IMC Campaign of Emirates Airlines with focus on UK market

00:00 Jan 01

Table of Contents ABSTRACT.. 3 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND.. 4 1.1      Introduction. 4 1.2      Background of the Study. 4 1.3      The Research Problem.. 5 1.4      Rationale (Reason for Study) 6 1.5      Aims and Objectives of the Study. 7 1.6      Research Questions. 7 1.7      Relevance of the Study. 8 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW... 8 2.1      Introduction. 8 2.2      Emirates Airlines. 8 2.3      Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) 9 CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY.. 10 3.1      Introduction. 10 3.2      Research Design. 11 3.3      Target Population. 11 3.4      Sampling Design. 12 3.5      Data Collection. 12 3.6      Data Analysis. 12 3.7      Ethical Considerations. 13 3.8      Conclusion. 13 REFERENCES. 14          


Emirates Airlines faces strong competition from other players in the air transport business. In order to achieve a considerable share of the market, the company strives to deliver high service standards and customer satisfaction to benefit from repeated sales and direct recommendations. As a result, a solid integrated communication is critical to the success of the company. Integrated communications ensure a consisted message regardless of the media or platform used by the marketing team. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, every company in the airlines industry strives to increase their passenger numbers. Consequently, creativity and innovation in the marketing process is essential to deliver results.  Emirates Airlines requires a marketing policy that strengthens its brand image for potential and current customers. The Integrated Marketing Communications approach is an effective marketing approach that integrates different tools to ensure a consistent image is portrayed across platforms.This research study seeks to examine the marketing strategies and communication efforts undertaken by Emirates Airlines and how they are integrated to convey a consistent and effective message for the United Kingdom market. The aim is to analyze how different marketing campaigns align with the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) approach. The marketing campaigns focused on this study include trade promotions, social media, in-plane advertisements, and internet marketing, print media and television commercials. A sample of 500 Emirates Airlines customers in the United Kingdom market will be randomly selected and a provided with an electronic questionnaire with specific questions regarding their perception of marketing strategies used by Emirates Airlines. A mixed research design will be employed in order to analyze both the qualitative and quantitative components of the marketing strategies. The results will then be analyzed using social statistical software (SPSSS). The findings of the study will be of great benefit to the marketing department of Emirates Airline since it will provide insights on how to realign their strategies towards Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) approach to ensure consistency and effectiveness in the United Kingdom market.              


1.1         Introduction

Emirates Airlines is a part of the Emirates Group of companies. The company has its headquarters in the United Arab Emirates. The airline has operations in several parts of the world. Established in 1985, Emirates has since grown to become one of the largest airlines in the Middle East (O'Connell, 2006). Although Emirates Airline has maintained a consistent growth of approximately 20 percent, the company faces strong competition from major airlines such as Virgin Airlines, American Airlines among others (Urban, Star, 2007). The company’s marketing strategy has largely focused on conveying a strong message of quality and customer satisfaction. It is with regard with this competitive aviation landscape that this study seeks to examine the marketing strategies for the company to analyze how they follow the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) approach.

