Says Irish budget carrier Ryanair and their CEO Michael O’Leary who have cultivated a reputation for controversial innovations and colorful language.
O’Leary says branding is dead. Good for him. Here are my thoughts.
We all need the Walmart’s of the world which is exactly the brand you get in Ryanair. Their brand identity is cheap, no nonsense flights. Believe it or not O’Leary has done the thing he so openly despises, or does he?
Walmart has been brilliant at being creative in cutting costs and delivering price value to the customer. And their niche to middle to lower income target market eats it up. Same with Ryanair. All their really doing is targeting their market effectively with a low cost strategy. Kudos, way to live the brand.
They’ve gone so far as to consider charging for their toilets on a flight. Explaining the toilet charge, O’Leary says that again, it’s not about the money. It will train passengers to use toilets in the terminals before and after flights, which means the airline can replace a few toilets with more seats and reduce fares some more.
Brilliant, way to live the brand. Oh this is branding people, at it’s best. You or I may say hogwash to this airline but that’s just what they want. They’re excluding you because they really want only price conscience fliers. And if something goes wrong with your flight these customers will expect nothing in return because that’s the deal. You’re a number to them and you know it going in.
How’s it working for them? Ryanair’s ancillary revenue grew from 8% of total revenue last year to 20% this year. Ryanair carried 66 million passengers with a 15% jump in year-on-year traffic, resulting in revenues of €1.8bn with an 80% increase in net profits. As of now, Ryanair is the single-largest carrier of international passengers in the world.
And how does O’Leary describe his brand identity:
He says “You’re not getting free food. We don’t want your check-in bags. We’re not going to put you up in hotels because your grammy died… It’s a commodity. It’s not some life-changing sexual experience, which is what the other high-fare airlines have tried to convince you that it is.”
Now does anyone really think it’s a commodity or are they doing a great job at branding?