The Power of the Brand? Ask Their Customers!

Looking to travel from the east to the west coast recently, I decided to take a look outside my normal coast-to-coast airlines United and American Airlines.

Jet Blue, with great seats and video selections, wasn’t flying around the times I needed but noticed that Virgin America was.

Having taken Virgin Atlantic for some Boston-London flights in the past, I pondered whether Virgin America was the same, or as good as (or worse than) Virgin Atlantic.

So I turned to Twitter to ask the gang if they had any thoughts. This was my Tweet:

“Thinking of taking Virgin America Boston-San Fran, any thoughts? (Have flown Virgin Atlantic, but not America)”

I started to receive some insightful and helpful comments. And then the floodgates opened.

It turned out that Virgin America (@virginamerica) re-tweeted my initial tweet to its 215,000 Twitter followers. They re-tweeted it without comment, just a plain RT. I received tweets such as:

“@chuckmartin1 pink & blue lighting instead of harsh fluorescents, nice music, cushy seats, comic safety video, sets relaxed, upbeat mood 4 flight”

“You’ll never fly anything else after you take it. Superior airline. Flying @VirginAmerica tomorrow!”

“Virgin America is the *only* way to fly. You’ll be pleasantly surp’d. No, they don’t pay me to say that (wish they did) :)”

After receiving a few of these I had to wonder if they were being sent by loyal employees of the airline. After the first 150 messages, I started to think otherwise. Here’s a small sample of the comments, as written and received:

“do it. VA rocks”

“virgin America is the best way to fly to SFO from BOS- great service”

“yes – best cross country flights possible. @VirginAmerica unquestionably better than any other airline”

@VirginAmerica I flew them a ton when going LAX > SFO a lot. Best domestic airline in US. Period.”

“Virgin America is my first choice in travel. Once you fly them, you’ll understand why.”

“absolutely loved my flight from DC to San Fran. Hassle free, comfortable and very enjoyable. Best flight experience ever!”

“we did BOS-SFO on Virgin America w/2 kids. Boston end, VA has 2 gates with own security line. 5 mins to get through, no probs”


The question is would you put your brand out there like that and take a chance on what your customers would say? Virgin America just passed along the query to its customer base and took the chance on how they would respond. Filter free, the brand tossed out the question and stepped aside.

There were only two negative comments, both stating they were based on a personal situation from the past. The rest were like those above.

Virgin America had total confidence in the power of its brand and trusted that its service is known and appreciated by its customers. They put their faith in their reputation and their service.

So if someone wanted to know about how good your products or services are, how confident would you be to pass the question along to your customers, basically telling the inquirer “ask them?”

After all the comments, I did book my coming flight on Virgin America. After thanking all for the feedback and saying I was taking their advice, I received the following tweet from Virgin America.  “@chuckmartin1 Look forward to having you onboard! Enjoy your #firsttime!”

Looking forward to seeing if their service matches the reputation.

Am guessing it will.

Chuck Martin


Chuck Martin is a New York Times business bestselling author. He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute and Director of the Center for Media Research, MediaPost Communications. His latest book is The Third Screen: Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile.