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American Airlines: New Look, Same Airline?
By: Casey Schoelen
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While one airline manufacturer fights through safety concerns, an airline brand released a new look. American Airlines has been working to overcome plights facing the aerospace industry and regain market share lost to competitors in recent years. They are in the process of updating their fleet and introducing new airlines. They are implementing new technology to make more for comfortable flights. Now they are introducing a new logo. But is it necessary?
In an industry with such few competitors, regardless of if a consumer is a fan of American Airlines or not, their AA logo was pretty iconic. It was simple, clean, and recognizable; not to say this new logo doesn’t feature those some qualities. But when you’re already such a recognizable and well-known brand, is there a point in investing marketing dollars into a rebrand? The argument is two-fold.
Faced recently with unsettling discussion of mergers and strikes and the occasional drunken pilot scandal, American could be trying to overcome some of those setbacks. The problem with the industry, however, is that consumers can be quite fickle, especially when it comes to airlines. No matter what a logo looks like or how new the fleet is, consumers are generally one cancelled flight or a six-hour delay from boycotting an airline. It’s hard to differentiate yourself as a brand when there are so many brand disconnects that are out of the airline’s control.

The difference comes in reactions to those events. A free drink and some bonus miles here and there go a long way. But as a consumer, it may come across wrongly to see an airline do a total rebrand when, just months ago, there were layoffs at maintenance facilities and other employees were voicing concerns over not being compensated fairly. During an economic recession, across the board consumers don’t want to hear about big executives and their bonuses when there is job insecurity. They don’t want to see a lot of expensive changes when their fare tickets skyrocket. Instead, they want to feel that they are supporting an organization that cares about its people as employees and them as customers.
Further, as a brand, a rebrand can go two ways: a raging success or a raging failure. Only time will tell if American’s new look and feel resonates with customers and increases market share or if, more likely, consumers feel slightly confused at where the old logo went but realize nothing much has changed and therefore little, if any, is impact is made.

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About the Author
Casey Schoelen is a young millennial excited and passionate about branding, advertising, and marketing. She is also a Nashville-native who loves traveling, reading the NYT, and watching sports.
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