Southwest Airlines is a household name in the U.S. The airline dominates the market and specifically targets the low-cost, domestic flights segment of the air travel market. Known for their catchy and humorous taglines like, “Love Is Still Our Field,” “Just Plane Smart,” “The Somebody Else Up There Who Loves You,” “You’re Now Free to Move About the Country,” “THE Low Fare Airline,” “Grab your bag, It’s on!”, “Welcome Aboard.” and quite recently, “Low fares. Nothing to hide. That’s TransFarency!”, the red-blue-and-yellow planes are a globally recognized symbol.
Southwest Airlines’ success as a well-established, low-cost, commercial airline is not surprising when one looks at their sheer commitment to following their mission statement and vision statement, which are centered towards the goal of being a leading, global player in air travel industry. This exemplary commitment has contributed greatly to their success.
Their corporate cultural difference sets it apart from the herd and allows it to brand itself as a cost-effective alternative to its competitors. The mission statement and vision statement set the pathway for the company to grow globally and explore new markets in the air travel industry.
Southwest’s Mission, Vision and Purpose Statement
A company’s mission statement, vision statement, and purpose statement are important from an investor’s and customer’s point of view. They encapsulate the purpose of the company, what they stand for, and their strategy to attract and keep customers.
Every component is equally important since a company’s mission statement, vision statement, and purpose statement serve a unique and essential purpose.
Mission Statement Of Southwest Airlines
A mission statement is how the company tries to explain its purpose. A good mission statement is always short, mostly a single sentence or a short paragraph. It serves some key functions, like outlining the goals and space of a company in the industry both for its consumers and investors, helping the company stay on course and make their decisions accordingly.
It helps the company’s employees remain focused on a particular goal defined by its core values and motivates them to find creative ways of improving productivity. If not done right, often by setting unrealistic expectations and goals, it can end up discouraging the workers.
Southwest Airlines, understanding the importance and power of a good mission statement, have chosen to summarize their defining goals in the following words: dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.
Purpose Statement Of Southwest Airlines
A purpose statement summarizes a company’s purpose of existence, how it should conduct its business, and how it affects the people it is serving. Purpose statements are another tool that can help companies reach their goals and missions. They keep the employees motivated, encourage them to reach the company’s goals, establish their loyalty, and most importantly, make the company stand out from its competition.
The following phrase encompasses Southwest’s purpose of conducting business in a concise one-liner: to connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.
Vision Statement Of Southwest Airlines
A company’s long-term goals are communicated by its vision statement. The vision statement gives an idea of what the company aims to achieve in the time frame of 10 years or longer. It shows what the company will look like in the future and sets a framework for planning and decision-making.
A good vision statement is forward-looking, realistic, inspirational, and reflects a company’s cultural values. Southwest Airlines’ vision statement does just that and defines its vision in the following phrase: to be the world’s most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline.
Southwest’s Mission, Vision, and Purpose Statement: Analysis
Here are some key takeaways from the mission, vision, and purpose statement of Southwest Airlines.
1. Talks About Customer Satisfaction, Not Just the Product
The air travel industry is not just transporting travelers from point A to point B. The entire experience from purchasing the ticket to checking bags to waiting at the terminal to actually travel in an airplane. Every step of this process is an opportunity for the airline service to distinguish itself from its competitors.
Customer service is essential in the air travel industry, where every player in the market is taking their customers to their destinations. So the only thing that the companies can do to be more competitive is to improve the experience of one’s travel.
Southwest’s mission statement acknowledges the value of great customer service. The emphasis is on the ingredients of great customer service, which are a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.
Although the tagline is short, simple, and talks about an important aspect of their business, it says nothing about the service itself. The mission statement is pretty generic and doesn’t communicate that they are in the air travel business.
2. The Mission Statement Emphasizes The Core Values
Earlier in this article, we discussed the importance of businesses having well-defined core values to guide their decision-making and corporate strategies.
Southwest Airlines is set apart by the competition because they have the most productive employees in the industry. These employees have an impressive record of delivering the best customer service as defined by their organizational objectives.
