Time Is Up For Air India’s Maharaja? Tata Group Hires British Consultancy To Redraw Branding Strategy For Airlines
December 3, 2022: Air India joins FutureBrands, which has worked with American airlines and carmaker Bentley, to reshape the company’s branding strategy as it tries to appeal to a global audience.
Air India has tied up with British brand and design consultancy firm FutureBrands to rework the Tata Group’s airline’s branding strategy.
Futurebrands, which has worked with American Airlines and automaker Bentley, will rebrand Air India to make it more attractive to a global audience, reports the Economic Times newspaper.
The airline is also considering a new mascot as the 76-year-old ‘Maharaja’ is considered ‘old’ by some in the company.
Air India’s mascot first appeared in Air India in 1946, when Bobby Kooka and J. Created Maharaja along with artist Umesh Rao of Walter Thompson Ltd., Mumbai.
The airline is not using the Maharaja logo in its new destination launch campaign. No concrete decision has been taken yet as the airline is yet to consider factors and will only take a call based on the consultant’s report, cost estimates and the positioning strategy the airline wants, the report added, citing inside sources.
But the airline needs to be rebranded to compete with global rivals like Emirates and Singapore Airlines, he added.
The airline has also hired former McMyTrip executive Sunil Suresh as its chief marketing officer and Colin Neubroner, who conceptualized branding for Singapore Airlines and Jet Airways, in its new brand-building team.
Rebranding is even more important for the airline now that Tata Sons wants to merge its four airlines into two companies.
Tata Sons plans to merge Vistara with Air India to form a full-service airline by 2024, and is in the midst of merging AirAsia India and Air India Express to form a low-cost airline.
As part of the merger strategy, the Salt-to-Software conglomerate plans to phase out Vistara, while retaining some branding elements for the merged airline.
The low-cost airline to be created by merging AirAsia India and Air India Express will also have a new brand identity, the report added.
The Tata group is required to change the branding of AirAsia India by 2023, under the agreement it was acquired from the Malaysia-based Air Asia group.
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