Building an airline through brand values
A Virgin Atlantic case study

Page 1: Introduction

Anybody who has bought a car will tell you that there are tangible points of difference which affect their decision to make a purchase. For example, there are many different models of car which have various characteristics. They may have manual or automatic transmissions, fuel injection systems, be small and versatile, designed for a family or for a couple, have four-wheel drive and also have vast...
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Page 2: Customer service

In the airline industry, Virgin Atlantic has set the standard for excellent customer care. It has introduced a number of unique and innovative products to the business, which have become not only the hallmark of Virgin’s service values, but of the airline industry as a whole. For example, Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to offer just two flight classes, Economy (a choice of Premium...
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Page 3: Brand values

Virgin Atlantic has successfully used branding to develop perceptions of a corporate personality, offering a unique combination of service elements and attributes, which serve to set themselves apart from the competition. In other words they have developed a ‘service brand’ symbolising both individualistic attributes and quality of service. This means that even consumers with limited...
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Page 4: The Branson factor

The greatest advert for Virgin is probably Richard Branson. Virgin’s brand values emanate from him. In many ways, Branson is the consumers hero, an entrepreneur operating in a style all of his own. In addition to his status as one of Britain’s most respected businessmen, Richard Branson’s daredevil antics, such as ballooning across the Atlantic, have guaranteed the Virgin brand...
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Page 5: The product

In developing a distinct and memorable brand, it was important that the features and benefits provided by the products reflected the core values of the brand. In other words the brand values had to symbolise a level of quality which Virgin would build into the product itself. For example, Virgin’s revolutionary Upper Class changed the face of business travel. Virgin Atlantic was also the...
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Page 6: Conclusion

Publicity centred on Richard Branson forms an important part of Virgin’s communication strategy. Lord Mancroft once defined PR quite wryly as “The art of arranging the truth so that people like you”. Richard Branson’s activities have helped to provide positive perceptions of the Virgin organisation. These have developed a series of values which have become embedded within...
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