“India’s challenges are also its greatest promise. Its diversity, geographical spread and demography may seem like challenges to new players in the market. But for Lufthansa, which has made India home for more than half a century, it is second nature to us and our greatest opportunity.” Said Sangeeta Sharma, Senior Manager- Marketing & Product at Lufthansa India - Lufthansa German Airlines.
In this Interview with MediAvataar Sangeeta discussed the brand’s USP when it comes to the Indian market as well as what will be the walk though next year.
Here is the complete Q&A…
MediAvataar: Tell us how the company used to operate in India and how it has changed today.
Sangeeta: Lufthansa has been in India for more than half a century. Long before India became a hotspot for global business, Lufthansa has been building a partnership with India on a strong foundation of quality, innovation and reliability. In the more recent past however, it has become ‘More Indian than you think,’ progressively customizing its services to the Indian market.
MediAvataar: The ‘More Indian than you think’ brand campaign has been a hit, what made you come up with it?
Sangeeta: Brand Lufthansa has always had a very strong position in the Indian market at a rational level. It was trusted for being a dependable airline with a quality product. However, with the ‘More Indian than you think’ campaign we aimed to extend this trust to an emotional level by emphasizing the airline’s respect for Indian culture and the distinct preferences of its Indian guests. It highlighted the Indian heart within the German soul of the airline.
MediAvataar: Was the result of this campaign more monetary or emotional?
Sangeeta: When you focus on empathy with your customer, it is always beneficial for business. We have received an overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers who said they were truly touched by the campaign. The impact may not be tangible immediately, but this emotional connect is extremely important.
MediAvataar: What will be the brand strategy for the coming period?
Sangeeta: India is an extremely important market for Lufthansa. Our strategy here is to continue our ongoing efforts to elevate the customer experience by introducing state of the art products while focusing on high quality service customized to our Indian guests. Already, our flagship aircraft - the A380 and B747-8 - are flying to India and soon the ultra-modern A350 too will be introduced on the Munich-Delhi sector. In addition to ensuring a consistently satisfying travel experience, we are also committed to being a responsible member of the community. For instance, as a partner in the success of Indian business, we have worked diligently over the past 7 years to create the biggest platform for SMEs in India – Runway to Success.
MediAvataar: Lufthansa is such an old brand but why the need to incorporate Youth centric campaigns?
Sangeeta: India is a young country. With 65 per cent of the population below the age of 35 years, our market and audience are getting younger. Having said that, we still have an integrated approach with an even focus on age groups, genders and travel segments - both leisure and business.
MediAvataar: What has been the biggest challenge for the company so far especially for a country like India?
Sangeeta: India’s challenges are also its greatest promise. Its diversity, geographical spread and demography may seem like challenges to new players in the market. But for Lufthansa, which has made India home for more than half a century, it is second nature to us and our greatest opportunity.
MediAvataar: What has been one of your most a) gratifying and b) bizarre experiences in your career so far?
Sangeeta: In today’s work environment where change is the only constant, scoring a quarter century in just one organization might seem counter-intuitive, even bizarre. Yet, to me this has been the most gratifying experience. This is simply because I am learning new things every single day. I take every single campaign as a new challenge and each success gives me a new high.
MediAvataar: One thing you wish you had known when you started off? Your advice to the budding marketing professionals
Sangeeta: The fact that there are no rules! My only advice to budding marketing professionals is “Keep your ears glued to the customers’ voice and success will follow you wherever you go.”