THE BLOG
12/29/2014 02:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The JetBlue Blues

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For 2015, a new concept in customer service and personalized experiences.

You go shopping for clothes...

You can go basic and buy something that really doesn't fit, because it's been cut narrow to save you money, if you don't mind the tightness; but you can pay more and buy one with the extra material that fits OK, but only if you want to... to add to your choices; buttons and zippers are not included, unless you pay extra... but only if you want to... and wait! There is more: Why pay extra to buy folded, clean, bagged clothing? What a concept! Unless you want to. So bottom line is, this brilliant new concept is all about you! It's "your choice" -- flexible, convenient, cost-effective; and by the way, no doubt you will upgrade...

And Wall Street loves it -- businesses are "overly brand conscious and customer focused." Let the customers focus on themselves and anyway, as mergers fuel big pay days, brands will merge out of existence.

Invest now!!!

Needless to say, you think I'm ranting or still fogged out by too much eggnog and too many Bloody Marys... were that I was.

Frankly I have shamelessly "para-plagiarized" a must-read article by Tim Wu in the December 26 New Yorker titled "Why Airlines Want to Make You Suffer," brought to my attention by my good buddy and infinite source of wisdom, John Gerzema.

I seriously urge you to read it, because, in my opinion, it goes way beyond the typically miserable travel experiences we have all had and cuts to the heart of what is wrong with the way we view business today, and the role of capital markets.

I'd also extrapolate that the same focus on institutional profits to the exclusion of all else is what continues to drive Digibabble and, in my opinion, true world-changing development in applied technology, and frankly in new technology as well.

As Wu says, "when an airline like JetBlue is punished for merely trying to treat all of its passengers decently, something isn't right."

And clearly something isn't right.

Much has been written about brands meaning less in the digital world -- RUBBISH. The joke is that the same folks who tell you that shamelessly flaunt and promote brands themselves; in fact, I'd argue that brands have never been more important.

In the end, Wall Street, and clearly anyone who buys into the notion that businesses are "overly brand conscious and customer focused," is overlooking the most important element of branding, the one that will drive brand value (for some) long after others are forgotten. Listen:

"Great companies that build an enduring brand have an emotional relationship with customers that has no barrier. And that emotional relationship is on the most important characteristic, which is trust." -- Howard Schultz

Trust -- not advertising, not promotion, not marketing, not pricing. TRUST.

And we have way too little of it in our world today.

My resolution for 2015: Work on trust, and help my friends and clients do the same -- trust removes all barriers, but you have to earn it, work hard at it, believe in it.

Or you invest in the new personalization... purposefully bad...
What do you think?