Delta Air Lines
Revitalizing a timeless brand for a confident new beginning
Redefining customer experience
- Capabilities utilized:
- Brand Strategy
- Brand Activation
- Customer Experience
- Logo Development
- Visual System
- Interaction Design
- Sensory ID System
- Environment Design
- Launch Planning
Every year, nearly 800 million passengers take to the skies, affording airlines countless opportunities to create impressions with their customers. Based on the realities of air travel today, it’s a monumental accomplishment for any carrier to ensure that the majority of these impressions help the experience it offers stand out for the right reasons.
Facing unprecedented turbulence
At the beginning of 2007, Delta faced not only a number of industry-wide challenges—including the continued effects of 9/11 and record high fuel prices—but also a substantial takeover attempt, the need to incorporate the unique culture and spirit of Song into the Delta brand, and almost eighteen months of bankruptcy.
With emergence from bankruptcy on the horizon, Delta engaged Lippincott to help the airline chart a course beyond Day One to its long-term goal of offering customers the best experience in the industry.
However, frequent management, strategy and identity changes had left Delta and its employees with an identity crisis, including a muddled brand strategy and a look and feel that was overwrought with inconsistencies.
Together, we sought to create a foundation for the brand that celebrated and respected the company’s 80-year heritage and employees’ tremendous pride, while also expressing a new confidence and authenticity that reflected Delta’s ambition and responded to the wants and needs of its modern customers.
Building on a strong heritage for a bold future
For inspiration, we looked to the company’s rich history and spoke with Delta’s employees and customers.
Our broad exploration resulted in a strategy that brought a modern, human and gracious delivery to every moment a customer spends with Delta and an identity that included a bold, all-red symbol and supergraphic to capture the strength and confidence of the revitalized brand.
The broader nomenclature system and brand architecture strategy focused on creating a powerful, consistent Delta master brand that was intuitive and easy to navigate whether at home, at the airport, or in the air.
Liftoff: Creating a momentous launch for the new Delta
We formed a Brand Council of new and tenured Delta employees from around the world to serve as our sounding board throughout the development of Delta’s new identity. This group also played a vital role as brand ambassadors, engaging their peers to create enthusiasm for Delta’s emergence from bankruptcy and the complementary launch of the new brand.
A robust microsite inspired open dialogue among employees leading up the reveal of the new identity. In the three weeks prior to the launch of the brand, new content was posted to the site every day, encouraging employees to stay engaged and revisit the site.
In the spring of 2007, Delta’s employees witnessed the reveal of the new identity and first flight of the new livery from a hangar at Hartsfield-Jackson as well as around the world.
Building excitement for all 47,000 employees, a brand video highlighted important moments in Delta's rich history, outlined the recent challenges it had overcome, and celebrated the employees’ dedication and spirit.
The public reveal of the identity coincided with Delta’s relisting on the New York Stock Exchange.
Overnight, major Delta terminals around the country were transformed with the new identity to celebrate the occasion.
Much more than just a coat of paint
Understanding and enhancing the Delta customer experience
With the foundation of the brand in place, including Delta’s brand positioning, personality and visual identity, we utilized our proprietary Customer Experience Mapping® process to take a broad view of the experience Delta offered and identify ways to bring the brand to life throughout a customer’s entire experience with the airline.
Recognizing that there were critical variables Delta would never be able to control – from the security screening process to the challenges associated with unexpected weather – we identified those moments Delta could control and mattered most to its customers, finding ways to both save and enhance the time they spent with Delta.
We utilized Delta’s brand personality to bring the brand to life across Delta’s communications, airport environments and the in-flight experience.
Two major introductions included the Sky Priority program, which offers exclusive amenities and perks to Delta’s high-value customers and a new in-airport club, the Delta Sky Club, which was designed with distinct zones to engage guests and address their unique needs.
We created meaningful connections with customers in more discreet touchpoints, as well, including enhanced gate areas, in-flight entertainment, amenity kits and unique scent and sound signatures.
By always infusing Delta’s witty and smart brand personality, we helped ensure customers would have an enjoyable and memorable experience with the brand. Even the on-board safety video has a sophisticated edge (the host actually wags her finger when reminding passengers that smoking is prohibited; you can even see it on YouTube).
Building a new attitude
Powering brand with employee spirit
Delta realized that change starts from the inside, and that the continued engagement of all employees would be critical to keep their momentum flying high.
On launch day, all 47,000 Delta employees received a launch ticket, lanyard, and pins, as well as an inspirational brand book incorporating the voices of their peers. These helped employees engage in the new spirit of the brand.
We also created guidelines and a simple but powerful online brand center as a resource for communications staff and agencies to reference as they continue to build the Delta brand.
Flying high and rising
Since its emergence from bankruptcy in May of 2007, Delta has made tremendous strides in motivating people to reconsider the airline. Ranked third among its airline peers on the Fortune 500 list in 2007, Delta recently took the top spot in the 2010 rankings.
Today, Delta is frequently recognized for consistent enhancements to the experience it offers customers. And, its unique voice stands apart from its peers for its aspirational, authentic quality.
Serving more than 160 million passengers every year, Delta continues to evolve to meet the changing wants and needs of its customers, finding new and better ways to anticipate and respond throughout their entire journey.