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Project: INTERNATIONAL PUBLICITY FOR airBaltic: AWARDS BRINGRECOGNITION AND CUSTOMERSCategory: INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONSUMMARYOver 2010, airBaltic managed to showcase its business achievements through aseries of high-calibre international awards. They helped to boost the airline’sinternational recognition and reach new publicity milestones, strengthen airBaltic’sposition in the existing and new markets, and win new customers, in order tosubstitute the depleted local market.SITUATIONThe last global recession hit the Baltic economies particularly hard. As a rule-of-thumb, if economies are not doing well, airlines are doing worse. airBaltic hadresponded to the crisis by restructuring its business model, in order to substitute thelost local customers with new international customers in an extended “home market”covering Scandinavia, Germany, Russia/CIS, and Ukraine. Although airBaltic was thefirst airline globally to create this unique business model and offer low-cost flightsconnecting via North Hub Riga to/from 80 destinations in Europe, Russia/CIS and theMiddle East, enhanced international recognition of the airline and its product wasneeded to keep the passenger and revenue flows growing.OBJECTIVESairBaltic’s objectives were 1) to boost international recognition, in order to win newcustomers in the existing and new markets 2) to reach new publicity milestones in asmart and cost-efficient way, maintaining airBaltic’s rigorous spending discipline (1,5– 2 times lower marketing and publicity expenditure than comparable airlines)
STRATEGYairBaltic’s strategy was to showcase its various business achievements, and presentthem before the Juries of the world’s highest-ranking awards in the aviation industry.With the awards successfully received, they would be used as international “qualitymarks”, in order to reassure customers of the exceptional quality standards of theairline, to attract attention of international media to airBaltic’s business achievementsand products behind them, and to shape opinions about airBaltic among internationalleaders in business and political arena.EXECUTIONairBaltic successfully presented its achievements and received a series of globallyrecognized aviation awards and nominations throughout the year 2010: - Europe’s Airline of the Year 09/10 (by ERA, awarded for 2010 late in the preceding year) - ATW Phoenix Award 2010 (for airlines this award has the same value as the Oscar award for filmmakers, airBaltic was the only European airline to receive this global award in 2010) - Nomination for World’s Top Low Cost Carrier 2010 (among Top 5 airlines globally) - Pacesetter Award 2010 from the World’s Top Low Cost Carrier Jury - Top 10 Innovator among the world’s airlines (by airlinetrends analysts) - Nomination for the International Award for Excellence in Social Media (by Simpliflying)The top awards of the above were consistently used throughout airBaltic’s corporatematerial (public relations, marketing, corporate/partner communication etc.). Eachnomination and award was actively communicated to targeted media audiences in30+ markets, and the subsequent media interest was harnessed to generateindividual publications/stories, suggest personalised press trips, creation of companyprofiles and many more. The award ceremonies were used as platforms to announcenew business decisions and innovations, or activate existing products. For example,the ATW Phoenix Award ceremony in Singapore was used to present the historic firstBombardier Q400 Next Gen aircraft for airBaltic fleet (the manufacturer took the longjourney from Canada), and to organise the World’s First tweet-up on the plane(meeting of Twitter activists), that in-turn generated ample additional publicity.
RESULTS - The number of airBaltic’s international customers in outside markets grew +27.1 % in 2010 (compared to 2009), much faster the overall passenger growth of +16%. The volume of sales of airBaltic services in 2010 constituted almost 8% of Latvia’s total exports, the highest ratio among airlines globally. - January 2010 (ATW Phoenix Award announced) saw a new milestone - over 1000 monthly publications/stories worldwide about airBaltic and its products for the first time in history (20 times higher than the average 50 monthly publications in 2007) - Almost 700 international media visits over 2010 (up +26% y-on-y), covering airBaltic and its products (media predominantly from Finland, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Ukraine etc). - An array of leaders acknowledging the success of airBaltic (Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, etc)Websites:http://www.forbes.ru/ekonomika/kompanii/60734-kak-protivostoyat-moshchnym-konkurentam-iz-evropyhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5uA1UNdjcwhttp://www.airlinerworld.com/view_issue.asp?ID=759