The Battle of The Brands


Battle of the Brands; ‘where to begin?’ I think to myself! With a million and one things to say, it’s apparent that, although it’s relatively simple, there are numerous complexities when you take a closer look.

We live in a world entirely galvanized by brands; it’s a reflection of social standing, more often than not, wealth and luxury, with a hunger for the ‘must haves’ and ‘the next best thing’. It’s therefore unsurprising that airlines have followed suit. Consumerism is rife and the race is on!

BUT let me ask you one thing: Are airlines using brands to their fullest potential when it comes to On-board Amenities?

During my research, I asked myself what does brand mean, and what does it demand? I turned to the trusty worldwide web to get some answers. None other than our very own Sir Richard Branson, a brand in his own right, offered up some words of wisdom, Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.’

Re-invention. Emotion. Imagination. They are the key words here and vital ones at that. Ergo, I ask you once again: Are airlines using brands to their fullest potential? I say No, Amenities says No. Many of the suppliers and brands I’ve spoken with say No. Even the airlines themselves have said No. BUT more importantly, the passengers say No!

Despite having had brands on-board for a good many years, their involvement in the amenity industry is still very much in its infancy and there is a reluctance to be the one to break out and be “radical” in terms of the marketplace. It’s traditional, conventional, unimaginative, and to be honest down-right boring. There’s an opportunity for airlines to innovate alongside their brand partnerships and they’re passing it up. Airlines could improve their offering through more collaborative and communicative partnerships with brands. At present there is a risk of limited potential,says Tessa Vermeulen, Business Development Manager at Rituals.

This ‘Limited Potential’ is precisely what we are seeing on-board, with a brand often slapped onto a substandard bag, like a diamond-encrusted Chanel knock-off t-shirt from a holiday market, then filled with the ‘same old’ branded cosmetics. Quite frankly If I see another cheap plastic razor or body lotion to lather myself up within the on-board loos, I fear I may jump out the exit hatch never to be seen again. At least it would’ve been an experience. And isn’t that what all customers are looking for and what all airlines need? An experience, ‘striking chords with people to stir their emotions.’

This is the beginning of my crusade on the Battle of the Brands, focusing on the role of brands in the amenity industry from brand alignment, their impact on the supplier and brand vs quality, to the future of brands on-board. So please take your seat, fasten your seat belt, ensure your seat back and tray table are in their full upright position and in the event of a brand brawl, an oxygen mask should automatically appear in front of you. If not, there is always the good old exit hatch!

Author: Lily-Fleur Bradbury, Features Editor. Read the full story in the latest issue of Amenities