Why WestJet is Winning

Why WestJet is Winning

We’re all dancing a little faster these days, often too busy to keep our head above the keyboard let alone remember what day it is.  So when April happened last week, I was on auto-pilot… randomly scanning online news videos, when I caught one from WestJet.

The headline grabbed me and so did handsome Richard Bartrem, WestJet’s VP Communications when he stated, “Effective today, we’re introducing child-free cabins.”

[urrrch!…what?]  Listen, I love, love, love kids but who hasn’t had a nightmare flight with screaming children?  He goes on to introduce “Kargo Kids” complete with travel toboggans loaded with wee ones, heading down the luggage conveyor.  Then they show a runway-traffic type person stuffing those precious angels in the belly of the plane!

And just when I’m trying not to clap with bizarre glee I hear “From all of us at WestJet – you’re welcome”… and one of the adorable little travellers wishing everyone a happy April Fool’s Day.

They had me for a nano-second.  Check it out:

Laugh-out-loud brilliant right?  And sooo WestJet.

You only need one WestJet experience to get what I mean.  They take a highly regulated industry and make it real, not to mention fun.  The flight attendants have free license to be comedians!  Boring, pedantic, onboard announcements are laced with jokes so you actually WANT to listen and are excited to be in that exit aisle you paid extra for.  Yes, Southwest Airlines in the US broke the mold and did it first but Canada’s always been a little behind on unconventional… we eventually get there!  And do it even better.

Case in point, WestJet’s “Care-antee” which is all about them actually giving a crap about passenger’s well-being by showing real-life travel situations.  Or how about the campaign on WestJet employees being “owners that care” which (besides clearly being nice people) promotes their Employee Share Purchase Plan and basically WHY their employees have a vested interest in actually giving a crap.

As a proud capitalist, I buy THAT all-day-long compared to Air Canada’s whining employees and their ridiculous sense of entitlement.  Between recent strike threats and stupid media-sucking activity that only hurts passengers, Air Canada continues to hammer home just how bad their brand has not just eroded… it’s atrophied.

WestJet announced in January they were setting their sights on Air Canada’s “National Airline” title by expanding their fleet to smaller planes that service neglected domestic markets.  And you know what?  WestJet will do it.  And here’s why.

HERE’S THE STICKING POINT:  

Air Canada has lost all sense of what a passenger experience even means and as a result they’ve become a national joke of an airline.  In fact, Air Canada jokes actually roll off our tongues.  And they typically come with a “why do I fly this f’ing airline” eye-roll.

So big surprise, Air Canada’s market share continues to down-trend.  Yet our country continues to bail them out.  And Air Canada continues to under-perform and undermine the loyalty of generations of travellers with horrifically bad service… and oh… things like STEALING frequent flyer points.

This one’s been brewing for awhile.  There will be an upcoming post on this. I’ll call it:  Why Air Canada Blows

2016-10-15T15:28:12+00:00 By |Gong Show, Services, Standing "O"|2 Comments

About the Author:

With a take-no-prisoners approach to helping build brand experiences around big ideas, Susie Dore'–Brand Strategist, Copywriter and Founder of Lipstick Sky Marketing–works with inspired clients in a wide range of industries across North America.

2 Comments

  1. Leanne March 20, 2014 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    I think it is important for companies to realize that the branding experience isnt’t just about the customer but about the employee. Creating a good culture will translate into great service/experience and ultimately showcase your business as a leader and often it is a part that is overlooked.

    • Susie Dore' March 20, 2014 at 5:43 pm - Reply

      Absolutely Leanne… when employees are treated with respect, everybody wins. And in WestJet’s case, by giving them “skin in the game” and calling them “WestJet owners” in marketing campaigns, it’s no surprise WestJet employees are so engaged and helpful. Ta da!… so smart.

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