Is Brand Indigo still ‘6E’?

09 Nov,2017


By Avik Chattopadhyay


Avik Chattopadhyay

What happened with the Indigo passenger is the symptom of a disease that lies deep down. Just like an internal infection manifests itself as a bad cough or a painful boil. That disease is an outcome of serious neglect and denial…like most diseases. In this case, it is the denial of operating in the service industry, wherein each employee has to have patience, empathy and politeness ingrained into the blood flow through training and mentorship. Obviously, all this is lacking in the Indigo training and resource development system. They just teach processes and nothing more. The “ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls” is mere lip service and does not come out of any deep down customer intimacy.


While this one incident will make Indigo the brunt of lots of WhatsApp jokes and memes for some time, till the next such blunder by any airline, the management should see this as a clear warning of how they train, prepare and nurture their employees. Personally, I prefer Air India any day…they are polite, understanding and definitely far more patient with all those that fly the airline.


Brand Indigo is definitely negatively impacted by this incident. The once poster boy of the industry has been losing its sheen over the last couple of years while competition has been upping its service levels and operational efficiency.


For a service business, the brand is built through every point of customer interface and experience. The once “wow” factors that defined the Indigo brand as a leader are now tablestakes. The innovation has stopped, the flight delays have started, the prices are no longer value and the menu remains the same. How boring is that!!??


The advertising that once was a reinforcement of on ground brand experiences is now just gimmicky…playing with words. This incident is symptomatic of all that ails the brand now. It is an overt expression of the internal stresses and anxiety. These internal factors do seep into the psyche of all employees. This employee just gave vent to the tensions within the system.


As my brand guru Wally Olins used to repeat, the brand is a promise of an experience delivered consistently over time. Once that chain breaks, one needs to start afresh…repairs typically are not known to work. More than the incident, Indigo’s reaction, response and redressal system, or lack of it, exposes the disease within.


Avik Chattopadhyay, co-founder of brand strategy firm Expereal, was until a couple of years back marketing head at Volkswagen India. He has also been India CEO of Saffron Brand Consultants. Hecan be reached at The views expressed here are his own



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