The Levison Letter


"Position" your brand in a new way
- A case history
May, 2017

As you know if you've ever flown Southwest, some years ago the airline started designating your place on the boarding line.
The goal was to make the boarding process go smoothly.
However, once you got on the plane, it was every man, woman, and child for themselves. On a crowded flight, when everyone had carry-on luggage, it could be a bit of a Hobbesian state of "all against all."

So how did Southwest handle the fact that they didn't offer the convenience of reserved seating?

In a TV commercial, they turned the lack of reserved seating into a benefit!

Here's how . . . 

The commercial starts with Billy being put into a high chair. His mom tells him where to sit . . .
Cut to Bill in school. His teacher tells him where to sit . . .
Cut to Bill's first day on the job in an office. His boss tells him where to sit . . .
Cut to Bill at the airport. The ticket agent on some other airline gives Bill his assigned seat number and tells him where to sit.
That does it for the poor guy! The announcer tells us, "So Bill switched to Southwest Airlines. Now Bill sits where Bill wants. Freedom to choose on Southwest Airlines."

Terrific! By using some powerful advertising Jiu-Jitsu, Southwest turned a disadvantage into a benefit. The free-for-all scramble for a favorite seat is transformed into a liberating expression of individual freedom.

This is an example of the power of positioning -- of how a marketer decides how to best "position" their product or service in the consumer's mind.
Of course, Southwest Airlines, like all companies, could have choosen from a huge number of positionings.

For example, Southwest could have positioned themselves as:
  • The on-time airline
  • The no-frills airline
  • The low-cost airline
  • The safety-conscious airline
  • The friendly airline
  • The sexy flight-attendant airline (This is not my idea. Years ago this was Southwest Airline's actual advertising positioning. In fact, all "stewardesses" were required to wear hot pants and go-go boots!)
The bottom line? 

In the TV spot mentioned above, Southwest chose a "free-to-sit-anywhere" positioning. We can only infer that the airline felt the need to counter an unpleasant customer perception -- that Southwest's free-for-all seating policy was a royal pain in the neck.

The point of all this, of course, is not to investigate airline seating procedures. It's to demonstrate how a fresh approach to positioning can be used to build a business.

If you can think in a new way about your product or service, and reinvent it through an innovative repositioning, your business can take off too.
And I can help. I write emails, sales letters, web copy, you name it -- and with the right positioning. What kind of results can I get for you? CLICK HERE and read the whole page. When you're done, you'll see why it makes sense to pick up the phone.

By the way, if you haven't done so already, visit my home page!
How to get in touch . . .
Phone: (415) 461-0672
Fax: (415) 461-7738
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Ivan Levison. Direct Mail, Email & Advertising Copywriting
14 Los Cerros Drive, Greenbrae, CA 94904
Phone (415) 461-0672      Fax: (415) 461-7738

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