Old is the new hip?

Insight

Old is the new hip?

JetBlue seems to get it right at every turn; they know who they are and their execution is spot on. On the other hand, the mere mention of American Airlines tends to result in spontaneous complaint filled diatribes. This general perception would make it reasonable to think that JetBlue would score much higher in brand engagement metrics.  However, it’s American Airlines who leads engagement among airlines, surpassing the much younger, hipper and more intriguing JetBlue.

Evidence

Among Airlines, American has the greatest Participation Brand Index score, ahead of trendier JetBlue, a pattern that persists across age groups. While JetBlue is thought of as a brand that Shapes Culture and Innovates the Category, American more than makes up for it by being the more People Powered and Distinctive brand.

Implication

For airlines, innovation and cultural significance alone isn’t enough. To win the engagement battle recognition, consistency and – crucially – consumer endorsement matter. The key is to know which path plays into your brand’s strengths. JetBlue and American both have such a keen understanding of who they are and who they are targeting that they can take complete opposite approaches to participation and still manage to succeed in a fiercely competitive environment.