Freshening up Southwest’s image was a step in the right direction for the brand. I love the new logo and colors. I thought the now-long-retired gold and orange looked very budget. I know that is what the carrier is known for, but I think the shift over the last decade has been a brand image success. I wonder what role the airline’s home base, Dallas “Love” Field”, had in selecting the heart as the new logo. In addition to connecting its brand home, it seems this particular logo was selected so that Southwest could boost moral among employees. Bachman (2014) suggested the change was a “big public smooch to patch relations between management and labor”. Perpetual delays had caused friction between airport staff and executives and constant friction was evident in negotiations over pay with flight attendants, pilots and maintenance workers. A labor union that represented 6,000 SWA employees had been working with a federal mediator to intervene on their behalf (Bachman, 2014). In a press release introducing the new logo, Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer said, “Our collective heartbeat is stronger and healthier than ever, and that’s because of the warmth, the compassion, and the smiles of our People” (“Southwest Airlines Unveils”, 2014). Was Kelly trying to market the new logo to the public or give a big shout out to SWA employees who he hoped to win back over? It makes you wonder if the heart was a part of an internal brand communication campaign, a strategy to win back the “hearts” of its employees.
Bachman, J. (2014, September 8). Southwest dedicates new heart logo to unhappy workers. Bloomberg. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-09-08/southwest-dedicates-new-heart-logo-to-its-workers-amid-labor-dispute
Southwest Airlines. (2014, September 8). Southwest airlines unveils its new look, same heart. [Press release]. Retrieved http://www.swamedia.com/releases/southwest-airlines-unveils-its-new-look-same-heart?l=en-US