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Global Brand Goes Australian

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about a company called ‘Virgin’? Richard Branson may be top of mind. Being British may also pop up, and maybe even their multitude of subsidiaries covering everything from airlines and health clubs to space flights.

My perception from here in Sydney, however, is of a major global brand that is successfully becoming ‘Australian’ at the local level. Some quick history for you – ‘Virgin Blue’ as it was formerly known entered the Australian market in 2000 and was then known as a low-cost carrier (the first of this nature in the local market).

Fast forward to 2011 and it was rebranded as Virgin Australia, together with new uniforms, new aircraft, new catering and new domestic business class – its goal being to compete more effectively with Qantas (Australia’s other major airline) in the business travel market.

So why do I think it’s effectively becoming Australian? Firstly, at the very top level, including ‘Australia’ in the name is a good, conspicuous start. The new look planes are a great improvement. On a very basic level, the previous planes all sported a cowgirl type picture which I always thought looked very ‘un-Australian’. Their new uniforms are more ‘earthy’ attuned with Australia’s famous outback sunsets.

What I really wanted to focus on, however, was their advertising campaign, ‘Virgin Australia – The romance is back’. This campaign is all-Australian. It’s filmed on the famous Salt Plains of Western Australia showcasing one of our amazing landscapes that we are so proud of and it features an Australian singer Megan Washington in the soundtrack.

Moreover, ‘Romance’ – the tag line for this campaign – is a personal value that GfK’s Roper Reports Worldwide Consumer Trends study tracks. Fully 45% of Australians agree that this is a very important value for them. We know that if brand values are aligned with consumer values this builds stronger brands – it ensures that people will talk about your brand. It is this tapping into key Australian consumer values that is the most exciting aspect here, and one which other Australian brands could do well to consider.

At GfK Consumer Trends, we work with some of the world’s largest multinationals, guiding their business strategy at the global, regional and local level. We can quantitatively reveal important consumer understanding for your key markets and provide you with consultative advice on how to adjust your global and regional marketing strategies at the local level.

We are also excited to announce that in addition to the 25 countries already covered by Roper Reports Worldwide, in 2013 we are expanding our SE Asian coverage to include Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. GfK Roper Reports Worldwide is the largest, longest standing and most robust consumer trends study in the world.

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