This week, I have considered the case of budget airline Ryanair. How is it that this once much- maligned brand has managed to post a leap in profits of 66 per cent to £623m, accompanied by a rise in share price of 5.4 per cent?
The answer, one suspects, is in a concerted change of approach. Put simply, Ryanair have tried to be friendlier, softer, more helpful and less stringent. Essentially, a more caring strategy has been the company’s edict.
In reality, Ryanair has achieved this through the implementation of several measures, such as allowing flyers to bring a second bag on board, less castigatory punishments for slight rule breaches and a far simpler booking process are all examples of the approach.
What’s more, a broad-based marketing campaign that carries both greater sophistication and a clearer message has been launched, helping the brand look more professional in the eyes of potential customers.
YouGov BrandIndex data underlines the improvements that have been made, as well as the effect that the good financial news is having on consumer perception.
Its Buzz Rating metric has risen since the results were released, and by five percentage points since March. More generally, its score has increased by nine per cent in the last year, the highest among any airline company.
Ryanair has, of course, always positioned itself as the low-cost airline. But our data suggests that an increasing number of people believe that the service offers value for money. In turn, the score that the company has achieved in the last two weeks is the highest it has shown all year.
Naturally, Ryanair wants this improved perception to lead to higher numbers on its flights. Our Consideration Metric indicates that this is becoming a reality. Over the last month, this rating has also been at its highest level so far this year.
But there is always room for improvement. Customers still do not like having to pay to print out boarding passes, for example, and hidden costs are one accusation that Ryanair has had to field. The overriding sense, though, is of a brand at the start of successfully changing its image and matching it with eye-catching financial results.