Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Fly-i? I did - and loved it!

Independence Air came into our market (Charleston, West Virginia) about a year ago. It was a perfect, three-point landing. Independence Air shook up our stodgy, stagnant and overpriced air-travel market with some good old fashioned competition and set the established carriers scrambling.

Several weeks ago, I had my first chance to Fly-I. Needing to get to a business conference in Washington, DC, I snatched a couple of $44-each-way tickets. Yes, that's right, a non-stop, direct flight to DC for $88 plus tax!

I loved their strategy, their marketing and their pricing--obviously. You'll never guess what I loved most about Fly-I? Design.

I love fresh, stylish design. It ususally doesn't get me on the front end, but it always keeps me once I've become a customer. It happened for me with the iPod ... again with Fly-i.

Independence Air uses design to emphasize its uniqueness. The other guys use squares, rectangles and triangles. Independence uses the circle.

Every other brand is red, white and blue. Independence uses light blue, dark blue and tons of white.

It's a stylish, very cool, very "now" look. It appeals to me. And I think that the Fly-I look is timeless, with equal measures of retro, contemporary and now. The look is carried across everything from their airplanes to their ticket jackets and from their uniforms to their departure gates.

The first thing I noticed in the new Fly-i design scheme was a freebie. The baggage tags ... the free paper ones that are usually ugly and a nuisance. The ones that you get when you Fly-i are killer. Wow! The tags look great (front view) (back view). They feel sturdier than those crummy tags you get from the other guys. And ... the best part ... they are oversized, providing enough room for us to write our names and identifying information legibly.

Great design: looks better, works better!

The second thing that "Wow'd" me were the Indpendence Air departure gates at Dulles Airport. Gorgeous. The layout was different, better. The chairs and benches were not drastically different from other terminals, but there were very exceptional elements of great interior design lurking all around. Fabric panels with pleasing patterns. Divider walls and screens with splashes of handsome wood veneer (birch, beech, perhaps maple). Fabric banners with subtle, hip notions of the brand hung from the ceiling at well-placed gaze-points. Everything was just enough to tell me that I was in the right place, yet not so much as to pound the brand into my face. Small, expert touches were bundled to differentiate and soften the space.

The service was good and different, perhaps softer and more dignified. The gate attendants were dressed in stylish uniforms that looked more like clothing than costumes. Black slacks/skirts and shirts in the Fly-I blue. The gate staff got out and interacted with me and the other travelers (customers) in the departure area. Instead of standing behing some barrier or desk, they walked around. Announcements were made by a Fly-guy who used a hand-held cordless microphone ... think Southwest Air without the comedy show.

If it looks better and works better, it's great design.

Huge props to the marketing geniuses at Independence Air!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This BLOG is very informative. I've been here SO LONG I need a haircut..!

1:34 PM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...

Thanks for the compliment. We try our best! "Useful" is exactly the bulls-eye on our proverbial dartboard. Hope you will come back and visit often!


5:55 PM


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