India to create a full-service airline by 2024.

The Air India merger will bring Air India and Vistara together making it a full-service airline

While the Vistara name will eventually be dropped, officials in the process indicated it’s feasible that some elements of the advertising campaign may remain in the new Air India brand design.

A new brand identity for the low-cost product that will result from the merging of Air India Express and AirAsia India is also being developed by the Tata group. The AirAsia trademark may be used for one year, till mid-2023, in accordance with its agreement with Malaysian airline group AirAsia, which has ceased operations of AirAsia India.

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Connect and Connections by Air India are two of the several names under consideration for the low-cost carrier, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. For the combined firm, a new corporate name, “AIX Connect Private Limited,” has been suggested to the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

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“Air India Express is a brand that is currently popular among a certain section of customers, especially flying from South India to the Gulf. As the airline aims to operate in a new geographic area including domestic and international, it is necessary that it has a refurbished brand.”

–A Company Executive at Air India

Following the merger of Vistara and Air India, the Tata group’s plan to run a single full-service airline will enable quicker turnaround and reduce brand creation costs significantly. Therefore, a renovation is required for the new image in the current world where it plans to compete on a worldwide scale.

(With inputs from The Economic Times)