Emirates and Etihad Airlines’ Brand Management

Analysis of the marketing process

Airlines can create and capture customer value in different ways. In particular, they can do it by providing core, actual, and augmented services (Stokes & Lomax 2008, p. 221). For instance, one can mention such aspects as the safety of the flight, scheduling, various services offered by flight attendants, and different entertainments that are available to customers (Stokes & Lomax 2008, p. 221). Additionally, businesses can use several resources to improve the experiences of buyers. Among such assets, one can distinguish infrastructure that includes such components aircrafts and other technologies used by a company. Much attention should also be paid to the skills of the personnel such as pilots and flight attendants who can profoundly shape the attitudes of clients.

Categorization of services

Overall, the benefits offered by businesses can be divided into several categories, namely, core, actual, and augmented services. This classification can be applied to the work of airlines. In turn, one should consider the following examples:

  1. Core services can be described as the primary benefit that customers seek when they decide to cooperate with a company. In this case, one should speak about the opportunity to travel from one place to another (Stokes & Lomax 2008, p. 221). The core service reflects the need that prompts people to buy a ticket.
  2. Actual services can be defined as the primary attributes that clients expect from the company’s operations. For instance, one can mention such characteristics as the competence of pilots and in-flight attendants, time efficiency, and proper handling of the luggage. Clients can expect such attributes from every airline company. They cannot be used to differentiate a company.
  3. In turn, one should speak about augmentative services that can be defined as additional offerings that should distinguish the company from other businesses. For instance, it is possible to identify such things as the reduced price of flight insurance, bed-style seats, and even video games (Stokes & Lomax 2008, p. 221). Furthermore, airlines can help customers rent a car, an apartment, or a room in a hotel. Therefore, they provide some after-flight amenities to clients. These activities can distinguish the brand of a corporation.

Shopping and specialty services

It is possible to distinguish convenience, shopping, and specialty services. They differ in terms of their perceived value to the customers. Convenience services such as taxi are selected according such a criterion as accessibility (Firk, Grove, & Joby 2013, p. 50). In contrast, buyers select specialty services on the basis of their brand preferences (Firk, Grove, & Joby 2013, p. 50). In turn, the operations of airlines can be described as specialty services. This argument is relevant to such luxury airlines as Emirates or Etihad. In this case, some customers do not focus only on the ratio of price and quality. As a rule, such clients are rather affluent, and they are not very price-sensitive.

Moreover, they look for a unique combination of services. This distinction can apply to those individuals who want to buy first-class tickets. Admittedly, the work of airlines is traditionally viewed as a shopping service that is assessed according to the ratio of price and quality (Rao 2011). In part, this behavior can be observed among people who buy economy or business-class tickets. Nevertheless, this description does not adequately apply to Etihad and Emirates since these companies lay stress on the differentiation as the crucial prerequisite for their sustainability.

The major individual product decisions of Emirates and Etihad

Service attributes

One can say that both Emirates and Etihad attach importance to the excellence of their services. In particular, they focus on such issues as the skills and training of the personnel, the quality of seats or even cabins, the use of multi-media technologies, and so forth. As it has been said before, these benefits are primarily intended for well-to-do clients who value comfort and prestige.


Brand Equity

The leaders of both companies attach importance to the reputation of their brands because this resource is essential for attracting customers and generating additional revenues. In particular, the names of both organizations are associated with the high quality of service and reliability. Therefore, many buyers want to want to rely on these airlines. Again, many of these customers do not evaluate the work of businesses in terms of their pricing policies. Instead, they concentrate on the quality of their products and services. As a result, they tend to single out Etihad and Emirates among other airlines. To a large extent, this approach to branding has been rather successful. For instance, the value of Emirates’ brand increased considerably during the last four years.

Brand positioning

Both organizations can be positioned as the airlines that serve the needs of affluent customers or least those people who belong to the upper-middle classes. The managers of these corporations want to highlight the idea that these companies can ensure the highest quality of services. Admittedly, the prices of tickets can vary significantly, but Etihad and Emirates set certain quality requirements that should be always met. They want to be viewed as the global leaders of the airline industry. In particular, they wish to be the companies that set the standards for other businesses. It is one of the aspects that should be taken into account.

