GIVE THE MAHARAJA A BREAK
It’s time for a fresh start since in present times nostalgia might survive in only just one place- the past.
There is an expected sense of excitement at the much vaunted and awaited change in the ownership and consequent management in air India.
There is barely a word yet from its new owners on any meaty or tectonic shifts from how the company operated so far. Legions of pundits are rushing forth with I-told-you-so’s, homilies and advice. Let’s also add our two-bit to the mix.
The sudden revival of interest in the Maharaja logo is a case in point. Experts aver that it’s a myth to believe that customers are brand agnostic. The old logo, we are told, has history and strength on its side.
There have been suggestions the Air India brand can be revived in public consciousness by establishing a reconnect with nostalgia garnished with more efficient deliveries. There is also an idea doing the rounds that Tatas can strike an emotional bond with the market if the brand is shown to progressing towards its old glory. Indeed, the Maharaja logo does have a connect but possibly more so with a much older clientele.
It’s a very young world out there. A corpulent moustachioed and turbaned mascot might not be the genie from the magic lamp at this hour to grant any wish. The smartness of the first public contact will go much further than nostalgic trips of clever advertising. True, there is a historical connect between the airline, its logo and its owners but the jury is out on whether it will reverberate with a modern clientele.
There is a steady opinion that ‘the comfort appeal of brands that belonged to a bygone rose-tinted age could work’ and that the new owners could build upon that brand essence through a contemporary filter. Perhaps a survey that nails public opinion could better determine the strategy than sepia-tinted reminiscences of old hands.
Given the surprises Tatas can spring up, who knows all these surveys are already done and dusted and decisions are firmed up? Perhaps a new brand, totally disconnected from the past, is already well on its way.
Anurag Yadav is a travel author and columnist, writing on hospitality and design. An avid traveller, he has published five books and divides his time equally between Delhi and London. (Please add these lines)
The views expressed in the column are of the author, may or may not be endorsed by the publication.