Back in April American Airlines Senior Vice President Kurt Stache talked about the carrier clarifying its brand purpose and launching a new marketing campaign around it.
It’s been a long time since we’ve had a real brand purpose and a brand campaign and so the marketing team is well underway on this project and we have interviewed or surveyed over 10,000 team members and customers both analytically, qualitative, quantitative, to get a sense of what is our brand purpose. We’re well underway, we’re now under the creative phase of this.. the goal is to launch something by the end of this year..
At the time I was both excited and skeptical. The airline lacks a mission statement. It’s not clear what they’re trying to be, and I find employees often sense mixed messaging – whether they’re trying to be a premium carrier (thanks to investments in international business class hard product, lounges, and the ConciergeKey program) or an ultra low cost carrier (given the seating in their new domestic product, even the poor first class seats). And that carries through to the service they provide.
- The effort could be clarifying for the whole company – who are they, whom do they service, what are they trying to accomplish, and how?
- Or it could be just a new slogan and ad campaign, like the 2016 ‘greatest flyers’ campaign that basically said their customers put up with the misery of flying.
Mission and purpose get set at the top. Surveys can help understand how others perceive you, and what reputational assets a company has. My hope was that the project could become a clear statement about who the carrier is.
- Clarify what investments the airline should be making
- Help employees focus on goals that align with those of the business
- Serve as a tool to beat back bad decisions that are inconsistent with the vision
My fear is it would be just an ad campaign. We don’t actually know yet, and the campaign isn’t launching by end of year as Stache had hoped. However it’s still underway.
In fact the airline has been recruiting employees to appear in their new marketing. Today is the final planned team member casting call at Washington National. Employees are being recruited to tell the airline’s story across ads, social media, and other multimedia. It’s a story the rest of us are excited to learn.