As Elvis Costello says, There’s no action

I had a moment of sympathy today for Hawaiian Airlines. I drove past one of their billboards trying to get me to fly them to Hawaii. Then I drove past an Alaska Airlines billboard also touting their service to the islands.

When I consider flying Alaska, I know what I’m going to get that’s different. I’m going to get a really enjoyable experience, start to finish. That’s what Alaska does: they give you a much more pleasant time than just about any other US-based airline.

But what does Hawaiian do? They give me wider planes? Wider than what? That’s it? I have, in fact, flown Hawaiian before, and all I remember is that they got me to Hawaii. But when I fly Alaska anywhere, I’m always extremely aware of how much better they are than other airlines. Sorry, Hawaiian, but I have had plenty of horrible passenger experiences on wider planes. So it becomes a question of price, and then I have to measure the trade-off for not having the Alaska happy-happy.

Poor Hawaiian. All they have, it seems, is the name. (Tell me if I’m wrong on this, you heavy Hawaiian customers out there.)

Today it’s all about what a brand does. And all the billboards in the world won’t add up to action.

Take, for instance, this recent action by Morton’s Steakhouse, as reported in the Huffington Post. Social media-savvy business dude Peter Shankman had a long day and was flying home with an empty stomach and tweeted this:

Someone at Morton’s headquarters spotted the tweet and jumped into action. When Shankman landed and deplaned, a tux-clad Morton’s dude was waiting for him with a 24oz steak dinner. [Man, all I need is five clients like this and I could conquer the world.]

Shankman, of course, tweeted all about it, and it landed in the Huff. That’s an action that people will talk about. (And reward with a wide-ass serving of free media.)

People also talk about their good experiences on Alaska Airlines. They rave about their good experiences on Jet Blue. These brands are know because of what they do, not just their billboards.

So, whatcha gonna do, Hawaiian?

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