No LUV for Southwest Airlines: How to crash a brand in less than 100 hours in a perfect social media storm – A business case study (draft / beta)

Please note that this article serves as a placeholder for an ongoing business case study of the Southwest Airlines social media storm. Information contained here will be under constant update and revision.


Business case background:

Southwest Airlines was a respected brand only a few short days ago. So what had happened to the brand in less than 100 hours that caused people to say out loud that they will NEVER fly with Southwest again? Thus no LUV for Southwest Airlines.

The purpose of this business case is to look deeper into the causes leading to Southwest crashing its brand in a perfect social media storm. And how other businesses can learn from Southwest‘s mistakes.

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 - N922WN, Sports Illustrated One (Swimsuit 2009 Bar Refaeli) at HOU by E-Mans

photo credit: av8pix @ Flickr


Dis-Revenue per Employee, Revenue per Employee, Southwest Airlines, Twitter, Social Media, Social Network

Raw research materials:

1) NOT SO SILENT BOB by Christi Day – Southwest Airlines, Emerging Media Specialist

2) MY CONVERSATION WITH KEVIN SMITH by Linda Rutherford – Southwest Airlines, VP Communications & Strategic Outreach

3) Smodcast #106: “Go Fuck Yourself, Southwest Airlines – In which, surely, our hero is Too Fat To Fly. And don’t call me Shirley.

4) Smodcast #107: “Thinicism – In Natali [the lady Kevin Smith talked about in #106] tells her story.

5) I’ve linked to some materials here in the blog entry “Southwest Airlines – From a loved brand to a damaged brand – Kevin Smith & Linda Rutherford”.

6) More to be added.

Principal researcher:

Kempton Lam  B.Sc., MBA

Background of Principal Researcher:

Kempton received his undergrad degree in Computer Science (with high distinction) from University of Toronto and is well versed in social media technologies from his years of blogging experiences. His MBA degree from University of Calgary has also prepared him to deliver comprehensive insightful study/report on time and within budget. During Kempton’s undergraduate and graduate studies, he has received multiple scholarships and awards for his academic excellence.

A Business Case Study (draft / beta)

It will take some time to complete the full report so please be patient.

What Kempton plans to do is to update this report in different draft versions. And keeping it as a “draft/beta” version until it is completed.

Concluding note for now

This report will study some serious issues and topics even though the trigger of Southwest‘s troubles may seem “trivial” to some people. But let me assure you, the business implication is deep and significant.

Just so you know I can laugh at myself and the absurdity in whole mess for Southwest. Here is one of my favourite ad, it serves to remind me to be humble and always be ready to do what is needed and right (and to learn).

5 Responses to No LUV for Southwest Airlines: How to crash a brand in less than 100 hours in a perfect social media storm – A business case study (draft / beta)

  1. […] part of the “No LUV for Southwest Airlines” business case study, I intend to define and expand on the concept of “Dis-Revenue per […]

  2. […] Note: I am in the process of gathering research materials and planning to write a business case about this mess. […]

  3. […] When I can find some time, I will try to finish writing the following business case which I created as a placeholder in Feb 2010 when the Southwest news was hot. “No LUV for Southwest Airlines: How to crash a brand in less than 100 hours in a perfect social media…“ […]

  4. george liebewitz says:

    Southwest ‘airline’ turned me into a ‘no longer travelling ‘ person.

    I have visited the most secure institutions within the US-as an ‘ordinary Joe’.
    No problem at White House; nor Pentagon; nor air force bases from Edwards to Andrews.
    When leaving good folks at Cape Canaveral to return to Washington DC-I was assailed at MCO Orlando by a hyped up Southwest airlines employee. At the time-the only ID -was a name tag-which he did his best to conceal. It took the good folk at TSA-to ascertain who this ‘individual’was.
    So-Calvin -of Mickey Mouse Orlando airport Soutwest Airlines
    -I hope Karma-finds you-sometime in the near future

    -because your mistake caused a train of health and other hardship to me-since November 2008.

    southwest airlines =the worst transport company+
    MCO Orlando=the devil’s bathroom-deserve each other.

  5. kempton says:

    @George Yikes, seems like you had a real bad experience with SouthWest. Sorry to hear.

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