Social Media Case Studies, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Marketing

Disrobing Your Brand One Peanut at a Time

Consumers want to know that there are real people behind your logo. And while the speed and convenience of digital tools make them a natural choice for that type of communication, online isn’t the only available conduit for achieving humanization.

I’m sitting on a Southwest Airlines flight, returning from Austin and the exhilarating and exhausting South by Southwest conference.

Airline in-flight magazines always devote the first few pages to messages from employees, usually a pointless, sleep-inducing welcome from the CEO or some such aeronautical overlord.

Instead, Southwest used that space effectively by showing passengers a bit about the inner workings of the airline. It’s a description of the tricky process of getting drinks and snacks on 3,200 flights per day, written (ostensibly) by Scott Halfmann, their VP of Provisioning.

It’s filled with insider info tidbits like the fact that Provisioning is known as “Provo” inside the company, that there are 22 stations across the country, and that each flight is serviced by a forward and rear provisioning team.
social media disrobing your brand 300x294 Disrobing Your Brand One Peanut at a Time

Going Nuts for Humanization

Cleverly, the column includes prominent references to Southwest pillars like Positively Outrageous Customer Service, the airline’s commitment to turning flights in 25 minutes, and the fact that all of their Provisioning staff are employees, not contractors. It ratifies the decision to fly Southwest in an elegant and contextual way.

This column humanizes an interesting (at least to me) but unexplored component of the Southwest brand. And while it’s just a page in a magazine, it has real social media potential. Facebook page by Provisioning team. Twitter account. Video content and Flickr channels. Customer online voting for what type of sodas to carry. Honey roasted versus Dry roasted peanut game.

Consumers want to be part of brands they support. Find a way to let them see how your company operates, and more importantly the people that make your company a success.

The column concludes:

“As you approach the exit of your aircraft today…..You might see one of our Provisioners hard at work restocking the aircraft. Give them a high five and tell them how much you appreciate your beverage or snack! They’d sure appreciate it.”

As soon as this flight ends, I’m getting my high five ready.

Related
  • http://www.sweetleafteablog.com/ April Riggs

    I wondered yesterday, when you were telling us about this story, whether or not they get their peanuts from PCA. Just curious.
    Great story and I think it’s really cool that they actually said to give the Provisioners a high-five. The folks in the back-ground are always working hard, and rarely noticed.

    Thanks!
    April
    SLT

    April Riggs’s last blog post..Learning how to blog

  • http://www.sweetleafteablog.com April Riggs

    I wondered yesterday, when you were telling us about this story, whether or not they get their peanuts from PCA. Just curious.
    Great story and I think it’s really cool that they actually said to give the Provisioners a high-five. The folks in the back-ground are always working hard, and rarely noticed.

    Thanks!
    April
    SLT

    April Riggs’s last blog post..Learning how to blog

  • http://mengelmusings.wordpress.com/ amymengel

    Using the magazine is a great way to personalize the brand and it’s also a great employee communications tool, too. I’m sure the provo staff was excited to be featured in the magazine.

    I actually flew US Airways over the weekend and they just redeisgned their magazine completely. They still have the CEO letter up front (which had a nice tribute to the flight 1459 crew), but now the magazine essentially is pulling all of it’s content elsewhere (mostly blogs). It was interesting… but I’m not sure it makes much of the opportunity to use the magazine to reinforce the brand.

    amymengel’s last blog post..Blogs on paper at 35,000 feet

  • http://mengelmusings.wordpress.com amymengel

    Using the magazine is a great way to personalize the brand and it’s also a great employee communications tool, too. I’m sure the provo staff was excited to be featured in the magazine.

    I actually flew US Airways over the weekend and they just redeisgned their magazine completely. They still have the CEO letter up front (which had a nice tribute to the flight 1459 crew), but now the magazine essentially is pulling all of it’s content elsewhere (mostly blogs). It was interesting… but I’m not sure it makes much of the opportunity to use the magazine to reinforce the brand.

    amymengel’s last blog post..Blogs on paper at 35,000 feet

  • Ryan Teixeira

    put a human face to your business http://tinyurl.com/d68jjp

  • http://twitter.com/manara_inc/status/1348706663 Manara International

    RT @SocialMedia411: Disrobing Your Brand One Peanut at a Time – Southwest Airlines “Exposed” (Jason Baer): http://bit.ly/xpZkt

  • http://twitter.com/lilianma/status/1348775579 Lilian Ma

    Southwest Airlines delivering Greater Value to its customers is a great way to differentiate RT @SocialMedia411 http://bit.ly/xpZkt

  • http://twitter.com/mdumas/status/1348776568 Michael Dumas

    RT: @SocialMedia411: Disrobing Your Brand One Peanut at a Time – Southwest Airlines “Exposed” (Jason Baer): http://bit.ly/xpZkt

  • http://twitter.com/weimawriter/status/1348783801 weimawriter

    @SouthwestAir You guys rock – definitely getting it right! RT @SocialMedia411 Southwest Airlines “Exposed” (Jason Baer): http://bit.ly/xpZkt

  • http://twitter.com/pam_a/status/1348790470 Pam_A

    @SocialMedia411 – great story about SW Airlines~has always been a favorite brand – doing the iimpossible well. Thx http://bit.ly/xpZkt

  • http://twitter.com/marcomnetwork/status/1348824985 Manal Richa

    RT @SocialMedia411 Disrobing Your Brand One Peanut at a Time – Southwest Airlines “Exposed” (Jason Baer): http://bit.ly/xpZkt

  • http://twitter.com/sweetleafceo/status/1349197261 Clayton Christopher

    http://bit.ly/lfJHX Great blog posting about humanizing a brand. (SW Airlines) by @jaybaer

  • http://twitter.com/andismit/status/ Andrew Smith

    Google Shared: Disrobing Your Brand One Peanut at a Time: Consumers want to know that there are re.. http://bit.ly/jHln

  • http://twitter.com/amymengel/status/1349534539 amymengel

    From @jaybaer – @SouthwestAir uses feature page in in-flight mag to humanize the company http://bit.ly/lfJHX

  • http://twitter.com/digitalageguru/status/1350883809 Marco Botticelli

    “Consumers want to be part of brands they support. Find a way to let them see how your company operates..” http://bit.ly/bhHOU

  • Rachel Boggsworth

    I know this isn’t the point here, but….

    Airlines still serve peanuts? How backwards is that. Two years ago the guy next to me on a coast-to-coast flight had an anaphlaxtic reaction and he wasn’t even eating them — but most around him were. After seeing that I’ve been all in favor of swapping out pretzels or whatever for nuts.

  • http://YourWebsite Rachel Boggsworth

    I know this isn’t the point here, but….

    Airlines still serve peanuts? How backwards is that. Two years ago the guy next to me on a coast-to-coast flight had an anaphlaxtic reaction and he wasn’t even eating them — but most around him were. After seeing that I’ve been all in favor of swapping out pretzels or whatever for nuts.

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