Brand name

The companies take different approaches to brand naming. In particular, the management of Emirates makes reference to the geographic region in which the corporation was founded. In this way, they stress the idea that the organization was established in the UAE. In contrast, the brand name of Etihad emphasizes some important values of the company, namely, unity and strength. One should bear in mind that the word Etihad can be translated as United from Arabic. Thus, this distinction should not be overlooked.

Brand sponsorship

Companies want to associate their brands with athletes, charitable organizations, landmark events, and so forth (Copley 2007, p. 290). In turn, the corporations support football clubs. For instance, Etihad donates money to Manchester City, whereas Emirates is the sponsor of Arsenal. This policy is useful for increasing customers’ awareness about this brand because English football clubs enjoy widespread popularity in different countries. Apart from that, these businesses often support athletic competitions. Therefore, the senior managers take similar approaches to sponsorship. This policy has achieved its primary objectives since these brands are familiar even to people who do not use the services of airlines very often. It is one of the details that cannot be disregarded.

Brand development

The senior executives of both corporations lay stress on the idea that these organizations should be viewed as global brands that cannot be reduced to one country or region. They want to ensure that the names of these corporations can be recognized throughout the world. Therefore, they rely on various marketing strategies. For instance, they attract celebrities who can be popular among customers representing diverse cultures. Furthermore, these businesses want to increase the number of the destinations that they serve.

Service support

The brands of these companies remain attractive because they provide various support services to the clients. For example, customers can learn about the destinations that these airlines currently serve. Additionally, they maintain websites that enable buyers to book flights. Furthermore, they have call centres operating in different countries. These activities are supposed to create additional value. Moreover, this approach is essential for maintaining regular contacts with customers.

Product mix decisions


Both companies offer only one core service, namely, the transportation of a person from one location to another. Thus, one can say that the range of their operations is rather narrow. However, it is important to mention that these corporations also provide actual and augmentative services. They are supposed to enhance the experiences of clients. For instance, these businesses can offer many in-flight services. Still, it is important to remember that core services and augmented services are inseparable from another.


In turn, each of these companies has only one brand. In other words, these corporations do not operate several passenger carriers at the same time. To a large degree, this strategy can be explained by the fact that these companies always try to reach the highest quality standards.


One can say that these companies can adopt flexible pricing levels. For instance, the customers of these companies may differ in terms of their income level. In this case, it is possible to distinguish such categories as first-class, business class, and economy class. In this way, these businesses want to attract a greater number of customers. Nevertheless, one should remember that these people usually represent upper classes of the society.


Overall, the services offered by these companies are closely related to one another. They are supposed to ensure that a person enjoys his/her experiences during the flight. Moreover, this combination of services is aimed at demonstrating that an airline differs from its competitors. One should note that such notions as width, length, depth, and consistency have been applied to describe the operations that sell various products and services (Panda 2009). However, this conceptual framework can be also used to analyze the work of airlines.

The role of Jennifer Anniston and Nicole Kidman

Such famous actresses as Jennifer Anniston and Nicole Kidman can help these corporations promote their brands. They are recognized by people who live in different countries or regions. In this case, one should not speak only about the English-speaking world. It should be kept in mind that this strategy has been adopted by different companies that often involve actors or athletes (Kaser & Oelkers 2015). This discussion indicates that Emirates and Etihad adopt similar marketing and branding strategies. They want to become global leaders and trendsetters in the field. One can say that the methods selected by senior executives have been rather successful. So, they will not be discarded in the future.


Copley, P 2007, Marketing Communications Management, Routledge, New York.

Firk, R, Grove, S, & Joby, J 2013, Services Marketing Interactive Approach, Cengage Learning, New York.

Kaser, K, & Oelkers, D 2015, Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Cengage Learning, New York.

Panda, T 2009, Marketing Management: Text and Cases Indian Context, Excel Books India, Delhi.

Rao, K 2011, Services Marketing, Pearson Education India, Delhi.

Stokes, D, & Lomax, W 2008, Marketing: A Brief Introduction, Cengage Learning EMEA, New York.

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