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Business Beliefs In Action: An Example from JetBlue

Strategy

Marty St. George, who is SVP of Marketing and Commercial Strategy at JetBlue, gave one of the keynotes at the recent Future M conference. He structured his slides around the 10 rules that people should keep in mind when pitching JetBlue on marketing initiatives. On one level, it was a very practical presentation. But on another level, it was an amazing example of how clear beliefs and values serve to guide businesses and create clarity for both internal and external audiences. And ultimately how they define brands and accelerate growth.

Why is this relevant for the Vsnap blog? Three reasons: our company, our product and our customers.

First, Vsnap is a belief-based company. In other words, the reason we’re building this business is because it expresses and advances certain beliefs that we care about very deeply and that we’ve decided to give our lives to. (Here’s what they are).

Second, the reason our product works is specifically because you can talk about values and beliefs in a vsnap and what you express actually translates. In an email, a belief statement tends to sound like copy that was written by the corp comms team. But in a vsnap, your recipients can actually understand what you believe. Or, more accurately, they can feel it. That’s not true of email or text. It’s really unique to these little, personal video messages. This is why I sometimes refer to a vsnap as a belief envelope (like in this post).

Finally, the thing that all of our customers have in common is a shared belief in the value of treating customers like people. Please do not dismiss this as just some squishy sentiment. The businesses that use Vsnap align around precisely one thing: their common conviction that bringing emotion back into business/customer conversations and making them feel human and personal is a path to increasing the three R’s: Revenues, Retention and Referrals. It’s how they grow business.

So, back to the 10 Rules to pitch JetBlue. Here they are:

1.     Know what your target stands for and if your idea doesn’t fit, move on.

2.     If I can put any of my competitors’ logos on it, it’s not right for my brand.

3.     If it’s been done already, it’s not all that special.

4.     If it can’t shape culture or conversation we’re not interested.

5.     If it fits in a banner ad or a 30-second spot, we’re not interested.

6.     We want ideas that cut across all media, not just tv or digital.

7.     We like ideas that help leverage and enhance the way people use multiple channels simultaneously and sequentially.

8.     Ideas of the future don’t fit in containers of the past.

9.     Ideas must be consumer-centric.

10.  Fix your problem while solving my problem. (He went on to say: “I need to fill seats. I need to deliver a great experience. I need to keep costs low.”)

Do you see my point? What is this list if not a totally actionable expression of a totally clear set of values and beliefs? I mean, the very first statement speaks to what a business stands for. That’s about belief!

And when Marty presented these ideas, he expounded on them in a way that made their underpinnings even more explicit. When he talked about Rule Number 9, for example, he connected that simple statement to JetBlue’s mission of bringing humanity back to air travel.

In fact, he went on to say something else that I thought was even more awesome. He said that while many companies think of digital communications as being a way to achieve greater scale by minimizing the presence of real people (employees) in customer communications, JetBlue believes that’s short-sighted and misguided. They see digital strategy as so valuable specifically because of how it allows them to bring the human layer back into customer communications.

And I guess that gets to the other reason I wanted to blog about this talk he gave: because when we find other people who share our beliefs, we get excited and want to tell our friends. That’s a very human thing. It’s what Seth Godin calls finding your tribe, or what Simon Sinek calls starting with why.

So consider this post a hat-tip to the JetBlue team for clearly stating their values and creating a company where we all know what to expect, and where people feel valued. I think it’s easy to look at this list – which is ostensibly about giving guidance to marketers – and see why so many people are so deeply passionate about JetBlue.

And for Vsnap customers, I invite you to see this as a reminder that all our talk in the Vsnap world about the business value that derives from engaging customers in a more human and more transparently emotional way – all that is more than just nice stuff to say. Putting people first is powerful. And it’s driving decisions at some of the strongest and most loved companies in the world.

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