Airlines experts in generating customer loyalty: report

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Airline brands are more likely to build brand experiences that encourage customer loyalty compared to those in retail and telecoms, according to new research from independent design agency Rufus Leonard. 

Singapore Airlines will fly its Airbus A350 direct to San Francisco
Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines (96) is the brand that scores the highest across all sectors based on a maximum score of 140 and an ‘all sector average’ of 80. Overall, the airline sector performs the best with Singapore Airlines (96) Emirates (90) and Virgin Atlantic (87) leading the way.

However, it’s not all good news for airlines. Ryanair (66) is the worst performing brand of the 30 included in the survey. EasyJet (71), Thomas Cook (74), and Thomson Airways (78) also score below average.

Research focuses on people’s views of brands in three sectors that provide contrasting experiences: travel, retail, and telecoms. Within each sector Rufus Leonard selected 10 brands, five established brands and five challenger brands, based on longevity and revenue.

The agency developed the new research to track the impact of a brand’s experience on customer loyalty, on why people choose and remain with brands, based on a survey of UK residents. The survey measures five facets of experience that consumers have when interacting with a brand (‘sense’, ‘feel’, ‘think’, ‘do’ and ‘connect’) to compare how well brands are engaging them.

Rufus Leonard also asked people about their loyalty to the brands with questions about future purchase preference and likelihood to recommend (Net Promoter Score). This showed that there is a significant correlation between a strong BXi score and brand loyalty.  Every 10 BXi points gives a brand double-digit growth in future preference, loyalty and advocacy (NPS). As a result, each BXi point correlates to a large bottom-line business value (e.g. £75m for Ryanair).

In terms of the travel sector, it performs highly on providing a ‘Feel’ and ‘Connect’ experience to its customers. Singapore Airlines and Emirates perform particularly well and significantly over-perform on the ‘Feel’ and ‘Sense’ experiences. EasyJet and Ryanair lag behind the rest.

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