I was really excited to see the launch of Thomas Cook’s re-brand last week. To coincide with this I interviewed Helen Atkinson, Online Partner Marketing Manager at Thomas Cook Airlines to discover more about the brand re- launch, what it meant to her and how it will impact their affiliate channel and the work we do with Thomas Cook.
Can you provide us with an overview of the drivers behind the new logo and tag line?
The new common symbol marks a milestone in the history of a business that has helped to shape the modern travel experience as we launch a unifying symbol that expresses our revitalised business. The heart is a symbol of warmth, vitality and joy – precisely what we believe our customers will experience when they travel with us.
‘Let’s Go’ complements the heart by taking our brand essence and saying it all in just two, memorable words. It represents the excitement and the energy of Thomas Cook in 2013, along with our new values, conveying a message of warmth, commitment and the sunny emotions and happy memories that holidays bring.
The essence of the new brand captures who Thomas Cook is, and what it promises – a high tech, high touch experience across all customer touch points with an omni-channel approach.
As Thomas Cook evolves to become a digitally led business, what changes will customers see?
Harriet Green, our CEO, covered this point well following the brand launch last week….
“It’s a major milestone in our high tech, high touch transformation. This isn’t just a rollout of a new logo, it’s about a promise. What we’re announcing today is a renewed promise to our customers, our people and suppliers. A promise that we’re putting them at the heart of our transformation it’s the essence of who we are. The unification of our brands under the Sunny Heart is three fold; it will make it easier for our customers to understand the full strength and end-to-end value of the entire Thomas Cook Group coupled with our full innovative offering of our services and products; it will show more clearly what differentiates us and how we provide a total experience along every touch point – from research, to booking, to anticipation, to the holiday itself; and importantly, it will clarify our customer promise– a complete range of inspirational experiences for our customers.
The Heart will appear on the web, in brochures, in our aircraft, in our concept hotels, our other hotels and in our stores: in short, everywhere that our customers connect with us. Our new brand essence will show our customers the breadth and depth of the Thomas Cook Group. It will inspire and assure our customers, showing that everything through our brands is connected at every level ensuring a unification of care for our customers, through every step of their journey with Thomas Cook”
How have digital channels already changed your business?
Speaking from a personal viewpoint, having now been with Thomas Cook for a year and worked on both ThomasCook.com and flythomascook.com, I have experienced the focus on our digital channel increase tremendously and we make changes and improvements every single day to our digital strategy.
As we move to grow our online presence, we have also seen a unique price parity come in across all three way that a customer can book – online, over the phone and in store. ‘High Tech High Touch’ is a key part of our new vision and indicates how we have recently invested and will continue to invest in our future digital channels.
What role does the affiliate channel have to play in helping Thomas Cook with its business objective to be more digital?
The affiliate channel is key for us as the activity we carry out is an extremely cost effective and transparent way of driving incremental volume. As our affiliate channels grow, this naturally sees a surge in our online share, which results in strong results with a similarly strong ROI. By working closely with the affilinet team I feel that we are becoming increasingly dominant within the affiliate space.
How will the objectives for the affiliate programme shift to support the new business direction?
Inevitably the affiliate channel will continue to grow as a key part of our business strategy. This is of course exciting but also means we have to become more strategic and methodical in our work. For the affilinet team and myself (as well as the Thomascook.com team) that means really trying to work with partners to ensure the strongest growth and ROI possible.
This means that by working closely together we will be able to understand the demographics of partner sites, how best to promote with each individual affiliate and what strategies we should utilise in order to then send customers to websites that are best-in-class and convert at the highest possible levels.
What platforms are you particularly excited about and how can the affiliate channel help Thomas Cook to engage consumers via these channels?
For me, unifying flythomascook.com with our other airline brands is hugely exciting and gives me the opportunity to work across a range of international markets in order to grow our business in line with the overall vision of the Thomas Cook Group. As an example, we are continually increasing our flight portfolio and the affiliate channel is instrumental in driving both awareness for the brand as well as bookings.
Of course the increase of mobile is still important as well, both in terms of mobile phones and tablet use, and additionally for me it is vital that all of my online and offline marketing channels work together in sync to ensure growth for my affiliate activity. As mentioned earlier, we are striving for an omni-channel approach and I am lucky enough to be able to be involved with this for flythomascook.com.
I think there is then just one more thing left for me to say…Let’s go!
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