Although I had been working on another topic for this blog, a piece of news jumped out at me this evening about which I just had to write. JAL (Japan Airlines), currently under corporate rehabilitation, may renew its brand logo. According to the news, the “crane” is making a comeback, which really made me think. Isn’t JAL a brand that must move forward? As a consumer, and for those involved with the brand, it’s difficult to understand.
Keeping in mind the original intentions, is returning to the starting line something that can be embraced? Do the good old days of JAL have an influence on the current situation? Wanting to change the present brand logo is understandable, however it feels that the crane is wrong somehow.
One of the reasons that Japan’s leading wing has disappeared is that synergy could have been taken up with the times, but that hasn’t been done entirely. As for the service, it was thought of as advanced and a very attractive blend of traditional Japanese hospitality. Foreign friends and acquaintances that have used JAL all call it “amazing.” However, meeting the needs of the many customers is another story. The number of customers who want the lowest fares to their destinations has increased and the soft side is not a priority element. Also, although traffic from people in emerging markets is increasing, LCC (low cost carriers) are becoming popular and for people in Asia and other areas airplanes are becoming like trains and buses. I remember going to Morocco four years ago and the high level European executives assembled in the meeting used low cost carriers to return home. Although just a short distance, I found that the reason was that the number of airlines without first-class seats was increasing.
The airplane is the easiest to use, so why the crane? If it were being refurbished like the Starbucks logo (which we mentioned in the last blog entry) then I understand, however I only see a minor change in the crane, which I can’t say is meaningful. Also, am I the only one who thinks that it just doesn’t sound right during a time when there are also layoffs due to reconstruction? Or perhaps JAL itself may disappear in the near future?
The original crane was designated in 1959 and JAL was founded in 1951. The revival of the crane comes about 50 years after its birth. Particularly in Asian countries, Japan’s high level of quality has made it popular and we hope that JAL and its reputation for good service will continue to do its best. We hope that the wings will lead to blue skies.