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airasia's Santan eyes ASEAN foray: 'Never copy and paste marketing strategy'

airasia's Santan eyes ASEAN foray: 'Never copy and paste marketing strategy'

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Airasia's restaurant brand, Santan, plans to expand into Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, alongside domestic expansions into Penang and East Malaysia, the New Straits Times reported. It is also eyeing UK and Australia "when the time is right", NST said. While GM of airasia's Santan, Catherine Goh (pictured below right), did not specify why those ASEAN markets were chosen, she told A+M that the team has observed a rising demand and trend for affordable, Asian-inspired dishes and once it has established a strong foothold in the region, it plans to grow its offerings beyond ASEAN. As for the possibility of expanding into the UK and Australia, Goh explained that both would be excellent markets to expand into as many of the airline's passengers hail from these countries.

Extensive market research is thoroughly conducted for each of Santan’s new innovations and offerings, including its expansion plan. What works for one product won’t simply work for another and Goh said the team has never resorted to "copying and pasting" a marketing strategy.

santan newpackaging nasilemak

"We first need to delve deep into the target market in the countries we wish to enter into, and from there build a solid digital marketing plan as well as an offline marketing campaign that’ll cater to the audience we have in mind," she said. According to her, what AirAsia has is valuable consumer data, from the 700 million passengers flying the airline over the two decades and over 50 million registered airasia Super App users.

"This played and continues to play an important role in how we target the right consumer for the right product at practically minimum cost and this’d be one of our strongest strategies when it comes to promoting Santan as we expand regionally and globally," she explained.

Santan has evolved from being an in-flight and dine-in brand to a fast-food franchise, Goh said. Hence, its competitors are naturally other fast food players. However, a key differentiator for Santan is its ability and expertise to provide a menu offering that represents different countries and cultures, she said.

"For years before the Asian continent was introduced to the world of fast food, the market was largely dominated by western nations and much like how American fast food joints gave rise to the popularity of burgers, Santan has made it our mission to do the same with our nasi lemak dish," she explained. Santan currently has 11 outlets in Klang Valley, including NU Sentral, IOI Mall Puchong, KL East Mall, and Sunway Pyramid.

When it comes to meeting the needs of consumers within ASEAN and beyond, Goh said some factors it takes into account include customising its signature Santan offerings to suit the taste buds of patrons, for example, its spicy sambal. It will also consider how to set a price range in a way that allows AirAsia to maintain its affordable meals while ensuring profitability.

Just yesterday, Santan unveiled its on-the-go packaging dubbed the "Nasi Lemak On-The-Go" for its signature dish. Designed specially with busy foodies in mind, the pyramid-shaped Nasi Lemak On-The-Go comes with the same great taste and with a unique new packaging that allows for patrons to have their meals anytime, anywhere with ease and convenience. Simply grab one on-the-go and have a piping hot meal without the hassle of dining in.

While Goh declined to comment on the monetary investment behind the new packaging, she said the team has engaged notable KOLs and is leveraging its social media following as well as online and radio ads to market the new packaging. "We’ve established an incredibly loyal fan base over the decades and the Santan brand speaks for itself. Many of our patrons have come from word-of-mouth recommendations," she explained.

Related articles:
AirAsia to realise restaurant dream with Santan outlet at Mid Valley
airasia food lands in Jakarta
AirAsia removes IG posts of virtual influencer Miss AVA
airasia retires first virtual idol Kurumi after one year
Chairman Rafidah Aziz steps down from AirAsia X
airasia Super App expands into e-wallet scene
AirAsia X refreshes branding as it resumes ops after 2-year hiatus


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