This blog post you are about to read is the single best one you will ever read. Ever. It’s that good.
These American airlines, especially American Airlines, never seem to learn. They constantly over promise and under deliver.
Most of them do this; American is just the latest guilty party. And it offers great lessons for all entrepreneurs. For the last two days they’ve been bombarding the Internet with breathless promos about “change in the air,” because they redesigned their logo.
They have gone as far as to show how it will look on the in-flight menus, the check-in counters, the luggage tags, the frequent flier cards, and of course the livery of their planes.
But what’s the reality?
They’ll paint one plane for the press conference and it will take about two years to repaint the fleet, because they have no money. That beautiful pic of their new first class seats won’t really happen until late 2014 or likely 2015. And what’s happening in the meantime?
The planes are filthy, the counters are understaffed, the lavs aren’t restocked, the staff is dispirited, almost none of the planes are Wi-Fi enabled, and the lounges are decrepit.
I book away from them whenever I can. But I did use them for one segment on my way to Bali (simply because I’m burning my frequent flier miles with them). So what do they do? They play me a commercial about Wi-Fi on their planes, even though the plane I’m on had none and they have one of the lowest percentage of Wi-Fi planes in the industry.
Why rub salt in the wound?
It’s like UNITED is showing promo videos on all its flights bragging about how great the 787 is, and how it will revolutionize the flying experience with them. I believe they have one. (Of course that looks really silly in light of yesterday’s grounding, but that’s another story.)
Delta does the same thing, trumpeting their new lie flat beds which are cramped, dreadful, and actually only on a fraction of their long haul flights.
US Airways is a flying slum. Yet their marketing department and ad agency would lead you to believe you’re going to be pampered in the loving embrace of luxury.
It sounds so simple: Under promise and over deliver. Yet look at how many companies do the exact opposite. You have marketing departments living in an alternate universe, hiring advertising agencies that must be on narcotics.
No marketing is better than over marketing, because over marketing sets up the customer for more disappointment and makes a simply average product look terrible. (And a terrible product look horrifying.)
What if the person sending out these panting tweets about the new AA logo actually monitored the Twitter feed and responded to complaints (and compliments) there? What if someone in Delta marketing actually picked up the phone and called some million milers to ask what they think of their new cabin retrofits?
Everyone wants to get the marketing started to get first mover advantage. But there is no first mover advantage – when you can’t deliver.