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Kyoorius Designyatra 2009: Jacob Benbunan on 'How Vueling took off'

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Marketing | September 08, 2009
Jacob Benbunan of Saffron Brand Consultants shares a case in point about how Spanish airline Vueling started off its journey, along with the founder of the airline, Carlos Munoz

On the last day of the Kyoorius Designyatra held at the Renaissance, Powai Jacob Benbunan of Saffron Brand Consultants and Carlos Munoz, director and founder, Vueling Airlines shared the story of the brand's conception and growth.

Jacob Benbunan, co-founder and chief executive officer, Saffron Brand Consultants made a presentation that chalked the growth of the low cost Spanish airline, Vueling Airlines.

The airline, earlier known as European Ventures in Aviation (EVIA), was started by Munoz and his partner Lazaro Ros. When Munoz thought of re-branding the low cost airline, he told Benbunan that he wanted a name. However, Benbunan suggested that he didn't just need a new name but a new brand. From there started the journey that was elaborated by Benbunan in his discussion.

& #BANNER1 & #While looking for possible names, Saffron extracted words from Spanish culture, which had morphed a bit to include 'Spanglish' in local parlance. A few such 'Spanglish' words are siesting (sleeping) and gasting (shopping). As 'volar' is Spanish for 'to fly', the airline was named 'Vueling', in its 'Spanglish' connotation.

The naming conformed to the five rules for defining a name (the name should be a descriptor of the brand; easy to pronounce; differentiating; mustn't have a negative connotation; and it must be short). Benbunan added that the name should be 'dot com viable'. Vueling fit perfectly with all these factors.

The logo of the brand came about from the dot com idea. Vueling.com was the name addressed and the slightly raised dot became the brand identity. The colours used (grey and yellow) were such that it represented the airline's place of origin, that is, Barcelona.

18 touch points were created so that the entire experience of flying the low cost carrier was a truly cherished experience. All these touch points were in conjugation with the brand identity. The campaign that was carried out was titled 'Flying today means Vueling'. Cloud characters, with dots for eyes and a dash for the mouth, took over huge outdoor spaces. Contests that received an overwhelming response were conducted, resulting in high customer recall. "We involved the customer from day one," said Munoz.

More importantly, Vueling focussed on its staff having the Vueling virus. Regular meetings with different work groups kept the spirit alive. Workshops, engagement sessions, an employee magazine and a brand book were some of the initiatives taken up by the airline.

Loyalty is an issue that Vueling gives a lot of importance to. "Celebrating milestones is huge," shared Munoz. Elisenda Masana, the five millionth client of the airline, had an aircraft named after her. She also has the privilege to fly the aircraft anytime she likes.

In southwest Europe, Clickair was the only airline that was in direct competition with Vueling Airlines. The carrier took over Clickair and all its aircrafts and the merged entity, too, is called Vueling Airlines. The new aircrafts following the merger have a different name that has been suggested by customers over contests on Facebook.

Today, Vueling Airlines is the second largest low cost airline in Spain. Benbunan concluded by saying that identity isn't equivalent to identification and brand isn't equivalent to logo. However, a brand is the promise of an experience.