Does Your Brand Have a Halo?

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A brand halo is the goodwill extended by the public to organizations who take steps to develop a positive reputation. Brand halos serve as virtual shields to protect a brand in the event of a crisis according to Coombs & Holladay in their 2006 article, “Unpacking the halo effect: Reputation and crisis management.”

Quick Case Study: Southwest Airlines

On Tuesday, April 17, Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 bound for Dallas was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after experiencing engine failure twenty minutes into flight. For the first time in the company’s 47-year history, Southwest experienced an on-board passenger fatality due to an accident, yet the public response has been, for the most part, overwhelmingly positive.

From its Texan-based hospitality to flight flexibility and employee perks, Southwest Airlines has a customer following second to none. That brand affinity provided Southwest with an opportunity to withstand an unforeseen event – one that could have been devastating had a different airline been the responsible carrier.

Southwest has worked for years to develop its brand reputation. Often referred to as the LUV airline, Southwest has established a cult-like following among its customers. This loyal following bolstered Southwest Airlines’ reputation on and after April 17.

Quick Contrast: Allegiant Airlines

Look at the posts below regarding Allegiant. How resilient is this brand given the public sentiment shown?

        

The contrast between Southwest and Allegiant is fairly stark. For Allegiant to survive its next crisis, the time to polish its halo is now.

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