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Brands such as Southwest will “rock you” at every turn.

January 25, 2012

Holiday travel is no fun, let’s face it. At some point – from the moment you leave the house to your final destination you feel like mooing. It’s “get in this line”, “take your shoes off”, “are you wearing a belt? and, “what do you plan to with that 4 ounces of shampoo, sir”?

Stuff like that.

I am still living this experience as I write this, as my partner and I fly to the West Coast for the New Year holiday.

Could have spent many hundreds of dollars on a number of airlines but, instead, chose an online ‘Wanna Get Away’ $99 fare from Southwest.

The difference?

It sure wasn’t the money savings, although that was lovely. The way I look at it, when I get to my California destination I will have 100’s of dollars to spend on drinks for New Year’s Eve.

The difference?

It’s the people of Southwest. Not the planes. Not the cramped cabins and seating. Not the travelers carrying more crap with them onboard than the Lewis and Clark expedition took with them across the Great Divide.

The people: Smiling, pleasant, cordial, helpful, trained, talkative, humorous, warm. There when you need them. Around when you don’t.

The best part? They do it because they want to, not because some muckity muck told them to. And they don’t have to ask permission either, Southwest has created a culture and hired the right employees to ‘just know’ what the brand promise is and they go for it.

Case in point.

We are settled in for our second and last leg, everybody’s in their seats and they are about to close the doors when the gate attendant steps back into the cabin, grabs the microphone and announces that he is going to send us on our way with a song. Not just any song – mind you – but original lyrics he wrote, set to Queen’s “We Are The Champions!”

Three verses, all tied to Southwest’s unique benefits complete with a reference to the current ad campaign of No Fee Baggage. People are clapping along and at one point I couldn’t help myself and yelled out “we will rock you”! No one even looked at me.

When he was done, we all applauded, he wished us a safe trip and we were off.

Smiling. Pleasant. A bit smug that we had all saved a lot of money, satisfied that we had made the right decision.

No ad campaign did that. No big sale with “half off” prices. No crazy jingle.

People did it.

And every good brand knows this.

– By Tom Traynor

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