In 2016, the Company continued to consistently improve service quality and promote the Aeroflot brand in the Russian and global markets. In the reporting period, Aeroflot launched a series of advertising and marketing campaigns, ran programmes to boost demand for and provide informational support to new domestic and international services, and delivered a number of media projects involving a variety of promotional channels and tools. Important brand building tools include service quality improvement, the loyalty programme and sponsorship programmes.
In 2016, Aeroflot became the first Russian company to be awarded 4-Star Airline status by Skytrax for quality of customer service, and for the fifth time won the SkyTrax World Airline Award as the Best Airline in Eastern Europe (the airline also won the award in 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015).
According to Brand Finance research, Aeroflot is the strongest brand among the world’s largest airlines. The brand strength indicator relies on marketing research data along with benchmarking of financial results and measurements of overall potential versus peers. Our extraordinary brand strength provides a compelling indication of its sustainability and growth outlook, and testifies to the success of the Company’s marketing efforts. The Aeroflot brand was valued at USD 1.27 billion as at 31 December 2016, placing it among Top 30 airlines by value.
During 2016, we rolled out a number of advertising campaigns in more than 30 countries, including the EU, USA, Japan, India, CIS countries and etc. These campaigns were designed to improve sales of direct flights to Moscow, connecting flights between Europe and Asia, connecting flights to Russian destinations, as well as promote individual services and options. In 2016, the Company placed particular focus on raising the brand profile in our priority Asian markets, including China and South Korea, to boost demand for connecting flights from Asia to Europe. In addition, we took efforts to promote the Group’s products and services among the professional community.
In 2016, Aeroflot airline took part in the Moscow International Festival “Circle of Light”, organised and ran a successful New Year Travel light show in major Russian cities (Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, and Samara) and in Astana, Kazakhstan.
As part of activities to establish a united regional carrier under the Rossiya brand, we undertook a rebranding exercise to build on the valuable legacy of the previous logo and add some new, modern attributes. The launch of the new airline brand was supported by an advertising campaign in Russia in TV, outdoor, press, and web advertising channels.
Improving Customer Experience
Aeroflot Group continuously strives to improve customer experience as a strong competitive advantage to secure its leadership in the future. In 2016, the Group’s companies continued to improve their products and services focusing on a wider use of information technologies.
Key Achievements in Customer Experience in 2016
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Aeroflot Bonus is the largest frequent flyer programme in Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe. In 2016, the number of programme members increased by 15% y-o-y to 5.9 million people, with a frequent Aeroflot Bonus flyer (defined as a passenger who travelled within 24 months) averaging 6.2 flights.
Aeroflot Bonus offers its members an opportunity to earn free miles when flying with Aeroflot Group and SkyTeam Alliance or using partner services around the globe.
Aeroflot Bonus members
Aeroflot Bonus partners
In 2016, 48 new partners joined the programme. The total number of Aeroflot Bonus partners reached 97, of which 78 are not involved in the aviation business. The partners include airlines, banks, hotels, and restaurants.
During the year, we implemented a number of initiatives to improve customer service, namely:
- added online mile earning function available to Aeroflot Bonus members;
- piloted mile redemptions for travel class upgrades on one-way routes;
- launched a Feedback service available from personal accounts of Aeroflot Bonus members with an extended functionality to view previous requests and track processing time and status;
- provided broader opportunities for members to earn and use bonus miles to pay for goods, work or services of partners not involved in the aviation business and significantly expanded the range of goods and services offered in our Rewards Catalogue on www.rewards.aeroflot.ru, which can be paid for with miles.
PJSC Aeroflot continues its traditional sponsorship support to multiple sports, culture, business and other social projects, initiatives, and organisations.
Breakdown of PJSC Aeroflot’s spending on sponsorship programmes, 2016
Aeroflot’s sponsorship efforts are focused on:
- promoting Russian sports and providing support to Russian sports organisations;
- supporting cultural organisations in their efforts to promote Russian culture abroad.
In 2016, PJSC Aeroflot allocated a total of RUB 2.1 billion for sponsorship support (2015: RUB 1.9 billion).
In 2016, the Company continued to support ROSKINO film production company in holding events to promote Russian cinema at international film festivals in Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Toronto, London, and Los Angeles. Aeroflot provided support to a number of cultural initiatives run by the Centre of Film Festivals and International Programmes, which, during the year, held a series of Russian cinema and art festivals in Venice, Rome, Milan, Nice, and Cannes. As part of the Russian Cinema Year, the Company named some of its new aircraft after prominent Russian film directors.
