Malaysia Airlines – Time for Rebranding?

Most organizations experience at least one crisis during their existence and are able to recover. Very few are able to recover from multiple crises, especially in a short amount of time. This is what Malaysia Airlines is presently experiencing. When Flight 370 disappeared in March, the airline had a tough time communicating with the public and those affected, creating a sense that they had something to hide.

Now, as another one of their planes was tragically impacted, industry experts and consumers are wary of the airline’s recovery. A recent article in the Associated Press addressed Malaysia Airline’s crisis communication plan and next steps in the brand’s survival. Malaysia Airlines is still dealing with its first mainstream crisis, and now has been thrown back into the public eye with a second crisis. The airline’s communication, recovery plans and branding options must address the issue and provide next steps of action. The airline needs to be as transparent as possible in the coming months working with the media and public to distribute as much information as possible.

Industry experts agree that it will be tough to recover from two massive crises in such a short amount of time. Though the airline was suffering financial problems prior to these events, experts concur that it will be tough to financially continue to recover from these setbacks, gain the public’s trust and increase ticket sales. Furthermore, advisors suggested the airline re-build from the top, bringing in fresh faces and ideas to update the airline. Among the largest of possible changes include efforts to rebrand the airline. Many of these strategies were employed following ValuJet’s crash into the Everglades in 1996, resulting in the airline rebranding as Air Tran. No one can predict crises but companies can be prepared to quickly and effectively deal with rebranding efforts when it does happen. Having a plan is the first step in successfully enduring a catastrophic brand event.

Devising clear lines of communication with the media and public, as well as a clear-cut message, warrants the audience’s compassion and understanding. Building your brand’s credibility and trust is of the utmost importance because it will help you survive future crises. There is no crystal ball that will tell us when our organization will have to endure a crisis. Organizations with a strong brand identity can continue to thrive under dire circumstances but must be willing to adopt a new brand identity if necessary. Are you prepared to weather the storm when it comes to your brand image? Contact a Merit Mile brand specialist and find out.