Turkish Airlines hopes agency RFP results in brand awareness boost

Looking to improve its brand awareness, Turkish Airlines is conducting a search process for a US PR agency.

WASHINGTON: Turkish Airlines has issued an RFP to find a PR agency partner in the US to help it increase brand recognition among consumers and the media.

"Our RFP is still in progress, and we have been in communication with major agencies," a representative from the airline said. "We plan to finalize the process in the upcoming days."

Turkish Airlines, which invited firms to submit their proposals by October 2, is seeking support for media relations, reputation management, regional marketing, planning, and reporting and measurement, according to documents obtained by PRWeek.

While Turkish Airlines has a global network of more than 260 destinations, the RFP states that it suffers from a "lack of brand awareness and recognition."

The airline flies to and from six US cities: New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Boston, and Houston. Next April, it will begin service from San Francisco to Istanbul.

A primary objective for the winning firm will be "to position Turkish Airlines as one of the fastest-growing and leading airlines around the globe by increasing international awareness in a coherent, coordinating, and measurable way," according to the RFP.

In addition to media support in the US and regional marketing, the PR agency will be responsible for crisis management, online PR and social media, internal communications, sponsorships, and special projects, such as targeting specific customer groups. It will also ask the firm to provide a country calendar of special days and national holidays in the US as part of an "annual activity agenda," according to RFP documents.

In 2012, Turkish Airlines brought on Alpaytac Marketing Communications and Public Relations to lead national PR efforts for its four US gateways at the time: Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Washington, DC.

Huma Gruaz, president and CEO of Alpaytac, said in a statement that the firm brought significant exposure to the airline through an integrated social and digital PR campaign, which generated "more than 1 billion impressions" and led to its fastest growth in the US.

"While we have had a fantastic relationship with the airline, we of course respect their decision to issue an RFP and wish them tremendous success regardless of the decision," Gruaz added in the statement.

Budget information and contract length were not disclosed in the RFP.

Turkish Airlines saw a 14.3% increase in passengers to 41.4 million last month, compared with the prior year. The number of destinations it serves around the world also jumped to 260 last month from 239 last September, while the number of its aircrafts increased from 233 to 265 in that period.

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