1.2         Background of the Study

Emirates Airlines has grown from operating two international flights, Airbus 300 B4 and Boeing 737 to owing a fleet of cargo and passenger planes operating worldwide. The company has focused on customer satisfaction and quality services to ensure that it maintains its market share in an increasingly competitive aviation industry. In order to grow in any business, effective marketing is necessary especially for high revenue markets (Gasovic, 2011). The United Kingdom is regarded as a significant market for major airlines. Consequently, effective marketing for this market segment is a differentiator of successful airlines and failures. Emirates Airline has employed different marketing strategies to advertise its cargo and passenger services in the United Kingdom (Lehmann, Donald & Winer, 2002). These have included print media (magazines, journals and newspapers), social media, and electronic media such as e-mail marketing, television and simple text messages(Gasovic, 2011). Additionally, Emirates Airlines uses various outdoor advertisements such as billboards and branded kiosks to covey its message of quality and customer satisfaction. An examination of these advertisements convey a company that guarantees its customers a luxurious experience with excellent customer service. The adverts create an emotional experience for the audience, thus awakening the desire to experience Emirates Airlines flight (Chung, 2007). Despite the enormous effort to advertise Emirates Airlines services, marketing managers are faced with the challenge of growing customer numbers in an increasingly competitive market. Once of the ways to ensure that advertisement messages are consisted and drive sales is to use the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) approach. In view of the different marketing strategies used by Emirates Airlines, this study seeks to measure the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns by determining the level to which these strategies are aligned to the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) approach (Chung, 2007). The study findings will provide parameters for the marketing department to redesign their marketing campaigns to ensure a consistent message for the United Kingdom market. It is inferred that this will not only position the company to grow its passenger number but also form a basis for which other airlines can measure the level of alignment of their marketing strategies (Pope,2003).

1.3         The Research Problem

A study conducted by Pope (2003), reveal the importance of marketing in business success. Emirates Airlines has invested its resources in marketing through in-flight LED displays, social media marketing, outdoor advertisements, television advertisements, internet marketing as well as the use of mass emails and short text messages (Kan, 2017). The marketing messages are intended to emotionally connect with the audience by communicating a brand that is focused on luxury, quality and customer-centered.  However, according to Pope (2003), marketing strategies have to adhere to the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) in order to achieve consistency across platforms and achieve the intended goal. Currently, it is difficult to determine whether marketing campaigns launched by Emirates Airlines for the United Kingdom follow the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) approach. This study therefore seeks to resolve this problem by using a mixed research method to collect data from customers and examine whether the campaigns are integrated and the message is consistent across platforms.

1.4         Rationale (Reason for Study)

Emirates Airlines has established a strong brand in the global aviation market. To maintain this brand in an ever changing and competitive marketplace, there is need for research to obtain insight on the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns that the company uses. In order to continue leading, it is necessary for the company to adopt an integrated communications approach to its marketing strategies (Milovanovic, 2014). An integrated communications approach will ensure that Emirates Airlines remain a reputable and affordable company and continue to achieve awards for quality of service in the industry (Shi, 2012). The study will also form a basis for other airlines to examine their own marketing strategies and how they align with the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) approach. Scholars and educators will benefit from the study by using the paper in teaching concepts of Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) alignment.

1.5         Aims and Objectives of the Study

The specific aims and objectives of the current study are:
  1. To examine the marketing strategies used by Emirates Airlines in the United Kingdom.
  2. To examine the effectiveness of the marketing strategies used by Emirates Airlines in the United Kingdom.
  3. To analyze how Emirates Airlines marketing campaigns are aligned to the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) approach.
  4. To propose ways to align Emirates Airlines marketing strategies with the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) approach in order to maximize impact.

1.6         Research Questions

  1. What are the marketing strategies used by Emirates Airlines in the United Kingdom?
  2. How effective are the marketing strategies used by Emirates Airlines in the United Kingdom?
  3. To what extend are Emirates Airlines marketing campaigns aligned to the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) approach?
  4. In what ways can Emirates Airlines marketing strategies be aligned with the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) approach in order to maximize impact?

1.7         Relevance of the Study

The airline industry is becoming increasingly competitive (Eid & Zaidi, 2010). New marketing tools are enhanced on a daily basis, making it appropriate for airlines that want to increase their market share seek ways to reach out to potential and existing customers. According to Eid and Zaidi (2010), Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) has been found to be an effective strategy to convey a consistent and relevant marketing message to audience across platforms and media. Consequently, in understanding the marketing strategies used by Emirates Airlines and how they are integrated will help the organization become more effective in marketing its passenger and cargo services. The study will also be of great benefit to other companies in the airline industry as well as marketing educators and scholars.


2.1  Introduction

In order to conduct the study, a review of existing literature on marketing strategies employed by Emirates Airlines especially for the United Kingdom market is necessary. Additionally, a review of articles on the concept and benefits of using Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) in marketing campaigns will also be examined in order to anchor the current study in the relevant theoretical foundations.

