Dennis Owen, Manager of Brand Cathay Pacific has been working with the airline for 29 years, starting in San Fransisco four months before Cathay even started flying to the United States as a sales representative and then moved to Dallas in 1990, when OneWorld started. “I was there for 6 years, and then went to Los Angeles and worked in Cargo for a period of time, before stepping back into sales. I was in LA for 11 years working for Cathay.” Dennis talks of his expansive career for the airline. “I came over to Hong Kong ten months ago to work with brand. It’s been a very exciting challenge, and great to finally work in the Headquarters.”
Work on the new brand image had already commenced before Dennis came over to Hong Kong, but he hit the ground running, helping launch the new brand only 4 months after stepping into the new role. “It started off with a soft launch, starting with the logo and website. The rest of the brand will eventually roll out over the following 13 months including airport signage and other touch points,” he said.
The Life Well Travelled campaign created by McCann Hong Kong is a part of a much larger marketing and communication campaign, but sits at the heart of the new brand image for Cathay Pacific. It has been very well received. Last month, the hashtag #lifewelltravelled alone had already amassed 45,000 photos for the airline, proving the success and interaction the carrier has managed to develop with its passenger base. “When we started it, we only had 600 photos, but its growing by a couple of thousand photos a week.” The campaign has had so much momentum Dennis hinted that it should be still around for a few more years.
The three videos that the airline commissioned to speak to the new campaign have already received over 7million views, and one video, titled “Miss Adventure” is specifically targeting a new demographic for the airline: “The Millennial” showcasing its drive to reach out to a new passenger base.
The airline has followed suit of major brands by connecting with their audience on a more emotional level and selling a story rather than product. “This was intentional.” Dennis admits. “If you look at our last campaign it was about people and service, and it was a great campaign, but it got copied. Now all advertising looks the same – its a flight crew, its the product, its the seat – to stand out, you have to remove yourself from the crowd, and own a new space that no one else owns.”
“I think the campaign will resonate with all types of audiences. It is about telling the story of how we are part of an overall experience, not just taking you from A to B. We want to be a part of the journey.” Talking about the journey, Dennis delved into their current product, and the lack of WiFi. “We will eventually have WiFi onboard but we need to make sure the quality is there first. We are concerned about our passengers experience and would only want to provide WiFi if we can offer a quality product, which isn’t there yet.”
“I always look outside of the industry to be inspired. I think it’s important to look at other industries to develop our own product.” Dennis is a proud follower of Apple, “They are an entity unto themselves, and they have managed to stay ahead of the curve for years. They stand out because they celebrate innovation and disruption. That’s what we can buy into, and we now ask to ourselves ‘Why do we do what we do?’ and help develop our products from that.”
When it comes to the brand image of the carrier, Dennis is excited about the new look Cathay. “The new brand has reignited a passion for Cathay Pacific. The new logo started this off… [but] soon passengers will see new safety videos and new airport signage.” But when asked bout the livery, sadly he revealed we shouldn’t be expecting a new look any time soon. “We did look at the livery, and considered it, but after so many years, its still a very contemporary livery, and there isn’t any need to change it just yet.”