[Type text]
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Situation Analysis ....................................................................................................
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Industry

          The airline industry has fought to restore profitability since the 2001 terrorist attacks. The a...
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Company

          In June of 1971, two men set out to start an airline with this thought: “If you get your passengers...
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Southwest Airlines had a net income of $2.1 billion.iv Standard and Poor’s ranks Southwest Airlines as the healthiest ...
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Table 1: Airline Market Share Leaders

(based on revenue passenger miles or the number of total passengers divided by ...
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Consumer:


          The economic downturn has caused a change in consumer traveling habits. Consumers are postponing...
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Competitors:

Southwest Airlines’ major competitors are JetBlue, Delta, United, Continental, and American.

JetBlue

J...
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American Airlines

American serves 250 cities in 40 countries. They currently have 19,678 Twitter followers and 37,742...
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          Southwest Airlines was quick to embrace advertising through social media by implementing a social media s...
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Facebook


          Southwest currently has 97,121 Facebook fans. The Facebook page is run by two members of Southwe...
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LinkedIn


          Southwest Airlines’ LinkedIn profile connects with 4,216 employees.


Blog


          Southwest...
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          MediaMark Reporter shows Southwest Airlines’ consumers with the following characteristics are more likely...
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business professionals. Southwest’s television commercials also feature primarily male employees, which may mean they...
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          This campaign aims to supplement Southwest Airlines current “Grab your Bags. It’s On,” campaign by creati...
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          This campaign will continue Southwest Airlines’ overall positioning strategy by reminding consumers that ...
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This campaign will utilize the following social media venues:

                                  Facebook
        ...
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This campaign is designed with an objective/task budget distribution method. The budget breakdown is as follows:

 ...
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          The overall social media objective for this campaign will be to combine the “bags fly free” concept from ...
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          The campaign’s strategy revolves around the “bags fly free” concept. Through social media, Southwest Airl...
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“The Bags” are four bag characters that will describe their experiences while flying for free in “The Bag Blog.” Each...
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                                    Mark’s bag. This practical bag travels with his family man owner. Mark’s bag tr...
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experiences, and lives. When a follower enters the aforementioned contest, a direct message will be sent to them dire...
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          This campaign will run from January 1, 2010 until June 30, 2010 in order to remind consumers about Southw...
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To measure the effectiveness of the campaign, we will track the following success metrics:

         Number of Fac...
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Endnotes

i    Corridore, Jim. “Industry Surveys: Airlines.” Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantage. 18 June 2009.

ii    Sou...
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xv    “Statistics.” Facebook Press Room. <http://www.facebook.com/press.php#/press/info.php?statistics>.

xvi    Gri...
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Spec Southwest Campaign - Whitney Sewell