2.2  Emirates Airlines

Emirates Airlines is one of the leading global airlines with operations in the United Kingdom. Created in 1985 as part of the Emirates ventures, the company has grown to provide high quality passenger and cargo services (Oyewole, Sankaran & Choudhury, 2008). The company has its headquarters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and operates in virtually every region. It has received several awards in the past including the Best Airline in both 2002 and 2003 editions. The company has grown to become a market leader owing to its strategies that focus on offering quality services in a n industry where airlines are constantly competing for passenger numbers. Emirate Airlines has been growing at approximately 20 percent in terms of profit numbers. The airline operates both a passenger and cargo service and is keen on ensuring a supportive approach to dealing with customers.  In order to maintain the corporate image and attract customers, the company has invested heavily on marketing campaigns.  Emirates Airlines uses outdoor advertisements through kiosks and billboards, television adverts, online marketing, bulk email marketing, social media marketing, in-flight advertisements and events.

2.3  Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)

According to Eid and Zaidi (2010), Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is a simple concept that refers to the linking of all marketing communications to ensure consistency, regardless of the platform or method of communication used. On the other hand, Messner (2017), defined Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) as a set of tools that enable markers to communicate a consistent message through various marketing platforms. Messner (2017), argues that the choice of IMC tools depends on the audience, message and the financial capabilities of the company in terms of budgetary allocations for marketing purposes.  Additionally, Safi (2011), points out that Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) depends on the choice of strategy by the marketing team. Effective choice of strategy to follow the IMC approach requires that marketers conduct and in-depth analysis of the targeted audience as well as researching on the consumer behavior towards the company’s products and services. Insight from research enables the marketing team to integrate marketing campaigns to ensure that a consistent message is conveyed in all the platforms, thus dispelling any percepts that the audience may have about the products and services.Safi (2011), argues that perceptions and expectations of customers should be taken into consideration when expanding marketing strategies to reach a global audience. Empirical studies reveal that a deep understanding of customer expectations, preferences and customer needs is necessary to create effective marketing strategies. According to a study by Safi (2011), combining different marketing strategies has a greater effect on the audience compared to using a single marketing approach. Emirates Airlines currently employs different marketing tools including social media, internet marketing, outdoor marketing, internet marketing, in-flight marketing, events and promotions, electronic marketing and print media to advertise its services (Faisal, 2016). As a result, Emirates Airlines is an appropriate candidate for embracing the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) in order to optimize the impact for customers in the United Kingdom market and create a competitive advantage (Kim & Prater, 2011). For instance, the use of advertisements and promotions as integrated marketing tools has proved to be effective in the airline industry. Marketers can advertise discounts for passenger tickets in order to fill empty seats especially during low season (Faisal, 2016).

2.4   Marketing Approaches used by Emirates Airlines

2.4.1        Sponsorships

Emirates Airlines has invested in sponsorships as a marketing strategy. The company partners with organizers of international football tournaments and through these events, the company is able to advertise its brand. In addition, Emirates sponsors regional and global cultural and art exhibitions. The company believes that through sponsorships, mutual relationships with clients can be developed (Faisal, 2016)

                2.4.2 Advertisements

Emirates Airlines has embraced advertisements as a core strategy in promoting its services to the public. The company has recently used television and radio advertisements, billboards, newspapers, word of mouth and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter (Pal & Kapur, 2013)

                2.4.3 Supportive Communication

According to Pal and Kapur (2013), supportive communication addresses the specific communication requirements of a customer as opposed to general communication. The aim of supportive communication may be to solve a problem that the client is experiencing or customize the product or service to meet the clients’ specific needs. The company has used its onboard system to advertise its products and offers as well as communicate of important procedures to address specific customer situations.

