Emirates: Taking the IMC Route. The case presented here describes how the airline Emirates started off in 1985 with only two aircraft, one of which was leased, and quickly rose to a leading position in the quality airline market. With more than 20 per cent annual growth, it has earned many hundreds of awards. Competitors have examined its marketing strategy which includes the usual mix of commercials and print advertisement, sponsorship of events, charity work, and a well-developed brand that is supported in in-flight magazines, a website, and merchandising goods.
No single marketing tool of this is particularly innovative, but the company has succeeded in concentrating on the highest quality customer experience and promoting that in seamless integrated marketing communications IMC. Sponsorship with high profile local sporting events, like the Dubai boat race, was a first step in gaining local customer loyalty. Later on, the airline set about obtaining rights with a higher profile international partner such as FIFA in order to build the brand as a quality one in the international market place. Experts in IMC stress the importance of careful measurement of all aspects of the communications process, and a seamless joining up of internal and external facing teams within he company (Schultz and Kitchen, 1997).
Emirates, with the advantage of modest size in the beginning, a clear attachment to the region around Dubai (Yip, 1982) and very supportive leadership in the person of Sheikh Mohammed who was part of the founding team, (Mayo et al. , 2010) tackled this very early, compared to other companies, many of which have been impressed by the idea of IMC but have failed to implement it fully (Hartley and Pickton, 2010) and has stuck with this strategy ever since. The tools used by Emirates consist of traditional print media, such as brochures, and advertisements placed in appropriate major publications, and advertising commercials on television.
These are standard marketing tools. In flight magazines and in flight commercials over on-board entertainment media are specific to the airline industry. Websites can be classified as new media, and are beginning to support increased traffic for Emirates as for other airlines (Cuckoo, 2010). Research in the twenty-first century suggests that global strategic alliances are going to become more important in the near future, as smaller airlines consolidate (Fan et al. , 2001) and plan their alliances strategically (Doganis, 2002, p.
218)). This means that Emirates must consider its position and choose its partners wisely, in order to retain its global reach and high quality reputation. Rather than changing its core brand, which would affect its whole strategy because of the high level of integration that exists, it should work with partners who can adapt to local market conditions.
The luxury market may well be saturated, and so other fields must be considered in the future. Expansion into Africa, for example, may benefit from a pricing strategy at the lower end of the scale, while the core Arab and high quality travel market that Emirates currently dominates. Emirates should not change its brand and message as the premium Arabian airline. This will require careful management so that the new expansion message still remains integrated with the rest of the marketing communications strategy. References Cuckoo, P. (2010) Emirates Air: Spoiling for a Fight.
Forbes Magazine. Accessed 06.09.2012. Doganis, R. (2002) Flying Off Course: The Economics of International Airlines. 3rd Edition. New York: Routledge. Fan, T., Vigeant-Langlois, L., Geissler, C., Bosler, B. and Wilmking, J. (2001) Hartley, B. and Picton, D. (2010) Integrated marketing communications requires a new way of thinking. Journal of Marketing Communications 5 (2), pp. 97-106. Mayo, A.J. , Nohria, N., Mendhro, U. and Cromwell, J. (2010) Sheikh Mohammed and the Making of ‘Dubai Inc. (Case) Harvard Business Review. Schultz, D.E. and Kitchen, P.J. (1997) Integrated Marketing Communications in US Advertising Agencies: An Exploratory Study.
Journal of Advertising Research 7, Sept/Oct, pp. 7-18. Yip, G.S. (1982) Gateways to Entry. Harvard Business Review 60, pp. 85-93.