Right from the beginning, Southwest Airlines had a purpose – ‘to democratise the skies.’ But by the 2000s, the airline industry was in a tailspin. Profits were down. Share prices were tumbling. Investors were bailing out. Southwest was struggling to make money. The shareholders demanded change. So in marched the consultants…
Their big idea: start charging for bags. You can generate up to $350 million for the bottom line. The finance team approached the senior execs. With the company’s future in doubt, there’s no way they could say no, right?
Nope. The idea wasn’t fit for take-off. “Our purpose is to democratise the skies. If we charge for bags, we make it harder for people to fly, not easier, and we go against our purpose.”
Instead, Southwest brought in advertising legend Roy Spence. Together they launched a new marketing campaign: “The bags fly free”
A year later the senior execs met up again. Instead of making $350 million, The Bags Fly Free campaign generated more than $1 billion – and increased their market share. They didn’t change. They doubled down. And it really paid off. So don’t let anyone pressure you into doing things differently. If you believe in your purpose, don’t be shy about it. In fact: shout about it, like Southwest did. Instead of looking for new approaches, try asking: is it time to unchange?