Leg room. Lumbar support. A nice bed made up with crisp linen. Warm blankets. Suited and booted smiles. Filet mignon. Free-flowing champagne. Mile-high Mai Tais. Double breasted blazers. Hand-rolled Cubans. Single malts. A well-stocked and tended bar. These were all par for the course for your stock standard air traveller decades ago.
Throughout the 60s, 70s and a decent chunk of the 80s, air travel was a truly refined experience.
In their heyday, national airlines acted as de-facto ambassadors on global tours of duty and each flight was a major opportunity to curry up some serious international clout.
From check-in to take-off to touch-down, airlines and airports took the customer experience seriously.
No bag tag, boarding pass, blouse, blazer, timetable book, poster, livery, seat trim, menu, wine list, pillbox hat or hemline escaped careful aesthetically-minded scrutiny in the battle for hearts, minds and bums on seats.
Passengers loved it and airlines were rewarded handsomely for their service.
As rising oil prices, battles between labour and capital and sweeping airline privatisations began to put spreadsheets at the heart of airline decision making, (and probably rightly so to a degree) CEOs tended to push design and the customer experience into the too hard and too unnecessary basket.
We can point to a number of reasons that explain how air travel has evolved the way it has.
Market and labour competition from low-cost carriers and a global drop in union representation among airline staff has seen the quality of inflight service decline due to overworked and underpaid cabin crew.
Advances in materials and their use in slimline seating have allowed more passengers to cram in making it cheaper for more people to travel.
A half-inch thick piece of tech has been able to arm travellers with 1000s of hours of audio visual bliss at the tip of their noses.
Despite air travel becoming more accessible to more people and advances in tech allowing passengers to plug in to more inflight entertainment than ever before, the travelling experience remains hollow and air journeys are now considered something to be endured, not looked forward to.
Elevating Air Travel For All
Low cost carriers have done an excellent job in making air travel affordable for more and more people. That’s a great thing and they’ve well and truly proven that this is a lucrative segment of the market. Now that this sector has cemented its maturity, there’s considerable scope to elevate the customer experience.
We here at Made HQ have come up with eight not-too-difficult and not-too-costly fixes for finessing the future of low cost air travel.
1. Tighten Up Your Tail
A tin of paint in a garish neon yellow costs the same as one carrying an elegant French navy. There’s no intrinsic reason why low-cost carriers have to look as cheap as their ticket price. Good design takes time and costs money but relative to other line-items on an airline’s expense sheet it offers incredible bang for your buck. If we were calling the shots at Jetstar or Ryanair HQ, we’d be getting out the swatches and dressing up our fleet in a premium shade of blue and plastering on a nice classic marque to command admiring eyeballs on any airfield it graces.
2. Excel At Ephemera
The meaning that can be derived from a nice piece of ephemera really shouldn’t be understated. A humble and historic boarding pass can bring back a flood of great memories for any sentimental traveller. We’d get our printers to work on an expanding suite of bag tags, luggage stickers, maps and posters to gift our passengers-cum-brand ambassadors.
3. Looking The Part
Who decided it was a good idea to put an adult woman in a black t-shirt with an orange trim and call that a uniform? For all its ills, fast fashion has democratised style and made looking sharp available to all. Airlines have no excuse for not draping their crew in hard-working dapper duds. We’d look to our friends at Muji and Uniqlo to smartly freshen up our aisles on a budget.
4. Menus Made For Mile-High Mastication
A stodgy sandwich and a muffin in a box does not a meal make. The human palette isn’t built to taste at 34,000 feet. Research has suggested that of our five key tastes, umami is the one that best stands the test of eating at altitude. We’d keep our dinner service simple and unpretentious with hot savoury staples built for quick-and-easy galley cooking.
5. Stretch Those Legs
Low cost carriers are expanding their route maps to include long haul routes and full-service carriers will no-doubt tweak their offerings to compete commercially. We’d take the bet that jettisoning a few rows of seating in order to space out the leg room in economy would be a revenue winner for those keen to trade off a little more cash for a lot more comfort.
6. Spruce-Up Security
In a post 911 world, we’ve come to expect and accept that a thorough scanning and frisking is a necessary component of any journey. To make things run slicker, we’d decentralise the security check and split it out by gate. That will reduce your line size and take the tension off stressed security staff facing unending swarms of neck-pillowed travellers.
