What if the CEO for United Airlines were to embark on a journey? That would be a journey through his own airline?
Be a mystery flyer,if you will. And flew in Coach, boarding in section 2 or 3, jockeying for overhead space to avoid his airline's baggage fees.
What if he bought his tickets online, checked in, went through TSA security, suffered a canceled flight or a delay or missed a flight from that delay or...enjoyed an on-time flight.
And then he wrote it. Blogged about it? He would write it himself in his own style, with his own words. I'm saying skip the PR pro or the ghostwritten post with text so smooth and shiny you slide right past it.
Or what if he flew as a mystery flyer and then during the flight introduced himself to the crew and asked if they would allow him to speak to the passengers, the customers, the ones who pay their salaries? Whoa. Can you imagine that?
What if he thanked them? Both. Customers and employees.
What if he asked for their feedback? I'm in row x, seat y. Stop by and share your thoughts.
And they videoed it, as well as blogged about it?
How cool would that be? Would that be an awesome, ie, inspiring story?
What do you think the reaction would be?
Anger. Sure. There's some pent up anger by customers of United. Just a bit. And I bet there's some pent-up anger with employees too.
Awkward, painful, moments. Yes. You're lancing a boil and that's always awkward and painful.
On the other hand, what a powerful, visual, honest and genuine sign of commitment and interest! Would that build some word-of-mouth? Would that build some loyalty? Would that add some revenues?
What about you and your company?
What if you did the same? Flew in your planes. Ate your own dog food, so to speak.
- Visit your website.
- Walk in through your front door.
- Buy from your company in the same channels as you expect your customers to buy.
- Use your company's product or service.
- Call your customer service.
The whole undercover CEO thing.
Then you shared this story.
- In your voice, your words, your style.
- Include that of the employees and customers.
Sure, you don't want to blindside your employees with a public post of their most awkward moments. And at the same time you want to avoid the shiny, glossy, sheen of a site chock full of marketing/pr/corporate-speak we can spot so quick and leave even faster. Maybe share one or two such moments and a follow-up post on what was learned, what changed, how that effected the customers.
What do you think the reaction would be? Would it be more interesting than what you're doing now?
This is your company's story. That story is what you do with everyone in your organization. With is the operative word.
Your stakeholders experience bits and pieces of it. And rarely, for most companies, is it told in their words. MISSED OPPORTUNITY.
Why not tell your story in your words? Your story, your words, your voice = one unique message. One meaningful message. One message that connects all you do with your key stakeholders. Isn't that what we're all looking for?
If you compete in a commoditized industry, you do. And if you don't, well wait a bit and you will.
Just an idea. It's been rumbling around in my head for awhile, bits and pieces, like bits and pieces of your company's story. I took a day off the computer this weekend. And listened to all the bits and pieces. Listening, then telling the story.
Some may consider this above my pay-grade. I mean, you know, who am I to suggest what the CEO of one of the world's largest companies should do? Fair enough.
On the other hand, as an occasional and reluctant passenger with United....I've earned the right.
And, with 23 million results on Google delivered in .3 seconds for the phrase United sucks...it looks like there are millions of others, as well, who feel they have earned the right to suggest some ideas.
And it looks like whatever United is doing, it isn't working. They may want to do something else.