How a Virgin (airline) got born again

Virgin Australia logo.jpg

For those who missed the story of Virgin Blue’s quiet, if blatant, re-branding to Virgin Australia–announced in Sydney today–here is how Virgin got born again.

Virgin Australia was the long favoured name of the new operation, continuing the Virgin Group’s geographical naming inclinations.

The name, however, was already a registered business in Australia. But the company’s products, novelty bookmarks, were unrelated to the name. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group offered a buyout in the low tens of thousands of dollars to the name’s owner, who subsequently counter-offered over a million dollars. Virgin took him to court–delaying their planned February re-launch–and won in late February the rights to the Virgin Australia name and Internet domain, as this page was the first to report.

Virgin Blue began registering its executives with previously-established Virgin Australia companies while the new name started to be used internally in select circumstances.

Last month Virgin submitted the above Virgin Australia logo for trademarking (the trademark authority only keeps black and white facsimiles of logos) and then applied to the country’s corporate regulator to change its name to Virgin Australia.

Hints of the new livery emerged in early April when decals were briefly applied to one of the carrier’s A330-200 aircraft. Further details, including forgoing a red tail, became clear at the end of April as sources saw the livery.

Now that Virgin is born again, how long until the re-branding exercise achieves its business objective of helping propel the carrier further into the high-yield corporate sector? What does the costly brand transformation mean for the business’ bottom line as it contends with the rising cost of fuel? And finally, will the re-branding work on passengers to make them think this is a new, high-end airline? Are you a born again Virgin passenger?

Missed the Virgin Australia story as it unfolded? Re-read the developments:


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