7. Exceed Gate Expectations
Walk down any airport concourse before boarding and you’ll notice some resplendent flashes of uniform representing any number of airlines as staff prepare passengers for boarding. It seems like a missed opportunity not to offer a great cup of coffee or a nice, weighty magazine to all passers-by in an effort to showcase your airline’s stellar service to potential future customers. We’d knock together a great looking mobile unit that pumps out fine flat whites and displays a wide array of global print titles for pinching (if you’re a passenger) or purchasing (if you’re a passer-by).
8. Look After Your Front Line
Check-in staff and cabin crew can make or break an airline. Happy, friendly staff equals happy, friendly passengers. To befit their importance to an airline’s reputation, our front line staff would have a voice on our board and would be given a reasonable and regular work roster to give them security. We’d also fund hospitality and language training to help give our crew the leg-up over other airlines.
9. Engaging In-Flight And On-The-Ground
Most airline mags are a collage of products and places put together on the cheap. There’s a gap in the market for a premium travel-focused title with a slab of excellent news and reportage at the front of the book. Our perfect in-flight periodical would pull in the considered coverage offered by Jacobin, The Baffler, The Monthly and The Economist and mix it with the eye-popping travel coverage offered in Travel + Leisure, Holiday and YOLO. Such a collectable title would help sell our brand and it would command a nice sticker price at newsstands around the globe.
10. A Sympathetic C-Suite
We’d love to see airline CEOs get out on the front line more, seeking input from workers on the hangar floor and passengers, both frequent and infrequent. Understanding how an end user experiences your product will give you more insight than any spreadsheet. There are millions of great ideas floating in the consumer aether but you’ve got to go out and grab them.
Made Agency is a design and branding agency headquartered in leafy Double Bay, Sydney. For more ideas from us, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Is your business in need of a spruce-up? We’re always keen for a chat. Drop us a line and we can get the ball rolling:
Client: Wyer & Co Services: Branding, Graphic Design, Identity, Copy Writing, Print, Digital, Web Design
Wyer & Co is one of Sydney’s most sought-after landscaping firms. They’ve earned an impeccable reputation for quality through designing and delivering verdant prestige gardens in eastern Sydney over many years. Made was tasked with elevating their brand to match the premium nature of their work. We amplified the luxury that embodies a Wyer & Co designed space with a clean, elegant brand, stationery and website.
Target Hunter is a premium performance coach and consulting firm based in Sydney. They help executives and high-performance teams build their focus, streamline their processes and chart a course to be generally more effective in both work and life. We created a bold and impactful brand that embodied the integrity of their services.
Inspired Intl. is one of the Asia Pacific’s leading destination events managers. They have a reputation for hosting innovative and inspiring events and conferences on behalf of the world’s largest organisations. Made was tasked with bringing that innovation and inspiration to their brand. We created an elegant and versatile corporate identity and an extended brand and website to allow this fine events company to put their best foot forward in front of their prestige clientele.
VCA Partners is an independent corporate advisory firm based in Sydney. They provide domestic and cross-border advisory services to public and private companies on strategy, valuation, mergers, takeovers, acquisitions, divestments, capital market activities, and restructuring. Made was engaged to create an elegant brand that illustrated the premium nature of their service and endeared them to their high net worth clientele.
Just Booked is an innovative booking platform that allows drivers to reserve parking spaces at selected locations. Parking provider Divvy approached Made to give its new booking system a bright, bold personality. We developed a holistic brand dripping in primary colours to give the new service a sunny disposition.
Client: Vanuatu Government Services: Branding, Art Direction, Web Design, Strategy, Campaign, Digital
Made was engaged by the Vanuatu Government to build a brand that celebrated the nation’s commitment to craftsmanship and the strength of their organic agriculture.
We created a bold marque that allowed producers and makers to show the world that their products were proudly ‘Vanuatu Made’. The project involved the creation of a not-for-profit entity that supports Vanuatu businesses by giving them a wider domestic and international audience via the brand’s website and an extensive advertising campaign.
Many companies rebrand to evolve with their target audience and keep the brand current and distinguishable. It has been found that rebranding is effective in setting companies apart from competitors and consequently improving their overall performance. Rebranding also allows brands to change their focus to better reflect the company and connect with audiences more. To make the best rebranding decisions, you need a significant amount of thought and planning involved. We go through our top tips for finding inspiration when rebranding.
1. Talk to staff and customers
Companies can better understand how the brand is currently viewed if they talk with both staff members and customers. After that, you can determine goals or if the views of the company are currently aligned with that of customers. The process can give the brand an idea of where to start with their rebranding and ensure that decisions reflect customer and staff views.