  1. 1. [Type text]
  2. 2. 2 Situation Analysis ................................................................................................................................................. 3 Current Social Media Use ................................................................................................................................... 9 Target Market Profile .......................................................................................................................................... 9 Advertising Objectives ......................................................................................................................................11 Positioning Strategy ...........................................................................................................................................12 Social Media Venues...........................................................................................................................................13 Budget .....................................................................................................................................................................14 Social Media Objectives ....................................................................................................................................15 Social Media Strategy ........................................................................................................................................16 Social Media Schedule .......................................................................................................................................20 Social Media Evaluation....................................................................................................................................21 Endnotes ................................................................................................................................................................22 Appendix A: Quiz .................................................................................................................................................. i Appendix B: Application .................................................................................................................................... ii Appendix C: Blog ................................................................................................................................................. iii whitney sewell | southwest
  3. 3. 3 Industry The airline industry has fought to restore profitability since the 2001 terrorist attacks. The airlines were hopeful in 2006 and 2007 as their bottom lines once again were written in black, but the economic crisis of 2008 combined with debt acquired after the 2001 terrorist attacks sent most major airlines back into the red as jet fuel prices skyrocketed and both leisure and business travelers reevaluated their spending habits. Standard & Poor’s believes that although lower oil prices should help restore profitability among airlines by the end of 2009, consumer trends in regards to travel spending habits probably will not turn around anytime soon.i A new trend within the airline industry is the addition of fees to boost revenue and reduce operating costs. This trend began in April 2008 when American Airlines started charging for the second checked bag. Once airlines realized added fees were not stopping consumers from choosing certain airlines, many major airlines flew on the bandwagon. Today, many airlines charge an abundance of fees, from first and second bags checked to snacks on the plane. Standard and Poor’s expects this new revenue source to total more than a billion dollars annually and to reduce operation costs by reducing the number of necessary employees and reducing fuel usage by lowering the weight of the plane’s cargo. Airlines are reducing operating costs with technology, such as E-tickets, booking online, and implementing self-serve kiosks. whitney sewell | southwest
  4. 4. 4 Company In June of 1971, two men set out to start an airline with this thought: “If you get your passengers to their destinations when they want to get there, on time, at the lowest possible fares, and make darn sure they have a good time doing it, people will fly your airline.”ii With three Boeing 737s, Rollin King and Herb Kelleher launched Southwest Airlines to serve Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. By 1976, Southwest had added 3 more planes and the cities of Austin, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Lubbock, and Midland/Odessa. The company began trading on the New York Stock exchange and carried its 5 millionth passenger in 1977. Ten years after its first flight, Southwest employed 2,129 Employees and operated 27 aircraft. Southwest bought Muse Air in 1985, and a multi-million dollar training center for flight crews opened in 1986. In 1989, Southwest made over a billion dollars in revenue which qualified it as a major airline. By 1991, Southwest had 9,778 Employees and 124 aircraft. In 1993, Southwest acquired Morris Air, which increased its presence on the west coast. Southwest created their website in 1995. Today, Southwest makes 3,300 flights a day coast-to-coast and employs over 35,000 people, making it the largest U.S. carrier based on domestic departures as of September 30, 2008. The company trades on the NYSE under “LUV.” As of 2008, they had carried 101.9 million passengers and have won numerous awards such as “Lease Amount of Customer Complaints,” “Best Ontime Record,” and “Best Baggage Handling.” Despite the airline industry’s struggle with profitability as a whole, Southwest Airlines has remained profitable for 36 consecutive years. Standard & Poor’s emphasizes the meaning of that number by calling it “an amazing feat, given the cyclical nature of the business.”iii In fact, while the 10 largest U.S. airlines lost approximately $58.6 billion between 2001 and 2005, whitney sewell | southwest
