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|Case Study: China Southern Airlines|
It is all systems go as China Southern makes marketing headway in Australia. The airline’s Australia and New Zealand Regional General Manager, Mr Henry He, shared his views on the company’s success with Sophie Loras.
China Southern first entered the Australian market over a decade ago but began an aggressive marketing campaign several years ago after rapidly expanding its flight routes to Australia.
From its hub in Guangzhou, the airline currently operates 11 flights a week between Sydney and Guangzhou, 10 flights a week from Melbourne, four flights a week from Brisbane and three flights a week from Perth. It also offers daily direct services from Guangzhou to Auckland. China Southern operates the largest airline fleet in Asia and is the third largest carrier in the world.
Henry He, China Southern’s Regional General Manager, Australia and New Zealand says Chinese companies face a range of challenges when entering the Australian market.
“Chinese companies need to learn not only the language and its finer nuances of meaning but also the way Australians do business and the expectations of the Australian consumer – even the way the media works,” says Mr He.
“There are significant cultural differences between Australia and China and we are working to learn fast and close the gaps!”
He says China Southern has continued to introduce strategies to integrate with its kasyna online Australian market. These have included a recruitment program to hire and train ‘Aussie’ cabin crew for its Australian flights to improve customer communications and service, and recently purchased a new office building in the Sydney CBD that will have a dedicated customer service centre as of the end of July.
The airline has also introduced an ‘English First’ policy for all staff including interns from China at the Australian office.
*Pictured above: China Southern has invested heavily in its Australian crew to help bridge cultural gaps.
“Business communities in Australia are very aware of the potential offered by China and its customers, both here in Australia and in China. Many businesses are putting in place, dedicated programs to train staff to cater specifically for Chinese needs, including language and culture,” says Mr He.
He says the airline’s rapid success in Australia can be attributed to the introduction best pokies online of offering Australian customers a “new and interesting route to China and beyond” at a time online pokies games when business and leisure connections between China and Australia are rapidly expanding.
“China Southern offers opportunities for Australians to take advantage of the new friendship with a competitive flight service and a real value proposition,” says Mr He.
Branding and Marketing
Mr He says says the airline “is striking a chord with customers in Australia, with the June launch in particular, of its Canton Route to the UK and Europe.” This has allowed China Southern to link its market perception with Qantas’ Kangaroo Route – leveraging the association in Australian consumers’ minds.
China Southern has employed a trade and consumer branding strategy to reach the end consumer, driving sales either directly through consumer focused press, advertising, prizes and sponsorships, or via travel agents who may encourage their clients to take advantage of competitive international fares at a time when the exchange rate favours the Australian dollar and travel overseas.
The airline currently has a two-year sponsorship deal with the Sydney Festival, a Twenty20 cricket charity series for a new cricket tournament between Australia and India (two of its most valued markets), sponsors the Cure for Life Gala Ball and contributes prizes for Gourmet Traveller in partnership with the Chic Collection.
“We think the combination of consumer and trade marketing, PR and premier sponsorships is working well,” says Mr He.
“Next we will look to build a social media profile to engage with Australian travellers this way.” ■
*Pictured above: NSW Premier, Barry O'Farrell with China Southern Regional General Manager Australia/New Zealand, Henry He.
**To read more about how Chinese firms are branding themselves in Australia, click here.