easyJet launched in 1995 as the UK’s first ‘no frills’ budget airline. Exploiting a 1987 European Commission rule change, allowing any airline with a valid Air Operators Certificate to operate on any route within the EU, Stelios Haji-Ioannou launched the airline with an initial £5million. He opened with a headline-grabbing fare of £29 from London Luton to Glasgow, basing easyJet on Southwest Airlines, a US company offering a no-frills, low-price service on short haul routes. easyJet’s mission statement concentrates on three main points which are carried through their business and marketing strategy:
“To provide our customers with safe, good value, point to point air services. To effect and to offer a consistent and reliable product and fares appealing to leisure and business markets on a range of European routes. To achieve this we will develop our people and establish lasting relationships with our suppliers.”
The importance of a good value service, a consistent and reliable service, and the establishment and maintenance of relationships are very important in the success story that is easyJet. By using an aggressive promotional strategy highlighting the quick, convenient service they provide, easyJet has increased passenger numbers, revenue and profits, year on year since their flotation on the stock market in 2000. Whilst gaining financial and market success, easyJet has also been successful in gaining plaudits from many recognised bodies; such as the ‘Most significant impact on market sector’, and the ‘Most impressive brand developed in the last ten years’ awards at the Consumer Superbrands event.
Brand stretching is often grouped with, or mistaken for, brand extension. Geoffrey Randall highlights the difference:
“Although the categories overlap, and the terms ‘stretching’ and ‘extension’ are often used interchangeably, we will distinguish between stretching a brand into new product field...