A few months ago, we came to El Al’s offices and received a particularly challenging task: to build from scratch a new airline brand in Israel. We were already excited. Building an airline brand does not happen every day, certainly not in such a small country.
Today, we are excited once again, and even feel like we are ‘up in the clouds’ because everything is ready and all that is left to do is take off.
El Al is the leading and preferred brand in the Israeli aviation industry; however, in recent years it has dealt with aggressive competition against other traditional international airlines, Israeli companies and low-cost players who have started operating flights to Israel.
The main reason for the Israeli community’s preference of El Al is the strong feeling of safety that is also tied to high standards of security, national pride, and a connection to the Israeli nature. In light of the increased competition in recent years, one of the main barriers for El Al has been the perception of expensive pricing.
‘Low cost’ is the most developing and growing concept in global aviation. In Israel, however, this field is still in its infancy: operations are still limited in the number of operating companies and the number of destinations. The Israeli community, which is known on the one hand for flying frequently and on the other for being “price biased”, is not yet familiar with the concept and does not understand the differences between low cost companies and traditional airlines.
The first challenge: an opportunity to launch a new concept in Israel’s aviation industry and to take ownership over it.
The second challenge: the need to launch a model of operations that is significantly different from the familiar model of El Al, all without damaging a brand that is well known and loved. A model that includes a minimal flight and service experience alongside a new pricing method: purchasing one-way tickets at a base price and paying separately for any additional flight service.
The third challenge: defining a real differentiation against the direct competition, mainly based on low prices offered by other low cost companies, who have international reputations and experience.
The first decision we made was to build an independent brand (with a unique identity and a differentiated holistic experience) with a link to the El Al brand, that being associated with it constitutes an integral part of its differentiation in the category. The positioning defined for the brand is inexpensive flights from a good home.
Additionally, in order for us to properly market the concept of low cost in Israel and take ownership without only addressing the cheap price, the branding essence that was chosen emphasises substantial and relevant value for the target community: “allowing you to choose.” This approach lets the brand tell the real story behind the low cost concept, namely the modular pricing model that constitutes, among other things, the reason for the cheap pricing. This approach allows the brand to create a unique story against the direct competition.
In order to maintain a certain link to El Al, at the same time as transmitting a separate energy, we chose the name UP for the brand, a name that correlates with the meaning of the name El Al.
The brand language that we developed brings typical characteristics of low cost brands, alongside certain anchors maintaining the link to the umbrella brand and characteristics emphasising the brand essence — The Choice. That’s how we chose the main colour to be light blue and the clouds to be the main brand tool. We also developed series of unique icons for each chosen flight service, and created a unique design for the brand’s aircrafts that keeps the country’s flag on the tail.
We are proud to launch UP — the low cost brand from the El Al family.
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