Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific Airline and RPT Rumours & News in Australia, enZed and the Pacific

Legacy Airline = Legacy Brand

Old 13th Dec 2011, 20:20
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Legacy Airline = Legacy Brand

Not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, it has taken time for me to realise that the danger and stupidity inherent in labelling an airline , or any business for that matter as a "legacy". But just as importantly, this concept also extends to the idea of the legacy brand - and I think Qantas may be heading for legacy brand status, which is not good - ie: "Qantas was good once, but not any more."

Sennits ice cream, Skipping Girl vinegar, Ballarat Bitter, Buckley and Nunn, Early Kooka. How many Australian brands can you remember that are no more? Just as businesses can dry up and blow away, so can brand awareness. To put that another way and in a Qantas context, how many Thirty somethings have ever seen "Rain Man"? How many remember the "Faded Blue Denim" Qantas economy seats of the 1970's?

There must be volumes written on the care and feeding of brands. What concerns me, and should concern the shareholders, is the possibility that the Qantas brand, and associated shareholder value, may be heading irretrievably for the dustbin.

Without waxing too lyrical and getting out of my depth, my perception of Qantas was formed in the 1970's. That was when the standard thing for middle class Australians was to work for a few years to save money, then take that overseas trip to London - via QF of course.

The value that I and I suspect many others ascribed to Qantas was that it represented safety, security and familiarity. you were in safe Australian hands until you arrived in big scary London, and the sense of relief when you boarded at Heathrow for your return - and heard those confident Australian voices has to be felt to be believed. That feeling existed because we believed that Australian engineers and pilots were the best in the world and the cabin crew set out to prove on every flight that they were the same.

I believe that the brand is under massive threat because you cannot manufacture the perceptions I'm talking about out of a Neill Perry menu and a glass of Grange delivered by some low cost Thai cabin crew. You can't make it out of low cost harassed pilots nor Asian maintenance.

In any case, Globalisation has almost run its course. Economists are now predicting the return of protectionism starting around 2013, after which the decision to outsource overseas will be looking pretty foolish. If Mr. Borghetti keeps going - and investing in Australian staff, then he is going to take the Qantas mantle of being Australias flag carrier and the Qantas brand will end up on the scrap heap.
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Old 13th Dec 2011, 20:54
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Too right!

At what point will the government step in do you think?
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Old 13th Dec 2011, 21:16
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Oh dear, Wedcue.

At what point will the government step in do you think?
When votes depend on it, of course. When else?
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Old 13th Dec 2011, 21:41
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Dixon and AJ (over promoted publicans) don't see it that way.

They have their 25yo 'line managers' (with 2-3 years experience 'Ive been with Qantas for 6 years' but its actually Qlink baggage services for 3) telling 35yr cabin crew how to improve their service on board.

AJ is so incompetent he clearly believes this is the only way to make the brand good again.

To anyone who has any idea of airlines this 'strategy' is clearly grasping at straws.

However to AJ they will be convinced they are (or have) done everything that is possible to make Qantas good.

As you said SF Neil Perry (and HE gets $1.3m pa) food and grange or stunning 1st class lounges do NOT make up for aggravated and non caring staff.

What really pisses me off is that Dixon has a proclaimed love of pubs 'because they are fun'. That is the limit of his ability yet he was running an airline! They have attacked the Qantas brand in the same way as they would attack a run down pub. Renovate the building and get cheaper 'yes men' staff - people will always come to nicely renovated pub.

Shame they didn't bother to renovate the aircraft and actually look at the customer service problems from the POV of the staff doing difficult work with ridiculous constraints on them from incompetent middle managers.

Why in Gods name would you ever employ people with no successful 'ground up' airline experience to run a brand like Qantas is absolutely beyond me. The guys who hired these people should be taken out and shot. You may as well employ a musician to run Rio Tinto as put a newspaper publican marketing manager in charge of THE iconic Australian brand.

I bet Joyce isn't having 'fun' and nor was Dixon.

Borghetti probably wouldn't have 'fun' running a pub. He seems to be enjoying himself at Virgin though.
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Old 13th Dec 2011, 23:01
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Waren9 why should the government step in? QF is a public company and has been for nearly 20 yrs although protected by government beauracracy.
And don't give me that national flag carrier crap VB can step up to the plate just like AN could have if not wedged out of the game.
QF is a business and the sooner we all realize this it can get on with sorting itself out.
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Old 14th Dec 2011, 02:16
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At what point will the government step in do you think?
Not in our lifetime, and nor should it. Qantas is a private company, operating in a free market. Governments should no more influence the decision-making at Qantas than they do at your local milk bar or pub.

Getting back to the original post, I'm afraid I don't buy the "legacy brand = yesterday's business" theory.

Look at the car industry. The quality German car manufacturers were confronted with intense competition over the past 40 years, especially given their unit labour cost and strong currency. Instead of running off to Asia (where most of their competition was located), they looked closely at their businesses and focused on quality and innovation.

Yes, there were a few bumps along the way, but they seem to be surviving quite well today. Product and brand distinction is essential.
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Old 14th Dec 2011, 02:47
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Chimbu, you are correct in what you say about the German car manufacturers :
Instead of running off to Asia (where most of their competition was located),
.
In fact what BMW and Mercedes have done is to run off to South Africa to produce cars. VW have done the same but added Mexico to the list.
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Old 14th Dec 2011, 08:35
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Management Incompetence

There is one reason and one reason only why Qantas is in decline:Incompetent management.
Successive managements post privatisation have made mistake after mistake.
Poor fleet mix
Poor network planning
Poor staff engagement
Poor maintenance decisions
Poor corporate governance
Poor management skillset
Poor IT capability
This forum has been filled with these observations for at least ten years and it is only now that mainstream media is catching on.
Most of Qantas senior management are part of the Magic circle Club that destroyed Ansett and brought Air New Zealand to its knees.Mix in a vertically challenged Irish narcissist and you the recipe for another airline to disappear.
The stupidity continues unabated.
Tony Fernandes is about ot eat these guys for breakfast
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Old 15th Dec 2011, 10:51
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The value that I and I suspect many others ascribed to Qantas was that it represented safety, security and familiarity. you were in safe Australian hands until you arrived in big scary London, and the sense of relief when you boarded at Heathrow for your return - and heard those confident Australian voices has to be felt to be believed. That feeling existed because we believed that Australian engineers and pilots were the best in the world and the cabin crew set out to prove on every flight that they were the same.
I remember those days well and you are so right. While the absolutely first class cabin service that came, for example, with Singapore Airlines or Thai International and their lovely delicate Asian air hostesses, I always worried a bit about the cultural mores of the national pilots up front.

But never did I worry about the QANTAS/ Cathay/ Air New Zealand pilots - probably because I knew some of them from my old Air Force days when we flew together. I could settle back in my cattle class seat - uncomfortable and cramped but I felt safe all the way. And I still feel the same way in choosing which airline I feel safe with.
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