Friday, February 23, 2007

JetBlue’s Brand Repair Genius

Just about every promise embodied by the JetBlue brand, namely unparalleled customer service, was broken last week by Mother Nature’s winter storm that grounded 1,000 flights in New York. When a brand promise is broken, the brand is broken—regardless of divine intervention or mere mortal mistakes.

Companies of every stripe can learn from JetBlue about repairing brands when adversity strikes. But executives also can learn what JetBlue should have been listening for from customers before problems arose.

JetBlue’s Customer Bill of Rights, for example, shows forward-thinking, differentiating industry leadership in the mind of this air traveler. Shortly after JetBlue issued what most travelers will view as a victory for those of us who suffer long tarmac delays without explanation or recourse, the headlines began to focus on brand repair efforts rather than disgruntled travelers with stories to tell of missed bar mitzvahs, weddings and birthdays.

Watch and listen to JetBlue CEO David Neeleman speak to customers about the issues. The lesson learned by JetBlue: don’t wait for a crisis to listen and act on what your customers want.

Ultimately, I believe JetBlue’s travelers’ travesty will become a triumphant case study in crisis management and communication. But it could also serve as an opportunity for other executives to place their companies in JetBlue’s cockpit to explore where brand vulnerabilities exist within their own organization.

No comments: