Profile: Jeremy Gilley

The man marketing world peace

AirMiles Avios - Consignia all over again

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What is AirMiles thinking? The decision to rebrand with the new name Avios appears to be a lesson in how to give loyal customers a slap in the face and erase any resonance customers had with the brand.

Early feedback, on the Marketing Week site, seems to be overwhelmingly negative.

Comments like:

  • “Absolutely hopping mad about this. Makes it such a poor deal compared to current terms”,
  • “I think it may be time to cash out my air miles before they become useless”
  • “Looks much less attractive … makes the whole thing a pretty good waste of time”

don’t inspire confidence in the programme’s ability to engage with consumers under the new brand.

AirMiles is one of the oldest loyalty points schemes there is, and while nostalgia and heritage alone aren’t reasons to keep a brand, the resonance it has with consumers is huge.

Replacing it with a meaningless brand name, and a scheme that appears to have fewer benefits, is a ludicrous step for a brand to take. And the communications sent out to customers doesn’t seem to be adequately explaining the change in a way that is relevant to consumers.

Have brands learned nothing from Royal Mail’s Consignia debacle? Or even Aviva’s successful rebrand from Norwich Union?

Royal Mail’s failed attempt to rebrand to the utterly meaningless moniker Consignia didn’t last long before the company saw sense and revert to the trusty old Royal Mail.

Aviva, however, managed to successfully rebrand the 200 year old insurance company Norwich Union in such a way that within a few months of the name change, recognition of the brand was boosted brand awareness was up to 80%.

All AirMiles has succeeded in doing is alienating existing loyal customers.

Before, it had a point of difference, but now it ahs been described as being the same  as BA and BMI’s points programme and pushing customers towards Virgin’s points deal.

Could there be an embarrassing climb down on the horizon?

Readers' comments (17)

  • The Internet is buzzing with people getting ready to cash in their airmiles and dump the scheme. This will bring about a steep decline in their reputation and customer numbers. Whoever dreamt up the changes to scheme has brought about it's downfall and what will be the loss of many jobs as many of their 2.2million members learn what these changes mean for the mile they have been collecting for many years.

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  • I Agree, I'll be out the door and waiting on Virgin's doorstep...

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  • I can only assume that it is a 'kill off' by BA/Iberia (since they own it). So that a couple of years down the line they can use the valuable brand name for themselves.

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  • EPIC FAIL!

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  • Everyone should voice their anger here : http://www.airmiles.co.uk/contactus/generalEmail.do?enquiryType=&enquirySubType=

    AIRMILES
    PO Box 90
    Birchwood
    Warrington
    WA3 7WE

    0844 49 333 99

    Maybe we can get enough people to convince them a U-turn.

    Adios Avios!

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  • just cancelled my lloyds airmiles credit card and will not convert tesco clubcard points to airmiles anymore. well done airmiles

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  • Very angry, been saving for a 2012 far east trip for years using Tesco & Lloyds credit card I can't book early (before December deadline) as I cannot get approval for company holidays till January. This really does look bad will not touch BA again.

    Question is why didn't the likes of Lloyds and Tesco object to protect their customers' interests?

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  • Just got my letter and I could tell by the 'important news' and 'exciting opportunities' that it was bad news. Which was confirmed withing a paragraph or two of reading the letter.

    To coin a well known phrase, "I'm out".

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  • What planet are the marketing people from? I remember a shudder when I thought that the new BA miles were airmiles and then breathed a sigh of relief when I realised they were not. Sadly, this time, the nightmare seems to be real and, at a stroke, these crettins have given their loyal customer base a scheme which is more complex, more clunky, more expensive and more, dare I say it without offending BA's Iberian partners......SPANISH!!!
    From my perspective, and with no small amount of sadness, if they don't ditch this nonsense, then it's " Adios Avios"

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  • I have been saving airmiles for years mainly through Tesco have now got enough for trip planned 2013 to Australia for the two of us. As I cant book flights this far in advance before end of this year I feel cheated! I now will have to change plans in order to beat deadline which is far from ideal. I certainly wont continue to collect Avios and will revert to discounted shopping! Raw deal to loyal customers!

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