Delta Air Lines, the air carrier, has been able to draw on its enduring brand values of empathy and humanity as it serves those passengers who continue to fly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tim Mapes, Delta’s svp/chief marketing and communications officer, discussed this topic at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) Masters of Marketing conference, which was held online.

“Consistency comes from values – and organisational behaviors that are known to be linked to those values,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Even as COVID-19 grounds airline, Delta’s NPS soars to new heights.)

“So brands aren't what CMOs say they are; they're what employees are doing for, and delivering on behalf of, its customers.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has required instituting new health and safety protocols, from new cleanliness procedures to providing more space in the aircraft, as well as transforming its in-flight service.

Underpinning Delta’s strategy – and its marketing principles – is a long-established practice that Mapes termed “branding from the inside out.”

In describing this concept, he reported that Delta “is a brand that very much believes in empathy. It believes in humanity. It believes in connecting with people on an emotional basis … driven by the nobility of serving others.”

The “inside-out” branding, Mapes told the ANA digital delegates, is embodied by “inspiring frontline customer service agents” who can provide extraordinary service in extraordinary times.

“As such, it's not just about satisfaction with Delta Air Lines; it's about your likelihood to love the interaction you're having with our customer-service people, love the aircraft, love the technology, and see the evidence that we listen to you when you tell us that things aren't quite right [and] could be better,” he said.

One piece of evidence supporting the strategy of “placing people at the center of everything we do” during the pandemic is that Delta’s Net Promoter Score (NPS), a metric focused on customer recommendation, rose by 22 points year on year, to +75, in September 2020.

Sourced from WARC