JetBlue’s fight to reclaim its brand

Arguably it would simply be easier to not screw up the brand in the first place. But for JetBlue the demands of Wall Street were too great. And so the company now faces the challenge of trying to woo back the customers who feel betrayed by changes which haven’t even been implemented yet. That’s quite a formidable task which now falls on the shoulders of newly promoted Executive Vice President, Commercial and Planning Marty St. George.

The WSJ tells a bit of the story: JetBlue’s Plan to Repair Its Brand

Two bits of the interview which I found particularly interesting:

WSJ: Do you think it’s important that marketing executives have additional responsibilities?

MR. ST. GEORGE: I came up through the revenue side of the business, not the marketing side. The model where the marketer is the person in the corner doing the catchy jingle—that seems like “Mad Men” to me. If you want to be respected, you have to have a more enterprise view of the business.

Indeed, it turns out that understanding the business side of things is quite important when it comes to figuring out how to market. And, much like Continental and its efforts to market behind being the carrier with free meals in coach (those didn’t drive yields, it turns out) JetBlue is seeing similar business reasons to start charging for bags on the cheaper fares. It will be interesting to see how this splits for domestic versus Caribbean/LatAm traffic (~30% of the JetBlue lift) but I’m guessing the business will do just fine.

WSJ: How else has technology helped your advertising?

MR. ST. GEORGE: It makes our ads work harder. Today, we are using an automated ad-serving process that allows us to send out different banner ads with customized creative messages to various cities around the country, based on the specific weather at that moment.

In New York, for example, we ran an ad for low fares to West Palm Beach, Fla., that included the current New York temperature and the temperature in West Palm Beach.

So when people say banners are dead, I think they need to look at how people are really using that medium.

I actually saw one of these ads the other day and commented on it to my wife, so I do believe it is working. I am constantly amazed at the way the online advertising industry improves the quality and targeting of the ads it can produce.

I still think the company could have saved a lot of trouble by not mucking things up in the first place. But I also understand the challenges of the balance sheet and keeping shareholders happy. Doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it, though.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. So exactly how does all their new fees help them in their efforts to ‘regain their brand’? Going for the ‘Spirit look’?

  2. took my first flight with them last week.
    On the survey afterwards one question was, Rate this statement from 1-9
    “Jetblue is no longer innovating”

    Do I need to say more. If you have to ask……….

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