APEX Insight: After a careful review of its markets, Etihad Airways has found that women have a significant influence on the choice of airlines for themselves and for their families. To appeal to the female traveler, the airline has added fashion to food and football in the lineup of its strategic lifestyle brand partnerships.
Etihad Airways is the global partner of WME | IMG Fashion and the official airline for fashion globally, with sponsorships for 17 fashion weeks lined up over the next three years. Helping coordinate all of these events is Amina Taher, head of Corporate Communications for Etihad Airways. With over 13 years of professional experience, Taher is responsible for all aspects of the airline’s expanding international media relations department.
Taher came to Etihad from Mubadala Development Company in Abu Dhabi, where she served as head of Social Development and Sponsorship in the Group Communications unit, and has a Master’s degree from Harvard in Public Administration and an MBA from London Business School. An entrepreneur herself and cofounder of Slices—an organic food and beverage company for children—Taher continues to serve as a strong role model and mentor to young entrepreneurs in the UAE.
APEX Media spoke with Amina Taher last month as she was en route to Etihad’s London Fashion Week events, from the Jimmy Choo 20th anniversary celebration during New York Fashion Week.
“We want people who are interested in luxury, people who want to travel and who are interested in culture.” — Amina Taher, Etihad
Taher explains that Etihad Airways has focused on partnerships with the world’s leading designers in part because of their global representation in cities that are important travel markets, and because the fashion world aligns with the airline’s values of luxury, innovation, design and style: “We want people who are interested in luxury, people who want to travel, and are interested in culture. We found that fashion attracted the right fit.”
The airline’s sponsorship and marketing team has carried out extensive research in the airline’s top markets, including the US and the UAE, and found a strong business case for fashion as a vehicle to reach key decision makers and to drive bookings. “We know that women are important decision makers and influencers in the aviation industry, even in terms of traveling,” Taher explained. “I see that all the time, when we want to travel, whether it’s my friends or my mom, every time during summer, or any travel destination, it’s always women who have the influence.”
“Women are important decision makers and influencers in the aviation industry.” — Amina Taher, Etihad
Etihad Airways has partnered with Manish Malhotra during Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai, and with Jimmy Choo for its 20th anniversary celebration during Fashion Week in New York. “We wanted a brand that’s international and represents the city and also is a great fit for us. We felt that Jimmy Choo would be an ideal brand to be associated with,” Taher explained.
The airline’s support for the Jimmy Choo 20th anniversary event included creating a Jimmy Choo VIP lounge, which doubled as an artistic space where 20 of the designer’s iconic shoes were on display – including the first-ever shoe that Jimmy Choo created in 2006. Etihad also co-hosted Jimmy Choo’s 20th anniversary cocktail reception and party in New York, and featured a special Jimmy Choo gallery on board a dedicated A380 painted with a New York Fashion Week livery.
At London Fashion Week, Etihad and British Fashion Council and Rollacoaster editor, Richard Mortimer, unveiled a curated exhibition entitled “Journey by Design,” which highlighted the deep-rooted relationship between fashion and travel. Taher explains that these special campaigns help bridge the airline’s global and local campaigns. “We have strategic and long-term goals, in addition to mid-term goals. We do overarching marketing campaigns that target things globally, but also we invest in the specific markets and we create advertising campaigns that fit in the specific markets,” she says.
As a single mother who is constantly on the go, Taher confides that it is challenging to achieve work-life balance. But, being able to work for an airline that supports women in the organization makes her career at Etihad a fulfilling one. “Everything we do is built around relationships and partnerships,” Taher says.