The exceptional performance of Southwest’s employees is only made possible by the company’s core values of having a Warrior Spirit, a Servant’s Heart, and creating a Fun-LUVing attitude surrounding the employee’s dignity and respect. These values act as a guiding principle for the employees whenever they are on their job. The objective is to serve the customers with the highest quality of customer service.
3. Gives Every Employee an Equal Sense of Responsibility
The mission statement promotes equality as it establishes a common purpose amongst all the employees regardless of their rank. It doesn’t specify whom it applies to, so the duty to provide excellent customer service and follow the listed values falls on everyone, from the frontline workers to the CEO.
This sense of equality promotes the idea that no matter who is dealing with a customer, they are representing the company and therefore must make sure they are demonstrating the company’s core values by how they behave around them.
4. The Aim Is to Bring People Together
The company’s purpose statement talks about connecting people to what is important in their life. When they talk about connecting people, the company’s service, in the minds of customers, becomes more than just about traveling from one destination to another. It becomes emotional and personal since the company recognizes the importance of people traveling long distances to meet their loved ones.
5. Air Travel Service Is Just a Mean to a Greater End
When the company talks about connecting people in its purpose statement, the main aim of the company then becomes not to provide an air travel service, but to provide means for you to meet your loved ones. The air travel service itself becomes not the main service, but a process to achieve the actual goal of connecting people.
After deciding that the aim is to bring people together, the next question is how the company intends to do it, and the answer is in the purpose statement; through friendly, reliable, low-cost air travel.
This statement also differentiates it from its competitors. When a person thinks about air travel, they imagine a complicated, stressful and exhausting process. With all the complications involved, friendly staff can make a world of difference, and that’s what Southwest Airlines promises. Also, air travel is a complex endeavor, and when there are so many things that can go wrong, the promise of reliability is everything.
A company ensuring that they will do their best to ensure you reach your destination in time without any mishap is a huge relief. The competition in the air travel industry is cut-throat. So any company that can promise the best deal has a significant edge. Southwest’s identity is low-cost travel, and it is so paramount to their goals that it is also a part of their purpose statement.
6. Personalizes Every Customer’s Experience
Southwest Airlines follows a strictly customer-centric model. Everything from their advertisement to the mission statement to the product itself; is designed specifically keeping the customer in mind.
The company realizes that all customers have individual needs and tries its best to cater to all of them. Southwest Airlines brands itself as a company that prioritizes the customer’s comfort over anything else.
7. For the Customers
One thing to keep in mind, while coming up with a mission and vision statement, is to know the audience. Some businesses come up with these statements only keeping the investor’s point of view in mind, signaling that the company has the potential to be profitable.
Southwest’s mission statement and vision statement stand out because they are for both the investors and the customers. The company wants to retain its customer base and therefore promises them the best customer service.
8. For the Investors as Well
A customer-centric model works, yes. However, the business end of things is equally important. Southwest Airlines places equal importance on the investor’s needs as it does on the customers. By ensuring that it delivers on its promises, the company guarantees profitability.
Furthermore, there is an emphasis on expansion and efficiency. These are the key ingredients to get investors that put their money in the company for the long-term. Southwest’s strength lies in the fact that it is perfectly able to juggle providing a valuable service at the best price while maintaining profitability.
9. It Aims for The Stars
Southwest aims high, and although unrealistic goals can backfire at times, the company’s success shows that the formula works. The company’s leadership and organizational capability enables aiming for the top and not settling for the second-best position.
10. All Statements Go Hand in Hand
All three statements are coherent. Although they address different aspects of corporate culture and strategy, the overarching themes of forward-thinking, global expansion, excellent customer service, and cost-effectiveness are there. This alignment makes sure that the strategy and decision-making of the company remain consistent and coherent. The repetition of the company’s core values also ensures that these values are inculcated in all its employees.
Whenever you do business with a company, one way to get a rough idea about the quality of their service is to pay close attention to their mission and purpose statement to understand why exactly they are in the business and how committed they are to their goals. Southwest Airlines is in the business to provide you with the greatest customer service at the best prices, cultivating a loyal customer base.