The Preferred Brand

Why Brand Preference matters?

You always think of your competition and most companies position their resources to battle competition. If your Brand was Preferred and Relevant, competition won’t matter, your Brand will matter

Your company will focus its resources on how to serve the customers better, innovate and became more preferred as well as relevant

For example, Facebook is preferred for time spent with family and friends to share stories. Facebook is relevant as a Brand for creating the subcategory of instant messaging, in fact, Facebook is the most relevant Brand on mobile to reach family and friends through messages

Today the world knows that Facebook owns WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger apps. Both have become ‘must haves’ on mobiles/smartphones. This acquisition has made the Brand more relevant by owning the subcategory of Mobile Messaging

Snickers the candy bar, is preferred when you need a quick meal to hold up your hunger, it’s relevant because it shares two great attributes: Chocolate and Energy

The more you focus on your target audience, the better you perform. Keeping an eye on your competition will drain your resources and your Brand will become irrelevant

Example: Every time we think of the best Airlines in the region we think of Emirates, we think of the service, we think of the luxury and innovative experience. On the same token, as much as Qatar Airways invests in and claims its ‘5 Star’ airline status, the Brand is still irrelevant to a category owned by Emirates

On the other hand, Etihad Airways is focusing more into Premium Luxury Travel, they just introduced ‘The Residence’ for their first class. Now Etihad has created a category and has become the preferred and relevant Brand to High Net-worth individuals traveling first class which Emirates enjoyed having on their Airbus A380s and lost

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Brand Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on

The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 7th February, 2015

Who is flyNAS?

The recent brand evolution of Saudi Arabia’s NAS Airlines to flyNAS seems logical, but I have to wonder if NAS is still a Budget Airline. Their in-flight Value Proposition indicates they are a Budget airline, but their Ticket Prices tell a different story. So I have to ask: Has NAS airlines evolved from their previous Business strategy? Or is this statement a predetermined description of a Budget Airline? It’s unclear from their description what NAS’ new positioning is and whether that strategy is clearly reflected in their current Marketing Mix

Budget airlines require very distinctive parameters to operate with low fares as a specific aircraft type in flight offerings. In the US, Southwest Airlines is the perfect example of a well-rounded and well thought success story, as its Brand does serve its Business strategy. Every part of a holistic strategy can affect the single unit strategy. The essence of any Business strategy is to be the champion of the holistic approach. The Business and Brand strategies of NAS are not intertwined well enough, so again, one must ask whether NAS is still a budget airline because their price structure implies differently, while the airlines’ booking and in-flight experience does indicate they are a Budget Airline

NAS needs to address the following:

  1. Revisit the entire Business Model and gradually move away from a Budget Airline focus, unless fuel is subsidized to support that model. Otherwise, it will be difficult for NAS to sustain the Budget Airline Model
  2. Identify a precise target group. Saudi airspace will be saturated before the end of the current year due to 2 additional airlines. Al Maha airlines (Qatar Airways) will target the higher end of the market, while SaudiGulf will take a chunk from Saudi airlines’ domestic traffic. Both incoming and existing airlines will face difficult times competing with Saudia Airlines on Price, as it gets subsidized fuel for its fleet
  3. The single Value they offered in the past was Price, that’s not a valid Value today
  4. NAS needs to align its Channels of Communication, as their strength lies in their Digital platforms. They can dominate in that medium if they invest heavily today. Their brand no longer speaks of uniqueness, which is why the question is exactly who is NAS or flyNAS? The 1st Budget Airline in Saudi Arabia? Not anymore

    The airline clearly needs to identify their Brand’s Essence, so the public can relate to NAS in very precise terms

NAS Airlines has an unprecedented opportunity. The size of the Saudi Air market is massive, both in terms of domestic and international routes. The current demand for domestic routes is greater than the supply available, based on just two local operating licenses. The Saudi Market will evolve enormously in the Air Transport industry, and numerous new upcoming airports and NAS must be ready to inaugurate that new era

He can be reached on

The article was first published on Linkedin Pulse on 26th June, 2014

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