What Branding Mistakes Did Malaysia Airlines Make In 2014?

By Dr. John Tantillo, - In Marketing

Picture of a Malaysia Airlines plane

Photo Credit: Aero Icarus

Moving on in our countdown of 2014’s branding winners and losers we now look at Malaysia Airlines.


Brand Loser # Two Malaysia Airlines

The mishandling of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappearance in March 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the recent ‘Want to go somewhere but don’t know where?” promotional tweet are the two reasons for Malaysia Airlines designation as the number two brand loser for 2014.

Branding is all about your customer and this airline’s communication insensitivity to families who lost loved ones is something we can all learn from. If only this airline would have thought like their customers and considered their loss instead of worrying about their own, a great branding gesture could have been accomplished. Thinking like one’s clients is a basic branding tenet that is often overlooked by marketers and should be always embraced. By sincerely establishing a concerned outreach despite the airline’s embarrassment, this brand could have achieved a new found respect even in the emotion of the moment. True every culture has different ways of dealing with grief, but to be truly brand sensitive, we must look beyond our perspective and consider those outside our frame of reference. The mantra it’s not about you, but rather all about your customer makes the most sense and should have been implemented ASAP when managing this very sad incident. It’s only when we become client focused as opposed to ego centric that branding’s concrete properties can take effect and generate positive results. And of yes, it is always easier when you have branding and marketing in mind, even when it may be uncomfortable to do so.

Branding Editor

Branding and Marketing Expert, Speaker, and teacher who writes about branding