Brand | Corporate | Travel & Tourism
In 2018, Asia’s largest loyalty programme, Asia Miles, have experienced the biggest change ever since they launched. As their consultant, Edelman has supported Asia Miles on a holistic communications strategy and execution programme, from strategy and narrative development to media engagement stakeholder communications, employee engagement, front-line staff and call centre management and creative productions.
In May 2018, Asia Miles announced that it was going to dramatically change how members earn and redeem miles when they fly, in order to make air travel more rewarding. It followed years of extensive research and modelling and close cooperation with Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, its anchor airline partners and parent group.
Firstly, the changes are very complicated! There are hundreds of factors and variables, so communicating simply was a considerable challenge. Secondly, people don’t like change. They will innately resist change and treat the news with suspicion. Plus the impact will vary from member to member (and some will lose out).
Lastly, our global audience was vast and divergent. A 10 million-strong membership, including a small but very active member base of “miles junkies”.
We deployed a proven, phased model to guide and steer members through this change. (The Prosci© change management proven model)
- We condensed it down to simple key messages (even the bad bits)
- And we created a plethora of content and tools.
- We took a holistic, multi-channel approach to reach members, using the media and influencers to help us get the message out.
The project was executed an integrated team from Asia Miles, Cathay Pacific and Edelman:
- Strategy and narrative developed by Edelman
- Extensive programme of press conferences and media briefings pre- and post- announcement
- Dedicated website about the changes and extensive materials and tools for social media
- Briefings with all frontline staff leads across Cathay Pacific
- Fast responses from Member Services Centre and Channels teams; PR team embedded in the Member Services Centre over evenings and weekends
- Real-time reporting monitoring and reporting
With such a sensitive change, we were able to achieve neutral to positive sentiment stories and coverage.
Headline from PaxEx,aero, travel trade publication: "Loyalty Programme Changes: Asia Miles Gets the Messaging Right”
Extract from the story:
"Clearly there are good and bad bits with the changes. That the company is willing to own that and avoid hiding in fancy language is a refreshing change of pace. Lower earning city/fare options are included in the graphic shown; Asia Miles doesn’t try to hide all the bad news. Other programs would do well to learn from this type of communication.”
Results during announcement phase: 141 press stories with 100% neutral to positive sentiment.
Engagements on infographic
Unique users visited the Change website in first 24 hours