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The One-to-Brand Connection with JetBlue
By: Janet Kalandranis
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It’s not all roses and smiles in the branding world. There are times when a brand is flying high and others when it feels like it can’t get off the ground. But there’s always a lesson to learn from the tough times; little nuggets of information that can help brands become better on the other side. JetBlue is a successful brand that has felt both the positive and negative effects of social media. But the brand has been able to embrace both the good and the not-so-good so that JetBlue comes out winning in the end. JetBlue thinks that social, with all its good and bad, winds up playing an important part in the brand’s success. When JetBlue started using social media it was before the days when every brand was hopping on board. But JetBlue sees social media as the one-to-brand connection that allows customers to talk directly to JetBlue and for the brand to respond specifically to one customer. Sure, it’s time consuming and takes lots of resources, but in the end JetBlue finds that more success comes from using social media than simply ignoring this important marketing tool.

2007 was the year that JetBlue got serious about social media. The decision was a bit forced onto the brand, but in the end it was the best thing. It was Valentine’s Day and a severe storm hit the Northeast, leaving planes grounded and many passengers stranded either at the airports or on planes that never took off. It was this JetBlue crisis that made headlines and forced the brand to react in a new and more effective kind of way. JetBlue’s then CEO, David Neeleman, was featured in a YouTube video five days after the incident, apologizing for the situation and, more importantly, stating how it would improve. This disaster could have grounded JetBlue for years to come if the brand just stood back, but luckily with social media JetBlue was able to get a message directly to its customers in a timely manner. And it was real; JetBlue was being open and honest, willing to admit to what went wrong and having a plan for the future.

The reaction? Mixed. Some customers still bashed the brand, but others appreciated the quick message and the acknowledgement that the brand needed to change. And JetBlue has learned from that experience, understanding that social media provides a benefit that no other form of branding can deliver. It’s relevant, it’s super timely, and of course it allows customers to connect with brands where they want and need to. JetBlue has found that much of this might seem like customer service, but it’s important that the two functions, marketing and customer service, work jointly to help the brand succeed. And what better tool to use for this than social media?

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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