  5. 5. 5 Southwest Airlines had a net income of $2.1 billion.iv Standard and Poor’s ranks Southwest Airlines as the healthiest balance sheet in the industry with $11 billion dollars in revenue in 2008.v In terms of market share, Southwest ranks fifth among major U.S. airlines with 10.3 percent as shown in Table 1. Southwest’s market share has doubled in the last ten years. In terms of people who fly within the U.S. each year, Southwest is the industry leader with 20 percent of people flying domestically choosing Southwest Airlines.vi Southwest leads the airline industry in terms of advertising spending with $191.6 million spent on media in 2008.vii Southwest positions its brand as affordable, reliable, and fun. Its current advertising campaign, “Grab your bag. It’s on,” focuses on one its competitive advantages – the fact the airline does not charge fees for checking bags. The campaign features television spots that mostly show happy Southwest Airlines employees discussing how at their company bags fly free. One commercial targets football fans and imitates a team coming out of the tunnel before a game. The campaign is humorous and gets the point across. whitney sewell | southwest
  6. 6. 6 Table 1: Airline Market Share Leaders (based on revenue passenger miles or the number of total passengers divided by the number of total miles traveled) 2009 Rank Company % Market Share 1990 Rank Company % Market Share 1. Delta 22.2 1. United 19.3 2. American 17.1 2. American 16.7 3. United 13.7 3. Delta 16.2 4. Continental 10.8 4. Northwest 11.0 5. Southwest 10.3 5. Continental 9.2 6. US Airways 8.0 6. US Airways 6.5 7. JetBlue 3.6 7. Southwest 5.5 8. Alaska 2.5 8. TWA 3.9 9. AirTran 2.5 9. America West 2.7 10. SkyWest 2.3 10. Alaska 1.8 11. Republic 1.4 11. American 1.8 12. Frontier 1.2 12. Hawaiian 0.7 13. Hawaiian 1.2 13. Tower 0.5 14. ExpressJet 1.0 14. AirTran 0.6 15. Eagle 0.9 15. American 0.4 Others 1.4 Others 3.3 Source: Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantage (*include Northwest Airlines operations) whitney sewell | southwest
  7. 7. 7 Consumer: The economic downturn has caused a change in consumer traveling habits. Consumers are postponing trips, waiting for fair sales, picking less expensive travel destinations, or are not traveling at all.viii Consumers are also unhappy about the extra fees imposed by most Airlines, but many are willing to give up the services that were once considered standard if it means lower fares.ix Southwest’s consumers spend time online. Approximately 78 percent of the company’s consumers book their flights on Southwest’s website. Southwest consumers also have higher index numbers in the heaviest quintile of Internet usage. whitney sewell | southwest
  8. 8. 8 Competitors: Southwest Airlines’ major competitors are JetBlue, Delta, United, Continental, and American. JetBlue JetBlue flew onto the scene in 1999. They are currently a major airline that flies to 60 cities in 12 countries. They are heavy users of social media and allow consumers to check one free bag on each flight. The company has one numerous awards including “Top Low Cost Airlines for Customer Satisfaction,” “Most Eco-Friendly,” and “Best Inflight Entertainment.”x They currently have 1,500,035 Twitter followers, one of JetBlue’s Tweeters was up against Christi Day from Southwest for PR People Award’s Tweeter of the Year (Christi won). The company has 61,450 Facebook fans and is also on Flickr. Delta Airlines Since its merger with Northwest in 2008, Delta Airlines has become the world’s largest airline. They currently fly to 355 cities in 64 countries around the world.xi Delta currently has 15,481 Twitter followers and has not updated since June. They do have a popular YouTube channel and had a video go viral last year of a Northwest plane painted in Delta colors. United United flies to 1,071 destinations in 171 countries worldwide (that includes partner airlines from around the world). They currently have 42,349 Twitter followers and 12,010 fans on a very inactive Facebook page. United faced some major public relations issues after a musician’s YouTube video featuring a song about his negative experience with United titled “United Breaks Guitars” went viral. whitney sewell | southwest
  9. 9. 9 American Airlines American serves 250 cities in 40 countries. They currently have 19,678 Twitter followers and 37,742 Facebook fans. They recently used Facebook to ask customers to name their new fare-finder program. The new name has not yet been release. American goes out of its way to cater to minority groups. One section of its website is dedicated to the travel needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Within the last year, they launched Black Atlas, a site dedicated to the travel needs of the African American community. The site is promoted through magazine advertisements. whitney sewell | southwest
