One of the benefits of growing up in Hawai’i is I still have friends in the islands. While 2/3 of my life has now taken place on the mainland, and I don’t get back home as often as I’d like, my best friend who still lives in Hawai’i decided to get me a subscription to the Honolulu Magazine to keep up with all the changes that the islands are experiencing, with an ulterior motive to remind me what I’m missing and visit her more. The magazine subscription includes an online version (website, app, and email). Being the good marketer that I am, I have stayed on the email list, and today I received a partner promotion email announcing Southwest allows surfboards free on their interisland flights.
I was instantly having flashbacks to my MBA days at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (later rebranded as the Ross School of Business, aka Michigan Ross) where we read case studies about Southwest Airlines. Southwest was a great example of the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, and their value proposition of bags fly free was one of their differentiators that was truly a value-add to the consumer. Their culture was legendary, Herb Kelleher was a phenomenal leader who would greet people by name no matter what role you had in the company, and their core value of Love was evident anywhere you looked – even the NYSE symbol: LUV.
This email announcing “Surfboards flying free is how Southwest says thanks for having us.” was a brilliant way to introduce additional interisland flights to entice the local market to think of Southwest when they want to surf on another island. This is how you stay true to your brand and core competencies while addressing your customers’ needs and sharing your value proposition.
Southwest is up against local and regional carriers, some that have been around for a long time, such as Hawaiian Airlines. The culture in Hawai’i is very welcoming, and at the same time, very protective of its people and its land. As a “mainland” company, Southwest has to prove their worth to steal the market share from the existing local options. No charge for surfboards is a good first step.
What are you doing to connect with your local market? Does your marketing reflect your core values?
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