A while back I decided to take the family down to
I always thought the extraordinary effort that United went through to launch a new brand was curious, so I was anxious to see the differences first hand.
Now, as an aside let me use my blogging clairvoyance to explain to you the C level meeting that surely occurred at United prior to this point. Imagine if you will all the United Executives sitting around a huge board table. The Chief Marketing Officer steps up and says, “In order for us to compete against Frontier in these smaller markets, we have to cut expenses. However, we have a problem”. He goes on to say, “United has such a strong brand-promise (always lookout when talk turns to brand-promise), that if we take away the extra-items that customers have come to enjoy then we will irrevocably destroy the United brand.” Now, at this point all the executives nod their heads in agreement. Yes, yes our customers love us, this makes perfect sense. Damn, our own good reputation is screwing us! The Chief Marketing Officer continues, “Fear not! I have a plan. We’ll take a billion dollars or so and re-brand a bunch of planes, gates, tickets, uniforms, paper coffee cups, etc. Then our employee’s, disguised as Ted, will be free to take away to $.92 sub-sandwich during the flight and compete head-to-head with those Frontier maniacs!” Everyone jumps to their feet and erupts into handshakes, “yes, this is what needs to be done, brilliant!” The meeting closes with an accounting of how many frequent flyer miles they have successfully orphaned this month. All is good.
So.. back to present day. My family and I load up and head for the airport. We go through the security gauntlet and arrive at the newly branded Ted gate. Immediately I notice there must have been some sort of branding error because a United 737 is parked at my Ted gate. I look at the new high-contrast Ted status-board and notice that this flight is a Ted flight, “Operated by United”. In fact, when we get on the airplane it is a United airplane, with United flight attendants, and United coffee cups. I thought, wow, there must have been some last minute mix-up with equipment that forced Ted to use a United plane. So, I took the boarding passes out of my pocket and noticed that my boarding-pass said “Ted operated by United”. Obviously this was not a one-off situation but a planned “brand infringement”.
So, let’s review. I went to the United website, bought tickets that ended up being on Ted, only to operated by United. Brilliant! I ate my syntho-crackers, didn’t really miss my $.92 sub-sandwich, and enjoyed my extraordinary savings on Ted, err United, whatever.
As we landed I thought, United isn’t what is used to be.
You can’t make this stuff up…