Singapore Airlines (SIA) is one of the strongest brand names in Asia. The 32-yea

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Singapore Airlines (SIA) is one of the strongest brand names in Asia. The 32-year-old airline’s history began in 1947 when Malayan (later known as Malaysian) Airways was formed. Malaysian Airways operated between Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, and Penang. Later, in 1965, when Singapore was separated from Malaysia, the governments of both countries agreed to set up separate airlines. As a result, SIA came into existence in 1972. In due course of time, SIA became one of the world’s leading airlines carriers, earning a reputation for itself through excellent customer service. The company’s route network spanned 90 destinations in over 40 countries. Singapore, one of the smallest countries in the world, has no domestic flights, so the company was compelled to enter international routes. At the beginning, the company faced difficulties operating on international routes with regard to gaining admissions to airports, landing rights, securing flight slots, attracting new customers, etc. The stiff competition that it faced prompted the company to adopt a radically different strategy that would set it apart from the existing airline companies. Accordingly, SIA hit upon a branding strategy that made the company synonymous with providing the ultimate in customer service. Though the cabin crew of SIA consisted of both male and female employees, the stewardesses were specially referred to as Singapore Girls. To position itself as a customer service-centric company, SIA chose a marketing icon ‘Singapore Girl’, which eventually became synonymous with SIA. For decades, she (Singapore Girl) symbolized SIA’s dedication to passenger service. The image of her (Singapore Girl) was that of a calm, composed, and friendly hostess, ever ready to help. The company positioned the icon (Singapore Girl) as an elegant and warm person representing Asian values and hospitality. The Singapore Girl wore the traditional “sarong kebaya” (The design is based on typical Malaya clothing. It is a 2-piece costume consisting of figure-hugging batik sarong and a tight blouse that is made-up of any transparent material or lace which was specially designed by the French designer Pierre Balmain in 1947.) The company featured the icon ‘Singapore Girl’ in various forms of communications and in different themes and settings. The Singapore Girl always communicated the company’s in-flight hospitality and ground services rather than the whole package of benefits. This strategy aimed at setting the company apart from others. Advertising research conducted in the Asia/Pacific region showed that consumer’s recall of Singapore Girl ads was almost 50%, whereas the average of 40 other companies was just 9.6%. The company’s icon ‘Singapore Girl’ became so popular that it was also featured as a wax model in Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum, the first such in the museum from the advertising world. When compared to other airlines, SIA maintained brand consistency, mainly through the Singapore Girl icon. The company was branded as one delivering high-quality customer experience resulting in not only customer satisfaction but also customer “delight”. SIA introduced the ‘Stefan Floridian Waters’ a patented aroma, which later became the airlines’ trademark. The company used this perfume to scent the hot towels that were served before the flight’s take-off. This service provided customers an experience that was uniquely SIA. In fact, Singapore Airlines is typically world’s number one or two airline in any given year (and one of only a handful of 5-star airlines in the world) in terms of customer service as evaluated by SkyTrax, the leading airline rating company. The Singapore Girl marketing concept is not without controversy. Despite her success, some critics complain that the concept is sexist, outmoded and largely intended to serve male passengers’ fantasies of desirable, subservient Asian women. Singapore’s Straits Times once quoted a Qantas Airways chairman referring to the campaign as “massage parlour in the sky ads”. However, the marketing concept is unlikely to be replaced altogether in any future marketing campaigns: “To remove the Singapore Girl icon from SIA is like removing Mickey Mouse from Disneyland…” – The Straits Times SIA kept innovating with regard to ways of improving its services. It put the latest technology into use to ensure better service to customers and was thus able to successfully provide excellent customer service. The company’s top management was always on a continuous hunt for innovations that would help enrich the customer delight. The company made many in-flight experiential and entertainment innovations to position itself as a world-class airline. In fact, the airline was a