  10. 10. 10 Southwest Airlines was quick to embrace advertising through social media by implementing a social media strategy in 2006 . Paula Berg, Manager of Emerging Media at Southwest Airlines, said in a recent interview, “Southwest was made for social mediaxii.” She pointed to the company’s focus on customer communication, encouragement of employees to be themselves, and freedom to try social media as key reasons why Southwest has been so successful in the digital world. Southwest Airlines’ uses the following forms of social media: Table 2: Southwest Airlines’ Social Media sites Social Media Address Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Southwest Twitter http://twitter.com/southwestair YouTube http://www.youtube.com/nutsaboutsouthwest Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/nutsaboutsouthwest LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/companies/southwest-airlines Blog http://www.blogsouthwest.com whitney sewell | southwest
  11. 11. 11 Facebook Southwest currently has 97,121 Facebook fans. The Facebook page is run by two members of Southwest’s Emerging Media team. They update the page with links to articles about Southwest or the blog, questions aimed at their consumers, and discussion topics. Currently, the page features 173 discussion topics with 1,032 posts by 915 people. Southwest Airlines recently launched a video contest through Facebook related to the “bags fly free” concept. The contest asked people to submit a video stating what they would do for $100. The winner received $100. Twitter Southwest Airlines current has 911,807 Twitter followers and grows by approximately 7,000 followers each dayxiii. A new post is made at least once per day, and the majority are directed towards a Twitter user or include a link to an outside site. Southwest’s Twitter and blog use have been used as case studies in multiple marketing publications and blogs. YouTube Southwest posts at least one video each week through its YouTube site. The videos range from spotlighting employees to the latest Southwest commercial. Twitter and the blog often link back to these videos. They currently have 45,995 channel views (which not the same as video views), 150 videos, and 944 subscribers. whitney sewell | southwest
  12. 12. 12 LinkedIn Southwest Airlines’ LinkedIn profile connects with 4,216 employees. Blog Southwest Airlines’ blog “Nuts About Southwest” serves as a hub between traditional blog posts, YouTube videos, and Flickr photographs. Approximately 30 employees are involved with Southwest Airlines’ blog. Blog posts feature interesting things that happen on Southwest flights (such as a birth), Southwest news (new destinations), or interesting information about the company or its employees. The blog boasts 70,000 unique visitors each month and was the winner of the 2008 PR News Platinum PR award for blogsxiv. whitney sewell | southwest
  13. 13. 13 MediaMark Reporter shows Southwest Airlines’ consumers with the following characteristics are more likely to fly with Southwest:  Women  Graduated college  Ages 25 – 34 or 45 – 64  Work in Professional Occupations or Management, Business, and Finance  Make over $150,000 annually  Live in the western United States  Are heavy users of the Internet. They check email often, visit IMDB.com, NBC.com, About.com, Facebook.com, Flickr.com, Classmates.com, Myspace.com, and YouTube.com, news websites, sports websites, and travel booking websites. These characteristics may be due to business travelers. Many of Southwest’s consumers also travel for leisure. Southwest highlights a MommyBlogger on their company blog, which shows that Southwest targets groups other than whitney sewell | southwest
  14. 14. 14 business professionals. Southwest’s television commercials also feature primarily male employees, which may mean they are targeting men. Virtually, Southwest reaches consumers in every age group at every stage of life. Southwest already has a dynamic media presence for Generation X and Baby Boomers. Because of this, the social media recommendations in this plan target the following:  Women  Generation Y: ages 18 – 35  Professional Occupations  Make $20,000 - $60,000 annually  Prioritize price when deciding which airline to use  Live in the United States  Are heavy users of Internet and social media whitney sewell | southwest
  15. 15. 15 This campaign aims to supplement Southwest Airlines current “Grab your Bags. It’s On,” campaign by creating an active Facebook, Twitter, and blog presence between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2010 that promotes Southwest Airlines’ “Bags fly free” policy to female members of Generation Y. This campaign also seeks to increase Southwest Airlines’ social media traffic from Generation Y by 5 percent and bookings by 3 percent. whitney sewell | southwest
  16. 16. 16 This campaign will continue Southwest Airlines’ overall positioning strategy by reminding consumers that Southwest Airlines strives for total customer satisfaction, whether that means better price, time management, customer service, destination options, or having more fun. Southwest Airlines aims to be at the top of a consumer’s mind when determining who to choose for domestic air travel. whitney sewell | southwest