2. Create mood boards
Looking at other brands for inspiration can also be a great way to find inspiration for where to take the rebrand. It can also help to give the creative team an idea of what you envision for the brand to guide them in designing the rebrand.
3. Find a graphic design team to rebranding
Graphic designers have extensive experience in rebranding and can not only help in generating content for your rebranding, but providing inspiration for where to go with it. At Made Agency, we specialise in rebranding, from creating new websites, to corporate documents and stationary.
As a branding agency, one of our recent projects was for Seacapital, a property management and marketing company exclusively for developers. This rebrand involved the creation of stationary, corporate documents, website and environmental signage. The vision was to make it professional and eye-catching, with inspiration for the design associated with sea in the name of Seacapital, which we used to create the idea of a wave in the logo.
Do you need help with your rebranding? Call us today on 1300 877 503, or email email@example.com to find out more.
Today we’re talking about things that can make a massive difference in the way we portray our brands online, through your online shop – your business website.
Here at Made Agency, we design and develop quite a few websites every year. As much as we love designing custom websites, we also do get requests to review and re-design websites that have been around for 3, 5 or even 10 years. After more than a decade of working on different kinds of projects, we have seen all kinds of business websites, and we know a thing or do about the ones that work best.
As soon as someone lands on the main landing page or the home page, it is essential that they understand and know immediately who you are and what you’re on about. Visitors usually spend 5-10 seconds or even less than that before the internet drives them to another link, so you don’t have a lot of time to make this happen!
We have a few key points that we run through to make sure that all those key points are hit, so if your website is not converting the way you would like it to, or not even attracting your ideal client – here’s a couple of tips to help you with that.
Think about this –
1. Would someone know what your business is about as soon as they land on the website? What elements convey that information?
2. Is there a call to action, an opt-in offer or a service offering so they know what to do next?
3. Is your design created to attract the client or is it distracting?
4. Do the images and graphic elements reflect your brand? Are you creating the content to reflect and enhance your brand or does it look like it belongs elsewhere?
Keeping in mind the points listed above, we have 3 points here that will consolidate the areas that are most important when trying to create a distinct and well-crafted website.
The Top 3 things that you’re possibly doing wrong on your website
The content on your website is too much
If you’re tempted to look at this heading and think that this is not really you, it most probably rings true for you. Most websites have a copy that is spilling out of every corner, and in most cases, it’s just- not- necessary.
With too much text, as important as it is, you run the risk of confusing the viewer, and this will, in most cases lead them to leave the website and not engage with you! All because they did not know where to look, what to do or where to go next.
This is a key point because your website is a strategic pointer towards your services and a key factor that will influence your marketing over the long (and short) term. It shouldn’t be all about your company and most importantly should not come across as a library of information.
Your website design only reflects your own personal style & design aesthetic, not your brand
The main purpose of a website is all about attracting and serving others. A website might look great to you but to someone visiting your brand, it might not create the same impression. We see this often especially with new business owners, and it’s completely understandable how you want to like and enjoy your own design and brand, but ultimately, you’re not working to attract yourself! You’re simply in business because you are looking to attract and serve others.
The best thing to do in this regard is to think about your ideal client and keep them front of mind when you are creating anything – whether that is the homepage or the services page – and even your portfolio. Show, don’t tell.
The solution? Learn about and focus in on your ideal client. Hone in on what makes them tick. Consider the style and design that your ideal client would be attracted to and marry that with your personal design preferences.
Creating a clear and crisp message about what your business does
Never assume that people will automatically understand what they’re meant to do when they land on your homepage. This is something that often happens and even though it’s something so simple and manageable, it still happens!
Like we mentioned before, it takes less than 10 seconds for a visitor to arrive, check your website, make an impression and then makes a (maybe permanent) decision of leaving your site (or staying if they love it!). This applies to businesses of every kind, products, and services, blogs and e-commerce sites. The header of the website, whether it’s an image or has the text laid in with it, should communicate what your business does and give the person an idea about the value you offer.
The solution to this would be crafting a one-sentence description near the top of your website that clearly articulates what you do, what makes you unique and difference, and how your product or service will change your customer’s life.
Take action! Check your homepage today, and go through the elements we’ve covered today. It would be even better to ask someone who is your target market, or a potential customer who has an interest and real need in your product or service and let them give you some honest feedback
Taking these 3 quick actions can really make a difference for your business.
If you’re ready to build a new presence and create a brand that you and your customers love, take a step today! Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org, check out our portfolio and if you think it’s a good fit, we would love to hear from you!