United Airlines Can’t Advertise Its Way To Flyer-Friendly
October 15, 2013 5 Comments
United Airlines recently announced that its new brand campaign will resurrect its iconic tagline “Fly the Friendly Skies.” According to the United Airlines press release, “”Flyer-friendly” is “user-friendly” for today’s customers.” Tom O’Toole, United’s senior vice president of marketing and loyalty, says, “Our new brand campaign expresses the customer focus of all of United’s investments.” As Jane Levere points out in her NY Times article, “United is now telling travelers it is everything from “legroom friendly” and “online friendly” to “shut-eye friendly” and “EWR friendly.”
My take: Let’s start with some basic facts. United Airlines received a “poor” rating in the 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings. Its ratings are in the lower half of the airline industry, and the company showed no improvement over 2012.
In the 2013 Temkin Customer Service Ratings, United Airlines was in next-to-last place out of nine U.S. airlines (US Airways is the worst). United Airlines ranked 216th out of all 235 companies in the ratings.
Does that sound “flyer-friendly?” United Airlines will have a hard time backing up that claim today.
No matter how much companies spend on advertising, they can’t convince customers that they deliver a good experience — unless they really do. In the past, I’ve chided Comcast, JP Morgan Chase, Circuit City, and John Hancock for pushing these empty promises.
The path to being seen as flyer-friendly requires the organization to commit to delivering on that promise. I’ve highlighted a few good examples in previous posts: Alaska Airlines engaged its employees with its North of Expected campaign, Ford engaged its employees with its Drive One campaign, Staples redesigned customer interactions as part of its That Was Easy campaign, and JetBlue embedded its value across touchpoints in its Happy Jetting campaign.
My advice to United Airlines it to follow these CX Tips:
- CX Tip #8: Start Your Brand Marketing Internally
- CX Tip #24: Define Competencies for Living the Brand
- CX Tip #35: Make Your Brand Values Explicit
- CX Tip #40: Measure Yourself Against Your Brand Promises
- CX Tip #46: Translate Your Brand Into Employee Behaviors
The bottom line: Don’t proclaim your flyer-friendliness, become flyer-friendly and then tell people about it