  17. 17. 17 This campaign will utilize the following social media venues:  Facebook o 350 million active usersxv o 50 percent log on at least once per day o Most popular social media site in the U.Sxvi. o Average user spends 55 minutes on Facebook each day o Average user becomes a fan of 2 Pages each month o 70% of Facebook users engage with applications each month  Twitter o Estimated to have 18 million users by the end of 2009xvii o Grew 1,551 percent between June 2008 and June 2009xviii o Popular with bloggers and women o Already has an active Southwest presence  Blog o 66 percent (64 million people) of America’s Internet users read blogsxix o Popular among women o Easy extension of Southwest’s current blog whitney sewell | southwest
  18. 18. 18 This campaign is designed with an objective/task budget distribution method. The budget breakdown is as follows:  Add one additional employee to focus exclusively on reaching Generation Y. o $45,000 total employee expenses o $40,000 salary o $5,000 benefits  Award the contest winner with a 5-day fully paid vacation to the Southwest destination of their choice. o $5,000 total contest expenses o $2,500 hotel expenses o $2,000 dining expenses o $1,000 entertainment expenses o $500 flight expenses  Total: $50,000 whitney sewell | southwest
  19. 19. 19 The overall social media objective for this campaign will be to combine the “bags fly free” concept from the television campaign with Southwest Airlines’ current social media interactions while catering to the target market. More specifically, this campaign aims to achieve the following by June 30, 2010:  Encourage 50,000 Facebook users to take the Facebook “What bag are you?” quiz.  Find 10,000 new Twitter followers.  Receive 25,000 unique visitors to the Bag Blog.  Increase traffic to Southwest Airlines’ main booking site by 5 percent. whitney sewell | southwest
  20. 20. 20 The campaign’s strategy revolves around the “bags fly free” concept. Through social media, Southwest Airlines will invite consumers to meet “The Bags” and to enter a contest where they can win a free fully paid 5-day vacation to the Southwest Airlines destination of their choice. Social media will also be used to remind the target market that bags fly free and to direct members of the target market to the Southwest Airlines website. Each social media venue, as well as Southwest Airlines’ main website, will be featured on each of the other social media venues. The specific uses of each social media venue are described in the following paragraphs. “Your bag flies free. Why Shouldn’t You?” The “Your bag flies free. Why shouldn’t you?” contests is open to U.S. residents over the age of 18 and lets Facebook and Twitter users enter the contest up to 4 times. The winner will be selected at random and will win a 5-day all-expenses- paid vacation to the Southwest Airlines destination of their choice. Users can enter the contest on Facebook by taking the “Which bag are you?” quiz or by adding the “Where has your bag flown for free?” application. Twitter users can enter the contest by featuring “Southwest Bags” Twitter profile as their “Follow Friday” choice or by sending their Twitter followers to “The Bag Blog.” “The Bag Blog” “The Bag Blog” is a blog that will be linked to the traditional “Nuts About Southwest” blog, but will feature “The Bags.” whitney sewell | southwest
  21. 21. 21 “The Bags” are four bag characters that will describe their experiences while flying for free in “The Bag Blog.” Each bag will blog about the Southwest employees they encounter, other bags they meet, and about the destinations to which they travel. “The Bags” are: Michelle’s bag. This laptop bag travels with her busy professional owner. Michelle’s bag travels to New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other major cities, but calls Baltimore home. Michelle’s bag is a no-nonsense negotiator who wouldn’t dream of traveling on airlines where she couldn’t fly free. Scott’s bag. This backpack travels with his adventure-seeking owner. Scott’s bag travels to Denver, Sacramento, Phoenix, and Providence, but he calls Chicago home. Scott’s bag is a thrill-seeking, ready-for-anything kind of bag who likes the flying free gives him extra money to spend on more important things – like an extra day’s ski pass. Amanda’s bag. This colorful bag travels with her social butterfly owner. Amanda’s bag travels to Dallas, Seatlle, St. Louis, and Boston visiting family and friends, but calls Oklahoma home. Amanda’s bag loves to fly free because she can even bring a bag friend along. whitney sewell | southwest
  22. 22. 22 Mark’s bag. This practical bag travels with his family man owner. Mark’s bag travels to Orlando, Houston, Virginia Beach, and Houston on family vacations, but calls Kansas City home. Mark ‘s bag accompanies a lot of bags to keep up with his growing family, so flying free saves a lot of money for souvenirs. Facebook “The Bags” will be the emphasis of a Facebook quiz titled “Which bag are you?”. Facebook users will take the quiz as a fun way to find out which of the four bags they primarily identify with and also to gain an entry into the “Your bag flies free. Why shouldn’t you?” contest. There will also be a Facebook application called “Where have your bags flown for free?” that lets users share on their Facebook page where in the U.S. they have visited. Both taking the quiz and adding the application would request the user’s name, date of birth, city, state, zip code, phone number, and email address in order to gain consumer information, as well as serve as the contact information for the contest. Both the quiz and application will be integrated into Southwest Airlines’ current Facebook page. Twitter “The Bags” will share snippets of their experiences and alert followers to new blog posts through the Twitter handle “Southwest Bags.” The bags will engage in conversations with their followers about the followers travel destinations, whitney sewell | southwest
