According to AdAge, Jet Blue is responding to the airline crisis not by pursuing mergers (as the rest of the players in the industry are doing), but instead trying to set a tone.
From AdAge: The move runs counter to the carrier's rivals, which have been directing their focus internally to investigate merger opportunities, cut costs, deal with spiraling fuel prices and generally avoid bankruptcy. Yet Andrea Spiegel, VP-marketing at JetBlue, said while the airline is dealing with the same problems as its competitors, the "need for optimism and a positive alternative in this negative category is more important than ever....A $15 million campaign is designed to differentiate JetBlue from its competitors by calling what it does "jetting" as opposed to flying."
Their campaign includes subway ads, a national TV spot, a microsite (http://happyjetting.com/), and even a book! While I am fascinated by their media choices, I am intrigued at their product positioning. They know what they stand for and how it might appeal to people who are frustrated with being treated like cattle (who have to pay for their feed). Now that the flying experience has become miserable, will people pay more for JetBlue?
It seems like they are in the same boat libraries are in, right? Our threat is the pervasiveness of information in settings that are more comfortable than what we provide. It is a more tempting competition than what JetBlue is experiencing, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't take a hard look at what we have to offer and then package it in a tempting way. The JetBlue microsite has a cute take on flying -- could we do something similar for surfing the web...something that doesn't sound as preachy as we normally do when we tell our patrons that they should use our services 'cause we are better for them? Rather than sound like medication, we need to find a message and a tone that are appealing -- and that builds on our true competitive advantage.