British Airways Goes Localized and Logical for PR
In what may seem an interesting move, British Airways named a Los Angeles PR firm as agency of record for Western North America. Agnes Huff Communications Group, LLC was selected as the airlines agency of record. British Airways has been under the gun lately over striking crew negotiations, but this move is a logical one to prop up the airline’s slightly diminished brand – here’s why.
British Airlines has suffered a bit over aircrew strikes, the company has been forced to ground flights costing something over $250 million in revenue so far this year. Because of the strikes, British Airways have not even been able to take advantage of heightened European air travel. Obviously, all the airlines were hit hard via the volcanic ash disaster, a no airline can long afford such loses given cost margins now.
Enter the American Airlines – British Airways deal. The okay for the two airlines to conglomerate resources for Transatlantic air travel is a huge deal. One bordering on unfair competition actually. BA has bled money these last two years, but opportunity is in the air. The hiring of Agnes Huff, has at least one powerful and evident meaning – for West Coast media outreach and crisis management, BA just employed one of THE gurus. If anyone knows how to put the Humpty Dumpty of beleaguered brands back together, is is Agnes Huff, PhD. And for companies that fly the skies, there is no one who ever exerted more communications magic. The latest magic needed? Well, speculation needs to be employed here.
If BA’s strike continues, let’s say BA’s European seats go to “hell in a hand basket,” other profitable markets are the answer. Ferrying Americans to the Orient would certainly be a logical one to ramp up. Maybe even West Coast to South America, perhaps a broader arrangement with American airlines – whatever the case, operations in and from the Western United States desperately need the best possible “face” for BA. Huff’s agency has been doing that for nearly three decades.
The move is also logical because of BA’s past relationships with Huff visa vi communications training. With the BP Oil disaster fresh on the minds of everyone, especially the horrible PR, naming such a reputable communicator is not only logical, but wise for BA. New routes or deals not withstanding, BA can certainly use all the help it can get. The American deal should bump up the stock, but both airlines have to sell seats to passengers – and branding is a big chunk of that necessity.
It should be noted that APCO Worldwide remains as the International PR firm of record for the airline.