Classic Airlines Benchmarking

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Generic Benchmarking Worksheet

Task A: Problem/Opportunity Statement
Instructions for Task A: In the Response row, write out the problem/opportunity statements for the scenario for each of the team members. Response to Task A:

Classic Airlines will become a profitable and successful organization by establishing better relationships with its internal and external customers.

Generic Benchmarking—The purpose of generic benchmarking is to identify potential solutions to the problem statements defined in Task A. You will do this by looking at how companies in other industries have dealt with similar issues. Topic A: Brand Marketing

Instructions for Topic A: In the Response row, each team member must identify at least one company that has faced and addressed similar situations (successfully and unsuccessfully). •In the Response row, identify whether the company has been successful or unsuccessful. •In the Response row, summarize your key findings for the company as they relate to the scenario. •In the Response row, identify at least one alternative solution for Classic Airlines from each company researched. Response to Topic A:

Company: Southwest Airlines
Status: Successful
Summary:
In 1968, Rollin King and Herb Kelleher founded Southwest Airlines, a new commercial airline that focused simply on getting customers from one location to another on time and for the most economical fare available. After three years of planning, Southwest began its operations in 1971 with very minimal number of planes on its fleet, with only four aircrafts serving three cities, and a maximum revenue of $2 million per annum (Andrews, 2006). After 24 years since the company’s inception, Southwest Airlines’ annual revenue grew to an impressive $3 billion per annum. Today Southwest Airlines “flies more than 70 million passengers in a year to 60 great cities all across the country and that too 3,000 times in a day” (Andrews, 2006). Southwest prides itself to be the fourth largest airline in the United States (Robinson, 2002). Moreover, Southwest’s management, board of directors, and employees are extremely proud of being able to post profitability for 32 consecutive years (Raulf, 2005). Even during the 1990s when the whole air travel industry was going through a difficult period, Southwest was able to maintain its position. Southwest was the only American commercial carrier to positively “turn both operating and net profits” (Grimaldi, 2006). As a result, Kelleher and King gained the lasting respect of their colleagues. Kelleher and King’s business idea has proven to be a success; however, the simple business plan involved more than just getting people from one point to another. Southwest’s success is due in part to the company’s ability to effectively establish and market Southwest as a brand. By branding, Southwest is able to distinguish itself from competitors such as United Airlines, American Airlines, and other commercial airlines. Southwest has employed and continuously employ a variety of branding techniques such as using certain colors, symbols, names and certain words or phrase for its slogan or logos to distinguish itself from its competitors (Kerin, Hartley, Berkowtiz, Rudelius, 2006). Moreover, Southwest sets itself apart from its competitors by identifying itself as the company that fosters positive attitude and humor (McCasland, 2003). What makes Southwest’s branding so effective is that it starts from management and is ingrained in the company’s culture. “Dedication to customer service always follows the trickle-down theory in corporate culture… the company has a reputation for hiring on the basis of a positive attitude and sense of humor” (McCasland, 2003). Southwest is known to hire based on personality (personable, friendly, sense of humor). Moreover, the company’s mission statement clearly states the company’s objectives and purpose of being. Southwest’s purpose for being is “the mission of Southwest Airlines is...
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