So, is Dave Neeleman, the ever-loquacious cofounder of JetBlue, taking to the blogosphere or not? The airline just redesigned its website and on it Dave has a page called David's log, with a word from the chief. http://www.jetblue.com/about/ourcompany/flightlog/
No airline executives have yet taken the leap into full blog-dom, unlike some of the big shots at Boeing. Southwest was the first airline to blog in a big way but its offering, "Nuts about Southwest", is compiled by its people and its customers. Neeleman's first offering promises folks a weekly update, mentions JetBlue's newest city (Sarasota/Bradenton,
When he does, according to JetBlue's Jenny Dervin, he is the flight attendant, asking as many passengers as he can for ideas on making JetBlue better. Dervin tells AB that JetBlue is thinking of making the log into a blog. The log invites readers to send an email to JetBlue.
No airline chief executive has yet taken to the blogosphere, says Josh Hallett, a Winter Haven, Florida-based consultant to corporate blogs and websites because "It's just a matter of time before one does. As long as it's an airline with good customer relations, with customer advocates, that's not a bad thing. Southwest and JetBlue are about the only airlines that come to mind", says Hallett, director of a consultancy called Hyku. Like Hallett, AdWeek advertising writer Barbara Lippert says companies should be wary of letting their executives take too public a role in building their brand identities. She notes the recent premature withdrawal of a major Daimler Chrysler advertising campaign featuring its chief executive, Dieter Zetsche. The walrus-moustached German engineer appeared in widely shown television spots called 'Ask Dr. Z.' The ads led large numbers of Americans to ask if Zetsche, a tall, briskly spoken Teuton, was a real person.
Few would suggest that the intense, wiry Neeleman was or indeed could be made up, but these brand-conscious types caution that airline brand identity is a delicate commodity since it involves perceptions of safety that could easily be undermined by the wrong hint of humour. And airline brand identity and the public perception of the airline stems from the people the public deals with, from check in to in-flight people. After all, your entire experience of an airline takes place (or should) in close proximity to the carrier's people, and it is they who do the most to create loyal customers or give flyers reason to shop elsewhere. By contrast, it's not as if you see the Chrysler guy every time you get into one of their cars.