Brand Evangelism Over 10,000 Feet

There is much to say about the power of Brand Evangelism. While on my JetBlue flight out of Boston this morning to attend the Presidential Inauguration, I had the opportunity of sitting in Row 1 with my son. Since all of our belongings had to go overhead, we benefited from time talking with one another and others. We had an engaging conversation with our flight attendant, Michael, who was positive, customer-service orientated, friendly, and loved his job. We were impressed with him.

I asked him about his journey and how he came to be so adept at customer relations. He shared how he spent many years in retail prior to joining JetBlue as a ticket agent. In his past experiences, he learned how to deal with customers in all situations including difficult ones. Michael was a problem solver and unbeknown to him, a brand ambassador his entire career.

As a flight attendant for less than a year, he acted as if he had been in his role for longer. He started the flight getting to know all the passengers to learn about their travels. Some were attending the Inauguration, others were marching in the Women’s protest against President-elect Trump, and some were simply traveling for business or personal reasons. Our flight attendant, Michael, was preparing for how we would handle a passenger dispute should politics become a heated discussion amongst travelers of different philosophies. He was strategizing in his mind on how he would use his experience and tonality to help ensure a positive outcome. He wasn’t told to do this by the airline, but rather used his own judgment after recollecting a news article several weeks ago about the political landscape influencing heightened emotions on an airplane with travelers – causing disruption.

I asked him about his training at JetBlue and he shared that one of the things he found most remarkable was that at every new hire orientation, the CEO attended and personally welcomed all new employees to the airline. He said it stuck with him that the CEO took the time to welcome new team members and set the tone for the JetBlue culture.

There are numerous ways in which JetBlue has emerged as a chosen airline for so many. I have always felt that JetBlue was an airline “for the people.”  Over the years, through extensive travel, I’ve met many JetBlue attendants who’ve sang, entertained with comedy, celebrated passenger birthdays, and possessed many of the same qualities of Michael. They have all delivered superior service – and they all delivered on the JetBlue brand promise.

Companies that have customer-facing employees sometimes underestimate the power of finding the right people who will wake up in the morning to live and breathe the company’s brand. Oftentimes, CEOs of large organizations forget the importance of welcoming new team members, and at smaller companies, sometimes the entrepreneurial founders are too busy to stop and take a moment to say hello and get to know the people who are helping to shape the company. Building teams that deliver on brand promise leverage the full value of their marketing budgets.

People become loyal to airlines (and all companies) based on their overall experience.

How is your company delivering on its brand promise? Are you cultivating a team of brand ambassadors?

Every company can leverage its culture to extend its brand through effective interpersonal communications, exceptional customer service, and through the effective integration of brand evangelization using every moment of customer engagement as a marketing opportunity.

© PENTA Communications, Inc.

Deborah Penta is the Founder and CEO of PENTA Communications, Inc. She has authored numerous published articles that have appeared in national magazines and is a regularly featured conference speaker and media guest. She is also the executive producer of Top Growth TV. Contact her at: *protected email*.