                2.4.4 E-commerce

E-commerce refers to the process of using computer systems running on the internet to purchase good and services. It is sometimes referred to as electronic commerce. Emirates Airlines has embraced the use of e-commerce by establishing an online store from where customers can buy products as well as purchase tickets.

                2.4.5 Public Relations

Emirates Airlines strive to improve its relations by regularly issuing updates to customers about schedules and also addressing specific issues that may arise. Communication is often done through in-flight magazines, newspapers and the official websites. Another critical component of Emirates public relations is its corporate social responsibility which enables people to donate funds for supporting social causes. Through public relations, the company has managed to achieve a competitive edge in the aviation industry by increasing its market share.  


3.1  Introduction

This section highlights the research approach taken by the study. It provides detailed explanation of the research design, target population and data collection methods that will be employed when carrying out the study. Methods of data analysis as well as ethical issues that should be considered when undertaking the research are also included in this section.

3.2  Research Design

The study will employ a mixed research approach in order to systematically describe the impact of current marketing strategies used by Emirates Airlines for the United Kingdom market. The mixed approach is appropriate since it will give the researcher an opportunity  to examine both qualitative and quantitative aspects of marketing strategies used by Emirates Airlines.

3.3  Target Population

Members of staff in the Emirates Airlines marketing department in the United Kingdom and customers of the airline will form the target population for the current study. A total of 50 employees and 200 customers will participate in the study. The customers demographics is predicted to vary considerably while the staff population is fairly homogeneous consisting of marketing professionals.

3.4  Sampling Design

The study will follow a simple random sampling design for both marketing staff of Emirates Airlines as well as customer population. The simple random sampling approach is widely used to eliminate any form of bias that may arise when selecting the sample to be used for the study. The research will collect data from Emirates Airlines marketing staff in the United Kingdom as well as international travelers using Emirates Airlines. The sample size of 250 is consider will enable the researcher to obtain reliable findings and conclusions about the methods of marketing used by Emirates Airlines and how they are aligned to the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) approach.

3.5  Data Collection

The study will use a structured questionnaire as the primary data collection instrument. The questionnaire will be administered to employees and customers of Emirates Airlines. The questionnaire will be divided into three sections. The first section will capture the demographic details of the respondent; the second section will capture the method of marketing used by Emirates Airlines while the third section will focus on how well the identified marketing campaigns are aligned to the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) approach.

3.6  Data Analysis

The data collected will then be analyzed using both descriptive and statistical methods. The first step in the qualitative data analysis process will be to categorize the data and examine it to point out any significant trends and relationships. The quantitative data will then be fed into social statistics software (SPSS) and analyzed using statistical figures such as the mean, median and standard deviation. In addition, a regression model will be run to determine any relationship between the different variables under analysis. The findings of the study will then be presented in the form of tables and figures, line graphs and pie charts representing frequencies and percentages. Regression analysis values will enable the researcher to identify any impact of  Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) approach on the customer perception of the Emirates Airlines brand.

3.7  Ethical Considerations

In successfully conducting the study, the researcher will have to take several ethical factors into consideration. The essential factor is to ensure the confidentiality of the respondents during the study. The researcher recognizes the need to keep any information about the respondents a private matter and not to be used for any other purpose except for the purpose stated in the objectives of this study. The fact that the data that will be collected during the study directly affects Emirates Airlines means that sensitive company information will have to be protected from any third parties. In order to guarantee confidentiality and secrecy, a mutual agreement will be signed between the researcher and Emirates Airlines as well as the customers that will agree to participate in the current study.

3.8  Conclusion

The research methodology adopted in this study is aimed at enabling the researcher to achieve the objective of the study which is to determine the marketing strategies used by Emirates Airlines and how they are aligned to the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) approach. A mixed research design has been deliberately chosen since it enables the researcher to collect both qualitative and quantitative aspects of the marketing strategies used by Emirates Airlines. Using both qualitative and quantitative data analysis approaches will enable the researcher to identify how well Emirates Airlines marketing campaigns are integrated and therefore make appropriate recommendations based on the findings.


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