  23. 23. 23 experiences, and lives. When a follower enters the aforementioned contest, a direct message will be sent to them directing them to a website where they can enter their contact information. The site will be set up so that information for an applicant cannot be entered more than twice. “Southwest Bags” will also be promoted through Southwest Airlines’ current Twitter page, as well as through Facebook and the blog. whitney sewell | southwest
  24. 24. 24 This campaign will run from January 1, 2010 until June 30, 2010 in order to remind consumers about Southwest Airlines as they are considering their summer travel plans.  Facebook: A new discussion topic will be posted to Facebook’s users every Friday and daily interaction will continue. The application and quiz will launch January 1, 2010.  Twitter: Each bag will post a comment about their travels at least once per week for a total of 4 travel-related bag posts per week. Daily interaction will occur between the bags and their followers.  Blog: The bags will rotate blog posts. Two bags will post blogs per week beginning January 3, 2010, for a total of 52 blog posts covering 52 different cities out of the 67 cities that Southwest covers.  Contest: Consumers may enter the contest up to 4 times. The winner will be chosen on May 1, 2010, and their vacation must be taken by May 1, 2011. whitney sewell | southwest
  25. 25. 25 To measure the effectiveness of the campaign, we will track the following success metrics:  Number of Facebook users that take the “What bag are you?” Facebook application quiz  Number of contest participants  Click-through rates to the Southwest website and bag blog  Brand Buzz through tools such as Social Mention  Number of interactions with Facebook users  Number of unique and repeat visitors to the blog  Blog traffic sources  Website traffic sources whitney sewell | southwest
  26. 26. 26 Endnotes i Corridore, Jim. “Industry Surveys: Airlines.” Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantage. 18 June 2009. ii Southwest Airlines. “We weren’t just airborne yesterday.” <http://www.southwest.com/about_swa/airborne.html>. iii Corridore, Jim. “Industry Surveys: Airlines.” Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantage. 18 June 2009. p. 8 iv “Southwest Airlines: Business Summary.” Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantage. v Corridore, Jim. “Industry Surveys: Airlines.” Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantage. 18 June 2009. p. 13 vi Johnson, Julie. “Southwest Airlines’ strategy for growth is in the bag.” Los Angeles Times. 2009. < http://www.latimes.com/travel/sns-trvrail2-wk4- nov11,0,5298025.story>. vii “Travel Ad Spending Rose in ’08.” Brandweek. Nielsen Business Media. 24 June 2009. <http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/esearch/e3i772f176924f862d4c1282824b4e37b03.> viii Corridore, Jim. “Industry Surveys: Airlines.” Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantage. 18 June 2009. p. 1 ix Corridore, Jim. “Industry Surveys: Airlines.” Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantage. 18 June 2009. p. 5. x JetBlue. “Awards and Accolades.” <http://www.jetblue.com/about/ourcompany/history/about_ourhistory.html>. xi Delta. “Delta Stats and Facts. <http://www.delta.com/about_delta/corporate_information/delta_stats_facts/index.jsp>. xii “Southwest Airlines’ success secrets on social media revealed by Paula Berg.” SimpliFlying.com. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aw2FqzjM104&feature=player_embedded>. xiii Ahles, Andrea. “Airlines’ social-media use takes off.” McClatchy Newspapers. <http://www.dispatch.com/life/content/business/stories/2009/11/01/wrk_airlines_social_media_.ART_ART_11-01-09_D3_LVFH7SQ.html.> xiv “Social meda marketing case studies from Carnival and Southwest.” Hotelmarketing.com. 26 Jan. 2009. < http://www.hotelmarketing.com/index.php/article/social_media_marketing_case_studies_from_carnival_and_southwest/>. whitney sewell | southwest
  27. 27. 27 xv “Statistics.” Facebook Press Room. <http://www.facebook.com/press.php#/press/info.php?statistics>. xvi Griner, David. “Everything You Need to Know About Social Media.” The Social Path. Luckie & Companie. Slide 9. <http://www.thesocialpath.com/2009/09/everything-you-need-to-know-about-social-media.html>. xvii Ostrow, Adam. “18 Million Twitter Users by End of 2009.” Mashable. 14 Sept. 2009. <http://mashable.com/2009/09/14/twitter-2009-stats/>. xviii Griner, David. “Everything You Need to Know About Social Media.” The Social Path. Luckie & Companie. Slide 62. xix Griner, David. “Everything You Need to Know About Social Media.” The Social Path. Luckie & Companie. Slide 17. whitney sewell | southwest

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