Slashing prices has not helped rebuild the MAS brand

Since the twin disasters of MH370 and MH17, Malaysia Airlines has slashed prices on just about all its fares, offered travel agents in Australia Rolex watches and free flights to promote the carrier and attempted to discount its way out of trouble. And it has tried to do this with a series of ill conceived and poorly executed ads and PR campaigns that I wrote about here.

At the same time, it continues to ignore those passengers who have supported the airline during this difficult period.

MAS has also sent out the same poorly thought out post flight survey to passengers that asks questions that can offer little actionable data to be used to save the iconic brand. An example of the survey is this question below:

Good to know but how useful is the data?
Good to know but how useful is the data?

As an example, question A is about value for money. If a passenger has paid RM50 for a RM400 ticket then he will probably consider the flight to be good value for money. But if he has paid RM400 for the ticket and the person next to him has paid RM50, he probably won’t consider it good value for money. So how can MAS use the results?

I also wrote here that MAS should not be slashing prices because it was not going to work and once you’ve slashed prices, it is very hard to increase them.

Many people disagreed with me. Commenting on the article, Bob said, “At this time, the last thing they need is branding. They need to fill up seats for revenue so I don’t see any issues with the ads to be honest.”

I disagreed and said instead that MAS should focus on rebuilding its brand and offer more value rather than slash prices. Well if rumours from Reuters are to be believed, MAS is about to announce that the 3rd quarter 2014 was its worst quarter since it began operations 70 odd years ago. Reuters reports that despite the promotions and cheap flights, passenger numbers and yields were the loweest ever.

I’ll say it again, slashing prices does not work. This is what MAS needs to do NOW to save the brand. It’s time to stop reacting and start planning.


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