Identity Evolution | Citilink Budget Airline, Indonesia


In the world of branding, the fastest and easiest route to changing a look is through a Logo & Corporate Identity Makeover. It’s the expedited method of projecting a new image, and an ongoing journey of constant changes, regardless how subtle.

Here’s a look at Citilink, a Low Cost Carrier subsidiary of Garuda Indonesia. Citilink started life as Citilink by Garuda, and it always struggled with its identity. The airline was essentially a Garuda for short intercity hops between popular destinations like Jakarta, Surabaya and Medan. 

When budget airlines came onto the scene in Indonesia a few years ago, especially with Air Asia and Lion Air (Indonesia’s biggest airline) expanding aggressively, it made more sense to separate Citilink and position it as a true Budget Airline (LCC). Trouble was, Garuda, which at the time was still wrangling from years of underfunded, corrupted airliner, was undergoing massive changes in its own rebranding effort. And for a while Citilink’s livery design was simply Garuda’s Landor-designed tail done in green (instead of Garuda’s predominantly blue).

And while I’m not too crazy about Citilink’s “borrowing” Garuda’s look, as I feel it should be positioned away from Garuda’s full service airline, and have its own unique identity, Citilink has made a decent effort to at least look fresher and funkier. The new logo with its clean modern-looking font is a departure from the old Edwardian typeface choice that simply looked too bizarre to be taken seriously.

But stay posted, as there’s definitely more to come, especially now that Citilink is independent from Garuda, announcing the split in July 2012.  


A Logo & Corporate Identity Makeover is, however, by no means what branding is all about, and the potential it can deliver. For customers already are experiencing your company’s products & services in their very own distinctive way. The MEANING of a product & service in any customer’s mind is what SHOULD matter to any organization. And it is the MEANING that needs to be thoroughly analyzed, managed, and optimized to the company’s best interest. Such is the essence of branding and brand positioning strategy.


Logo & Corporate Identity Makeover does not come without a risk. The key is in the hands of Customers, who essentially decide “WHAT’S HOT” and “WHAT’S NOT”! Therefore, if a company changes its logo WITHOUT changing the meaning – ie. properly align and match their brand message with the positive brand experience the company WISHES customers to have – the often sizeable investment in changing merely your logo reduces to a futile and expensive exercise. An utter waste! Companies MUST ensure that the brand experience they provide remain positive, so if your product or service still shows a weakness, complaints mount, market share is lagging, your customer service department is inundated with complaint calls, stakeholders are edgy due to weak stock performance, and staff morale is at an all-time low, and staff turnover is high… a logo makeover WILL NOT bring about improvements like a magic wand!


Inspiration: Gerry Airways; Indonesia Finance Today; Steven Airspace; Landor Associates.


About dianhasan

Brand Storyteller, Travel Writer, Speaker, Creative Writer & Thinker - avid observer of randomness in everyday life - Sustainable Business, Eco Matters, Sustainable Urban Issues, Architecture, Heritage Conservation, Innovation & Brand-Strategy, Cross-Cultural Communications, Travel, Tourism & Lifestyle.
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