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Southwest Airlines: From Hot Pants to Newfound Nut Badges


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With all the horror stories about air travel these days, it’s important to note that Southwest Airlines does pretty well in the Koski Research Engagement IQ. 

It is well known with high positives and low negatives.

In fact, two-thirds would accept an invitation to lunch with the CEO. 

See how Southwest compares to other brands:

Southwest started out as a small airline flying only in Texas in 1971.

They patterned themselves after Pacific Southwest Airlines, including stewardess uniforms that featured hot pants and go-go boots (only women back in the day).    

Wacky behavior throughout the organization was encouraged. The CEO once arm wrestled another CEO to decide which one could use a certain advertising slogan!

It was also the first airline with a website.

Its current innovations include a very sophisticated social media listening system that provides top management with early warnings on reputational and other risks.

It runs a “Nuts about Southwest campaign,” which includes ways to engage flyers, such as their ability to earn Newfound Nuts badges and show their “LUV” (also its ticker symbol) of Southwest; results are promoted throughout social media channels.

And the airline has flourished.  It remains the top airline, and one of the top corporations overall, on the Fortune Most Admired Companies list.

Southwest proves once again that there are many paths to engagement. 

Warning: Peanuts may be served!

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