Emirates airlines acquired the services of Hollywood celebrity Jennifer Aniston in order to become the company’s latest brand endorser. It is an interesting partnership because UAE’s flag carrier is the most successful and well-respected airline company in the world (ACC Global, 2017). Aniston on the other hand is one of the most recognizable faces in the world. It is easy to understand the Emirate’s decision based on Aniston’s popularity and global appeal (The National Staff, 2016). However, she is not the only one blessed with those attributes. Without a doubt, there are more than a dozen female celebrities that are also as easily recognizable as Aniston (Kloppers, 2017). It is therefore interesting to figure out the reasons for hiring her from a marketing and brand management perspective. After studying her latest TV commercial and appreciating its purpose and intended message with regards to the Emirates airline’s brand and overarching marketing campaign, one can argue that the company’s hiring of Aniston was driven by the need for a brand resonance and brand association.
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UAE’s flag carrier took the top prize at the SkyTrax 2016 World Airline Awards (SkyTrax, 2016). It was not the first time for Emirates airlines to earn the said distinction. Aside from garnering acclaim from some of the toughest award-giving bodies on the planet, the airline company was also cited for having the best inflight entertainment system, one of the best Business and Economy sections, and cabin staff in the world. Kenneth Rapoza (2014), writing for Forbes magazine enabled ordinary mortals the inside story that helps explain Emirates rise to the top. The author pointed out that in a business class flight from New York to Abu Dhabi he was treated to a dinner prepared by a world-class catering service under the supervision of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck (Rapoza, 2014).
In addition, he enjoyed the rest of the trip sleeping on a chair that reclines flat while cocooned in a thick and comfortable blanket (Rapoza, 2014). It is not enough to appreciate Emirates airlines’ corporate advantage based on onboard amenities alone. It is also important to consider the big picture or the context of the larger experience using this airline company. For example, the UAE government spearheaded an ambitious project to build the world’s biggest and most advanced and aesthetically pleasing airport in order to augment the experience of using the services of the said airline company. In addition, it is also of critical importance to make a connection between Emirates’ customized commercial jets and the opulence of the UAE from man-made “archipelagoes shaped into palm trees” to the world-renowned architectural wonder called the Burj Khalifa (Mouawad, 2011). In other words, it is difficult to ignore the company’s intended message, compelling the world to acknowledge that the airline company exemplifies luxury and top-of-the-line service.
Jennifer Aniston shot to worldwide fame through the TV sitcom, Friends. The said sitcom is considered not only of the most financially successful TV productions of all time, but it is also an iconic brand that cuts through cultural and language barriers. The sitcom made her into one of the most easily recognizable female celebrities on the planet. Aniston leveraged her TV celebrity status into movie royalty power. Her popularity and the global appeal was enhanced even further when she married Brad Pitt, one of the most influential and sought after celebrity in today’s global market. When her marriage to Pitt ended, she earned legions of fans as the world emphatized with her plight.
Thus, there are only a few people on this planet that captured the imagination of the general public the same way she had. There are two things to remember about Aniston in the context of brand endorsement capabilities. First, she had a gift of comedy, and just like others blessed with a great sense of “comic timing” she has the ability to make people laugh and at ease (Walden, 2016). More importantly, she had this aura of “the girl next door” and yet she makes women all over the world believe that it is not an impossible dream to become like her (Walden, 2016). Her magnetic power lies in her ability to make people believe that they can relate to her and that they are able to reach her level no matter how lofty it may seem at first.
Strategic Brand Management and Brand Equity
It is important to point out that Emirates airlines wanted not only to sell a particular product but also to create a brand. Brand equity is synonymous with creating brand value and for the brand to acquire an instant recognizability factor.
Customer-based Equity and Brand Positioning via Integrated Marketing Communication
Customer-based equity aims to increase cutomer loyalty. A successful marketing campaign insulates the airline company from competitive marketing activities. At the same time, it is possible to increase profit margins. In other words, demand remains the same even as prices tend to increase.
Brand Resonance and Brand Value Chain by Understanding Market Performance
Brand resonance translates to greater customer attachment to a particular product. It is easier to achieve brand resonance if customers are able to relate to the brand endorser. In this regard, the brand ambasador creates a positive feeling within the consumers (Kardes, Cronley, & Cline, 2011). It is also imperative to figure out a way to gauge the company’s market performance.
Brand Association and Co-Branding
Brand association is made possible through brand imagery and the need to make connections to the original idea linked to the product (Kardes, Cronley, & Cline, 2011). It is possible to enhance brand association using the principles of co-branding merging the brand carried by Emirates airlines and Jennifer Aniston as a top celebrity endorser.
Building Brand Equity and Brand Elements through Effective Marketing Programs
Emirates airlines must build brand equity by creating a marketing campaign that is memorable, meaningful, likable, and transferable. The marketing program must not only produce positive ideas and feelings, it must also cut through cultural and language barriers.
Capturing Customer Mindset
There is a need to find out what customers are thinking when they see the Emirates brand or an aircraft carrying the company’s logo. If the association is not favorable to the company, it is imperative to find a way to alter that mental association.
After reviewing principles associated with strategic brand management and figuring out the possible reasons behind the hiring of Aniston’s brand endorsement services, one can make the argument that she was chosen for the purpose of brand association and brand resonance. This assertion was based on the personal and professional history of Jennifer Aniston as well as how the target market perceived Emirates airlines. It is of critical importance to point out the significance of Aniston’s “girl-next-door image” in conjunction with the way the target market associated Emirates airlines with ideas like sophistication, opulence, and luxury. Thus, it was important to find a brand enorser that makes people feel at ease, makes them want to try the Emirates brand, and not feel intimidated by the world-class airline.
One can make the argument that Emirates airlines wanted to increase its market share in the Business and Economy sections of the airline market. People associate the words luxury, sophistication, and opulence to Emirates airlines. Thus, it was a clever marketing strategy to hire Aniston, because people relate to her. She exudes charm, grace, and high class, however, she makes people believe that they can attain her status with the right amount of attitude and hard work.
ACC Global. (2017). Competitive advantage. Web.
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Kloppers, J. (2017). Brand ambassadors in the age of social media. Web.
Mouawad, J. (2011). Emirates ambitions worry European rivals. Web.
Repoza, K. (2014). Why UAE and Qatar have the wold’s best airlines. Web.
Skytrax. (2016). Top 10 airlines of 2016. Web.
The National Staff. (2016). Friends star Jennifer Aniston is Emirates brand ambassador. Web.
Walden, C. (2016). Why the world cares when Jennifer Aniston says she is fed up. Web.