In the reporting year, Aeroflot partnered with THREE T PRODUCTIONS to release a remake of legendary Soviet movie “Flight Crew”, with KVN competition series, and was a partner for the Golden Mask, National Theatre Award and Performing Arts Festival, and The Golden Gramophone, Russian national music award.
In 2016, Aeroflot became a General Partner of the 6th Moscow International Festival “Circle of Light”, Grebnoy Kanal site. The spectacular multimedia show with the largest ever video projection as the central attraction, took the viewers on a virtual tour of Russian cities.
Aeroflot and its subsidiaries have a strong track record of running awareness-raising campaigns to draw public attention to the importance of conservation of the Amur tiger and Far Eastern leopard. The company partnered with the Amur Tiger Centre to create animal images to be used for livery design for some of Rossiya airline’s aircraft. In addition, in late 2016, Aeroflot launched its in-flight magazine for children, “Aeroflot. The Young Traveller”, featuring the Amur tiger and Far Eastern leopard as its main characters. The magazine aims to both entertain children during the flight and promote a responsible attitude towards Nature among the younger generation.
Support for sports
Traditionally, sports have been placed high on the airline’s sponsorship agenda. Aeroflot actively promotes its own sport teams and supports the world’s largest international sports events.
In 2016, the Company continued to provide sponsorship support to CSKA Professional Football Club, with which it has a long-standing partnership. Through a wide range of marketing and advertising tools, Aeroflot has access to a multi-million audience of football fans.
To raise the levels of brand recognition and boost Aeroflot’s profile as a premium carrier in the global market, in 2013 the airline entered into a partnership agreement with Manchester United FC. In 2016, Aeroflot held a number of marketing events, including a sponsored match and training session for its partners at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester, UK, an online project with Ctrip, China’s largest tourist agency, and an online GeoQuest. The events sought to increase awareness of the Aeroflot brand in the Company’s key markets, promote the airline’s route network linking Asia and Europe, and enhance the brand loyalty among the target groups.
Aeroflot airline has been a General Partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Committees of Russia since 2010. In 2016, it continued providing support to the committees in its role as the carrier of their delegations.
As a partner of the Russian Volleyball Federation and the Russian Football Union, Aeroflot provides support for the participation of Russian national teams in international competitions. In 2016, the Company’s sports sponsorship portfolio grew substantially as it launched partnerships with the Russian Basketball Federation, Russian Cycling Federation, and the Russian Federation of Acrobatic Rock’n’Roll. In addition, we resumed partnership with the Russian Golf Association, thus securing access to the closed community of golf lovers.
In conjunction with the Russian Chess Federation and the Association of Chess Federations, the Company held Aeroflot OPEN 2016 international chess tournament, which over the years of its existence has gained immense popularity among international chess players.
In 2016, Aeroflot also provided support to Otradnoe show jumping club, which hosted a Show Jumping World Cup stage.
In 2016, we conducted a number of marketing surveys, including:
- assessment of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) with Bain & Company. NPS has demonstrated an upward trend year after year. In 2016, NPS remained strong at 72%;
- survey of compliance with customer service standards carried out in association with Romir Monitoring Standard as mystery passenger audit. Over the past two years, the project’s results have shown a sustainably high level of compliance at 93%;
- assessment of compliance with international customer service standards based on the airline star rating from SkyTrax, UK’s independent rating agency. Following flight audits by SkyTrax experts, Aeroflot airline was awarded a 4-Star Airline status, achieving the levels of the world’s top airlines;
- assessment of customer satisfaction with Aeroflot airline’s products on the markets of Europe, Middle East, and Asia in cooperation with IATA in its Airs@t customer satisfaction survey, as well as in joint SkyTeam Customer Experience Research project covering all member airlines.
As part of the efforts to update Aeroflot’s marketing strategy for the Russian and CIS markets, we ran a major questionnaire survey, carried out passenger segmentation, analysed consumer trends, analysed competition, and polled over 10,000 current and potential customers. The survey results were used as inputs to develop a set of marketing initiatives. The Aeroflot brand performance in the Russian market improved year-on-year across key metrics: passenger retention and repurchase intention are the highest across the peer group. The Aeroflot brand stands out for its high score on willingness to recommend and shows the highest score on the service performance expectations metric.
In the reporting year, we surveyed the perceptions of and attitudes to key elements of Aeroflot airline’s image among our target customer audience in China (respondents were shown a video ad, the logo, and the slogan). The results were used to inform a communications strategy for this market.
The Company also led a major marketing study to research the brand health in China, South Korea, Germany, Italy, and the UK.