American Airlines Talks Total Reinvention

The airline business ain’t pretty. No, as Warren Buffett once wrote in a letter to shareholders, “[I]f a farsighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favor by shooting Orville down.” It's that legacy which makes American Airlines’ ongoing reinvention so impressive. What’s the airline’s approach? Well, “When you’re going through a transformation, you can either dress it up [i.e., bullshit, bullshit, bullshit] or you can do it right,” according to Rick Elieson, Managing Director of Digital for and American Airlines. Also, “having a clear line of sight on your economics is critical,” Elieson told attendees of OMMA’s Email Insider Summit on Friday morning. If you're not aware, relaunching its visual identity for the first time in 45 years was only part of the company's massive overhaul. Among other major investments, AA recently invested in 550 new planes; completely rethought its on-flight menu (except for its famous ice-cream sundaes); and had new uniforms designed for pilots and flight attendants. Most relevant to email marketers, Elieson said American Airlines has also had to totally change its “tone of voice,” which is affecting every consumer touch-point from baggage claim signage to, yes, marketing emails.  

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