“Leaving on a jet plane. Don’t know when I’ll be back again”. Wait. Scratch that. We’ll be back to Delhi in a couple of weeks – so much for innovative blog introductions.
Though I’m reluctant to leave, I’m extremely excited get to Ahmedabad because we fly IndiGo Air today! After our visit to Wieden + Kennedy in Delhi, I couldn’t wait to board an IndiGo plane. Unlike the other carriers in India, the work that W+K produced for IndiGo transformed the low-cost carrier airline into a brand. From the unique sandwich packaging to fun, innovative in-flight merchandise emblazoned with the IndiGo brand, W+K thought of everything to make sure that the IndiGo customer received a chic flying experience with the bonus of an economical airfare.
As I boarded the plane, I felt right at home. While the plane accommodations were outstanding, I couldn’t help but notice the people around me. The flight included businessmen, groups of fashionable young women and families with children. This flight could be easily mistaken for any Southwest flight I would take back home.
Amitabh Kant indicates in his book, Branding India, that Indian low-cost carriers continue to experience a growing market share because India’s large population base, its poor rail and road infrastructure and a highly price-sensitive market. The reality in India is that flying is realistically accessible because the accessibility of low-cost carriers to a growing consumer class.
What impresses me about Kant’s statement is that the reasons for increased air travel in India are strikingly similar to the reasons why we fly in America. I cannot help but go back to my experience on the rickshaw in Old Delhi – the experiences and lifestyles that Indians and Americans are looking for are remarkably similar. And while some might say that Indians are quickly moving toward the American consumer sentiment, I cannot help but think that it might be the other way around. Sure, a growing consumer class characterizes India but an increasingly price sensitive America looks more like us embracing the Indian way.