August 31, 2009

The Southwest Airlines Trifecta

SWA TrifectaBeing raised in Texas, there is a certain pride of ownership of anything created in the Lone Star State.  Dr. Pepper, cowboy boots and Southwest Airlines are three uniquely Texas products.  However, the last item, Southwest Airlines, the company that came to live on a napkin is where I’ll focus the next few minutes.

On one recent trip, I had three unique encounters with Southwest Airlines.  I’ve since called the experience the Southwest Airlines Trifecta to friends and colleagues.

The first leg of the Trifecta occurred to me in conversation with a fellow passenger on a Southwest Airlines flight from Albuquerque to Chicago.  We were commenting on how SWA is no longer just pouring coffee, they are serving environmental and social responsibility.  The new “Lift” coffee uses recycled cups and donations to the Guatemala Light Project for every cup of coffee served.

The Trifecta’s second point was made while finishing the book “Sway” by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman.  In the later chapters Southwest Airlines is praised for its culture of Teamwork to improve airline safety ratings and processes.  The book explores a scenario and gives great insight to the Southwest Airline culture.

The trifecta was completed while reading through PR Week’s monthly edition on my flight back to Albuquerque.  The magazine featured a Q&A with Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly.  He talked about how Southwest Airlines measures the effectiveness of public relation approaches.

There are very few organizations that can make three unique “touches” with a visitor over the span of a month.  Congratulations to Southwest Airlines for making all three on a pair of three hours flights.

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