Written by James Olney

How WestJet did deliver more than is needed

I’ve been given a task for 2015: to get bda to ‘deliver more than is needed’.

So how do we do that? And more importantly how do we do it in ways that genuinely help us and our clients?

I think ‘delivering more than is needed’ is often misinterpreted, perceived as delivering extra artwork or throwing in extra website functionality. Or reducing costs to shift the ratio of deliverables to expense.

But although a price reduction might please your budget, it isn’t what clients really want. Great customer service is of far more value.

I’m going to cover ‘deliver more than is needed’ in a later blog, but before that, I’m sharing a video from Canadian low-cost airline, WestJet, above. It’ll take a mere five, very enjoyable, minutes out of your day. And it might even change your thinking.

WestJet already had a great reputation in Canada, but over Christmas 2013 it ‘went that extra mile’. After four months’ planning and six hours of mad activity it brought smiles to the faces of 250 passengers during the season of goodwill. But this activity went far beyond that, achieving:

  • 35 million YouTube views (70 times what was hoped for)
  • 172,800 shares
  • More than 29,000 comments
  • Like-for-like sales for the same period were up 86 per cent
  • Viewed in 235 countries
  • Trended in Canada for two days

Given the results, you could cynically view it as just another way to make money. But when you consider that this is the airline with comedy flight attendants and that all 150 people involved volunteered their time because they believed in giving back to their loyal passengers, maybe your skepticism will soften.

WestJet ended up in a win-win situation. Increased sales, improved reputation and a genuine difference made to the lives of 250 people that Christmas. And to reaffirm the brand’s sincerity WestJet didn’t stop there. It continued working with Ronald McDonald House to supply free flights as publicity dwindled. The strength of WestJet’s belief trickled down from the top through to every member of staff.

However you view this campaign, you can’t argue with the way it took off. It touched the lives of 250 unsuspecting passengers and created massive, unexpected, marketing exposure for WestJet. So what made it a success? It was unexpected, it went above and beyond what those passengers thought they were getting, it truly delighted them, and possibly even made their Christmases.

Westjet delivered more than is needed.