Community Lessons from Southwest Airlines

Posted on 11 January 2011

It’s amazing to me to see the disparity in community focus around the corporate community.  Some companies devote a bunch of resources into community while others don’t.  You would think that in this day and time that everyone would understand the value of having people, your patrons, champion your brand.

Southwest Airlines has recently started a campaign to point out “change fees” and the tagline for the commercial is, “They love money.  We love people.”  Now, before you start chiding me for drinking the marketing kool-aid, take a look at how they operate.  The go out of their way to humanize their employees.  They also take great pains to humanize their business using straightforward language and sending a message, from the top down, that they’re truly interested in people (those that work for them and those that are patrons).

They also, very smartly, provide a means to share your Southwest experience in multiple formats, be it photos, videos, Facebook, Twitter, even the CEO’s LinkedIn page and they go out of their way to help YOU let the world know.  This bar is at the bottom of every one of their pages:

They welcome the creation of product oriented content AND provide a means to share it via social media.  Haven’t we heard this somewhere before?

They make it easy for the customer to become branded advocates on other networks.  So by investing in community they’ve increased brand awareness and created branded interactive opportunities on other networks where none previously existed.

I’ll end this post with a quote from someone who really knew business:

“A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” – Henry Ford

There are so many things in the corporate environment that one has to pay attention to…it’s easy to lose sight of the real goal.  Serving people.


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