Thursday, September 1, 2011

Does A Fresh Coat of Paint Really Matter? What is the Motive Behind the Message?

On October 12th, United Airlines President & CEO, Jeff Smisek, will present to the Executives Club of Chicago. Regretfully, I will be unable to attend.

I am baffled by his generally well crafted and delivered video presentation currently playing on United/Continental flights. Will someone please ask him, in a polite and respectful manner, what caused/prompted Mr. Smisek to believe that his message to his passengers (clients) should tout the “painting of airplanes” as progress in the coupling of the two airlines?

Other than the time I boarded a United Airline flight to Des Moines that looked like a Mr. Potato Head with its grey body attached to a red, blue and white nose, there has never been much interest in the paint job. Branding through paint may have been high on the transition team’s list of priorities, or maybe it was just any easy and visually obvious step toward integration. But a major step toward integration? Not hardly, from a passengers perspective.

Mind you, I am not complaining about how the process of combining the two giant birds is moving along. The merger and subsequent rolling-into-one would be a daunting task for even the heartiest CEO. Nonetheless, as a communication strategy, it is baffling to me why painting the planes was front and center in the on-flight CEO video now seen by passengers over the past several months. At first, I thought maybe that is the only thing he has to talk about? Now, however, there is an updated version of Mr. Smisek’s promotional video and he continues to discuss the paint job. As a continuous assimilator of human behavior, in particular - the thought process that goes into formal, practiced, vetted communication - I am anxious to know the motive behind the message.

Anyone know the answer?

Please, would someone ask the question on October 12?

Until then, I remain perplexed.

1 comment:

emcee said...

I have no idea, but I was baffled too!