What conclusions can be drawn from the following article? (At least 250 words)?
At Southwest Airlines, â€œWe Love Your Bagsâ€
Although Southwest Airlines started small, today it is one of the largest airlines in the country, flying to 69 cities on more than 3,200 flights a day. The Texas-based company prides itself on its sense of humor and down-home attitude, which has been developed and advanced over the years through advertising, promotions, and public relations programs. Its national advertising campaigns (â€œYou are now free to move about the countryâ€ and â€œWe Love Your Bagsâ€) are success stories. This is the airline that once paid an Elvis impersonator to serenade customers at the Manchester, New Hampshire, airport to celebrate its addition of flights to Las Vagas; the airline that paints some of its fleet in state colors, with its recent addition of Florida. One decorated with colors and symbols from the Florida flag. Southwestâ€™s vision is to be a low-budget airline that enables its customers to have fun flying.
The corporate culture owes a lot to the outgoing personality of the airlineâ€™s co-founder, Herb Kelleher. But humor also serves as a way to make cheap travel more palatable. The Southwest Way that employees are encouraged to adopt includes displaying a Warrior Spirit, a Servantâ€™s Heart, and a Fun-LUVing attitude. It is typical for Southwest flight crews to joke with the passengers. These tactics build worldwide customer allegiance. The airline also tries to engage its customers in dialogue with its Nuts About Southwest blog and its social media presence on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Southwestâ€™s â€œDingâ€ promotion is a terrific example of its use of integrated marketing communication. Customers can download software from the airlineâ€™s website, and when Southwest offers a low fare it notifies them with a â€œdingâ€ sound- the same â€œdingâ€ you hear when airline captains turn off the seatbelt sign; the same â€œdingâ€ that precedes Southwestâ€™s well-known tagline, â€œYou are now free to move the country.â€ Southwest also caters to pet-LUVing customers through its P.A.W.S. program, which allows passengers with small pets to take their pets into the airline cabin (in a carrier) for $75 each way.
Southwestâ€™s recent campaign, â€œGrab Your Bag. Itâ€™s On!â€ emphasizes Southwestâ€™s bags-fly-free policy. Southwest Airlines allows passengers to check two bags free per customer, while most other airlines charge $15 to $25 each for checked bags (the prices go up as the amount of bags increases). Baggage fees for airlines generated about $2 billion for the first nine months of 2009, but at the cost of customer satisfaction with airlines. Many passengers are avoiding checking their luggage and are instead opting to take carry-on baggage. However, more carry-on baggage has been problematic as well, occasionally resulting in flight attendants becoming injured when removing heavy carry-on bags from the overhead bins. As a result, Spirit Airlines will become the first airline to charge for carry-on bags.
Southwest is capitalizing on customer discontent over bagging fees by integrating it with the recession. CEO Gary C. Kelly stated that â€œitâ€™s time to kick the recession to the curb with â€˜Grab Your Bag. Itâ€™s On!â€™â€ Southwest is positioning itself as an airline that wants to save consumers money in difficult time periods. This is made even more apparent in Southwest commercials that criticize competing airlines, asking, â€œWhy do they hate their bags?â€ And, of course, Southwest Airlines instilled its customary humor in its commercials as well. One of the â€œItâ€™s On!â€ commercials featured Southwest Airlines rampers proclaiming how much they love bags and waving goodbye to bags as the plane takes off. In 2010, Southwest announced plans to launch new ads that will carry on the bags-fly-free campaign but will also expand the ads to include even more of the positive experiences Southwest provides for its customers.
These fun campaigns are creative, but do they work? More importantly, are the revenues that Southwest forgoes from its two-bags-fly-free policy justified by an increased market share? Southwest seems to think so. In 2009, the airline recorded a record full-load factor of 76 percent and an increase of $1 billion in market share. These positive results are thought to have come at least in part from the â€œGrab Your Bag. Itâ€™s On!â€ campaign. Through effective integrated marketing, Southwest has been able to launch successful campaigns, gain market share, and thrive even during the most recent recession.