In highly competitive industries, companies allocate resources specifically to monitor the competition, their strategies and, of course, their weaknesses. It is common that the losses of a company are translated into profits for another. Therefore, a differentiation strategy is key to be present in the minds of consumers, attract new customers and earn their loyalty. The aeronautical industry and -particularly- commercial aviation is a clear example.
To compete, airlines tend to wage price wars. That is, they carry out promotions campaigns so that consumers buy them because they are the option with the lowest price. This increases customer acquisition, but makes it difficult to serve the customer with amenities for their trip. Instead of competing on price, Interjet sought to differentiate itself by competing in quality. The strategy was thought to excel in a market that is constantly criticized for failing to satisfy the customer in order to present itself as the cheapest option.
However, in practice, this strategy proved detrimental since small factors such as delays in flight itineraries, peaks in demand due to the proximity of vacations and the lack of crew due to delays in negotiating their working conditions, did not allow the fulfillment of the promise of quality. These factors are considered “small” because they present problems that airlines are used to dealing with. However, when they took place at the same time, they made Interjet to cancel more than 30 flights. The Federal Consumer Procurator’s Office took action on the matter, resulting in the return of money to more than 5,400 passengers. Several airlines took the opportunity to benefit from this circumstance and sought to capture the customers who were affected by Interjet, Aeromexico was among them.
The cancellation of flights allowed Aeromexico to design a marketing strategy that captured that market affected by Interjet. At the time that social networks were flooded with complaints against this last airline, Aeromexico launched a 25% discount “if your flight from another airline was canceled.”
This is a case that shows that permanent risk monitoring can be key for companies to take advantage of windows of opportunity that open up from specific circumstances. On the other hand, it also reflects that risk management is a key element to mitigate crises or make an adequate containment of damages.