pioneer in providing differentiating services like hot meals, free alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, video-on-demand in all cabins, personal entertainment systems, scented hot towels, etc. SIA replaced older aircraft with newer and better models on a regular basis. It was one of the first companies to have operated the Boeing 777 and Boeing 747 jumbo jets. The company further sub-branded the aircraft into 747-megatop and 777 Jubilee to distinguish its brand from those of competitors. SIA boasted of a young and modern fleet of aircraft. It was the first airline to operate the world’s largest aircraft, the Airbus A380, in the first quarter of 2006. SIA branded itself as a premium airlines company. The company was not willing to reduce fares to ward off the competition from low-cost carriers, as that would dilute its brand image. However, it introduced Tiger Airways with a relatively lower price range to cater to the local and short-haul routes. Questions: 1. Do you think the creation of the icon ‘Singapore Girl’ helped Singapore Airlines to become a distinguished brand in Asia? Justify your stand. 2. Do you believe the ‘Singapore Girl’ strategy is sexist? Should it be changed? Justify your stand. 3. Do you think Singapore Airlines can be successful in warding off the competition from low-cost carriers without any reduction in its price range? How? Justify your stand. Please click “Submit Assignment” on the right and then type or paste your answer in the space that will appear below. Don’t forget to number your answers for each question. Suggestion: Copy and paste the questions above (not the entire case) to organize your work. Before beginning, please take note of the following grading info from the syllabus: When completing your cases, please SINGLE SPACE and USE 12 POINT TIMES FONT Cases MUST be submitted through Canvas on or before the date noted in the syllabus. THEY ARE ALWAYS DUE before midnight. Do NOT email your cases to the instructor or teaching assistant. Emailed cases will receive 0 points regardless of the reason–NO EXCEPTIONS. DO NOT EMAIL CASES TO THE INSTRUCTOR or TA. Each case will receive up to 30 points as follows: ≤ 20 points = Unacceptable (D/F range) The case is too short, poorly written, incomplete and/or instructions were not followed. 21-23 points = Fair (C range) The case is passable, and all instructions were followed, though somewhat below expectations. 24-26 points = Good (B range) The case is well written, and the instructions were followed exactly. It meets expectations. PLEASE NOTE: Most cases fall into this category. 27-28 points = Excellent (A range) The case is very well written and substantially above and beyond expectations. Cases at this level must include at least 3 external citations from 3 different, independent sources.† 29-30 points = Outstanding (A+ range) The case is extremely well written AND in the top 5% of all cases submitted. Cases at this level must include at least 6 external citations from 6 different, independent sources.† I repeat: DO NOT email your cases for ANY REASON WHATSOEVER. †What is an external citation from an independent source? These are references to books, business journals, trade journals or news sources outside the class. Online sources are acceptable. You may wish to use the USF Library Course Guides menu item to help you find references. This is one of the links on the left side of the screen. You may NOT include course materials (such as the textbook), dictionaries, encyclopedias (like Wikipedia or similar) or company websites (which are not independent) as external citations. (Of course, you must cite a company or encyclopedia website if you reference it, but it does not count toward your 3 or 6 independent citations.) PLEASE NOTE: INCLUDING EXTERNAL CITATIONS DOES NOT GUARANTEE A SPECIFIC GRADE. External citations are a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for the corresponding grades noted above. In addition to including citations, your case analysis must also actually BE excellent or outstanding. IMPORTANT: In order to be counted, citations should be listed at the END of your case analysis and referenced in the body of the paper. I do NOT require a specific style (such as MLA or Turabian), and WORKING URLs are OK as citations (dead links will not count), but please reference citations with a number in the body of the paper like this(1). And then place the reference at the END of the case formatted like this: (1) Citation number one goes here. (2) Citation number two goes here. (3) Citation number three goes here. IMPROPERLY FORMATTED CITATIONS WILL NOT COUNT. If you fail to list citations at the END of the case AND reference them in the body of the case, the case will be graded as if the citations were not included with a maximum possible score of 26 points.


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