Image: LATAM

APEX Insight: Every airline logo tells a story. Deciphering its narrative is key to relaunching the brand. In this section of the multipart feature, we look at how all of South America gathers under LATAM’s brand.

LATAM was born when Chile’s LAN Airlines merged with Brazil’s TAM Airlines in 2012. Design agency Interbrand uses color to show unification in the new brand identity: Indigo represents the blending of the airlines’ original navy and red identities; coral expresses the airline’s passion toward its customers. Besides combining the names of the two airlines, LATAM is also shorthand for Latin America.

“It is more than a Brazilian or a Chilean company: It is Peruvian, Argentinean, Colombian,” says Interbrand’s Maximo Rainuzzo, president, Buenos Aires. “It grew and built an identity throughout every country in Latin America.”

The logo, a stylized map of South America formed by twisting, ribbon-like bands, was a collaborative project involving Interbrand’s offices in São Paulo, Santiago and Madrid, and was inspired by the geography and dynamics of Latin America.

LATAM’s new livery was unveiled on a Boeing 787 and posted on YouTube, along with the hashtag #SomosLATAM (We are LATAM). The airline plans to fully rebrand the combined fleet over the next few years.

“It is more than a Brazilian or a Chilean company: It is Peruvian, Argentinean, Colombian.” Maximo Rainuzzo, Interbrand

Beyond prettying up its airplanes, LATAM is also changing up its uniforms, boarding passes, luggage tags, VIP lounges and check-in counters – at every passenger touchpoint, from Buenos Aires to New York City. In unveiling the new LATAM look, the airline also became the first South American carrier to offer regular flights to Africa by connecting São Paulo and Johannesburg. The overall message: Latin America is connecting the world more than ever before.

“Today, a new chapter begins in the history of Latin America and global aviation. LATAM Airlines Group will offer clients more than a new brand – it will offer a new travel experience,” said Enrique Cueto Plaza, CEO of LATAM Airlines Group, in a press release. “The LATAM brand will simplify and improve the travel experience for all our passengers. While the changes will be made gradually over the coming years, the benefits will be immediate.”

Mergers are common in the industry, Cueto Plaza told IATA in an interview, but LATAM is the first to unite airlines from different countries where different languages are spoken. The creation of LATAM – and perhaps similar mergers in the future – can help Latin American carriers overcome the economic turbulence of the region and emerge as major players in the airline industry.

“Brand Anew” was originally published in the 7.2 April/May issue of APEX Experience magazine.