British Airways Promo, Case study TO FLY. TO SERVE by Grayling

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Industry Airlines
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United Kingdom
Agency Grayling
Director Hannah Williams
Released September 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Best International PR Campaign
Product/Service: BRAND PROMOTION
Client Executive: Sarah Highfield (Grayling)
Client Manager: Ed Bird (Grayling)
Director/International Client Services/Marketing: Adam Robinson (Grayling)
Director: Hannah Williams (Grayling)
Media placement: Consumer PR - Europa Press, Cosmopolitan Germany, Beijing Today, Oriental Daily News, CNNgo China, Global Times - 1 September
Media placement: Corporate Communications - China Business Today, Business Traveller Asia Pacific,,, El Economista - 1 September 2011
Media placement: Launch Event - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Libero, Capo Horn Magazine, Sonntagszeitung, RIA Novosti - 21 September 2011

Summary of the Campaign
Campaign overview: In September last year, British Airways launched a new campaign to reinvigorate the brand and differentiate itself from its competitors. The overall objective of the campaign was to present 1 picture – a future facing image of the airline, its staff, and its products. To do this, the campaign would demonstrate how British Airways makes flying special for its customers – through its people, expertise and heritage. The strapline for the campaign was ‘To Fly. To Serve’.

Challenge: Strong print, TV and online advertising were commissioned for the UK and US, focusing on the people at British Airways and what they do to go above and beyond the call of duty, and reflected their expertise and the airline’s heritage. However outside of these markets, the campaign was 100% reliant on PR activity to push the exact same messages – no advertising spend was allocated. We were given the task of securing cost-effective coverage in a short timescale across 37 markets in Europe and Asia.

Solution: Development of a central international PR Toolkit for localisation, including a full suite of communications: executive profiling, brand events, media briefings and delivery of 5 international press trips with target European and Asia media.

Results: over 1,000 pieces of media coverage secured for ‘To Fly. To Serve’ in just 8 weeks, across target global consumer, corporate and travel media.

The Situation
British Airways is a world-renowned airline. The brand did not need to reinvent itself as something else. What we were tasked with, was to tell the British Airways story a little louder. Reinvigorating a great brand is about looking at the very essence of what made it great in the first place. ‘To Fly. To Serve’ is what British Airways do and it is who they are.

The idea behind the campaign was to turn up the volume and to put a stake in the ground by which others should be measured.

The Goal
The communications objectives of this campaign were to:
• Strengthen British Airways’ brand profile in international markets
• Drive awareness that British Airways is taking a fresh approach to its brand activity
• Drive awareness that flying with British Airways is a special experience because of; British Airways’ people, expertise and heritage

British Airways not only wanted to grow in the markets it flies to but to also defend its position in these markets.

The Strategy
We wanted to communicate British Airways’ brand position and build an image of British Airways’ warmth, expertise and commitment to customers through the placement of positive people, customer, brand and investment stories across a range of national, consumer and trade media, in print, online and broadcast outlets, with consumer focused stories and content following the launch of the brand campaign to ensure campaign longevity and customer cut through.

PR themes used for this activity:
Reinvigorating the brand
o Investing in the customer
o Emphasis on British Airways’ expertise – British Airways provide an experience not a seat
British Airways people
o Professional, expert, passionate – the customer is in British Airways’ DNA
o Access to local crew, faces and stories
British Values/British Heritage
o Delivering a quintessentially British service
o Positioning British Airways as the ultimate guide to Britain
o Highlight long history of innovation

Ahead of the campaign launch date, the central hub team provided all the local market teams with centrally drafted press releases to be used as pre-launch teasers in the lead up to the campaign launch.

In time for the launch day, we organised a trip for key European and Asian media to attend the press launch event. The event provided a hook for media and allowed us to capitalise on any publicity the event attracted (rather than media picking the story up from UK press). The media also took part in a roundtable with the British Airways Head of Brand and Customer Experience. On their second day in London, they were treated to a behind the scenes tour of British Airways.

Following the launch event we held local in-market media briefings across our markets with local British Airways Managers to capture media who were not invited to the event.

Documented Results

Following the campaign, over 1,000 pieces of media coverage was secured for ‘To Fly. To Serve’ in just 8 weeks, across target global consumer, corporate and travel media.

We achieved all of our communications goals; reinforcing and raising the British Airways brand profile across all of our European and Asian markets. All of the generated coverage to appear following this campaign highlighted British Airways’ fresh approach to its brand activity and that flying with British Airways is a special experience.

If BA had invested in advertising to promote this campaign, then to receive the equivalent exposure over the same time period (2 months) would have had to spend over £1.5m.

In December 2011, British Airways’ traffic rose by 12.2% versus December 2010. British Airways closed 2011 with the knowledge that demand in London remains strong and continues to grow thanks to the encouraging trends seen in H2 2011.