Competing on price alone leads to product commoditization and does not allow the building of a brand. Successful branding is always based on what I call a “Power Offer”, composed of a strong core product and of additional value elements, the “+++”. In a competitive environment, as in the airline industry, even low cost brands need to have the strong core product and the “+++”, and this is certainly the case of Southwest Airlines or Virgin Atlantic.
When starting on the branding route, one has to place the initial efforts on the development of a strong core product and some “+++” to obtain a perceived competitive advantage in a targeted consumer segment. This has to be built progressively at a local, regional and national level before having global ambitions. Global expansion on a weak national brand is the sure avenue to dispersion and failure. The exception to this rule is the direct acquisition of a strong global brand and this can certainly accelerate global expansion while reducing its risks.
A digital strategy can certainly build an existing brand’s image, but only if the brand already has strong qualities. Indeed, a strong brand with a deficient digital strategy is more likely to perform better than a deficient brand with a strong digital strategy. The priority should thus be first to build a strong brand, and then to develop it further through a digital strategy. And, as I mentioned earlier, a successful digital strategy should be dynamic, developed with the help of specialized experts, and supported by an internal digital culture.