For any business that isn’t pure e-commerce, your employees are your best asset. The bank teller, the receptionist, the sales clerk, etc. – without them doing their job well, you are sunk.
But because this is true for all businesses, employees can’t be your differentiator (exceptions for the legal sex trade).
Way back in the day, we told you here how nutty it was for Nationwide Insurance to pay renowned director Errol Morris a sh*tload to make “our employees care” TV spots. The company pulled the ads off air within just a few months.
We also told you here how Ameriprise squandered its marketing dollars running “our financial advisors care” TV ads. Again, this marketer killed the ineffectual campaign soon after.
And, yes, if you’re really a loyal reader, you’ll recall that we updated this whole topic here.
So what to make of Virgin Atlantic’s new “multimillion-dollar” ad campaign, themed "Flying in the Face of Ordinary," that “celebrates the talents of Virgin Atlantic's employees”? (how’s THAT for writing like Stuart Elliott…hah!)
Simple. See Richard Branson, founder and President of Virgin Atlantic. His outsize passion for the soft skills has led him to this conclusion:
“Our staff hold the keys to the future of Virgin Atlantic; they work so hard…”
As we intimated in paragraph #2 above, replace “Virgin Atlantic” with any company name, and you have formulated a statement of fact.
This is simply “feel good” stuff, an inward-looking view. Branson goes on to say, “We are delighted to dedicate this new advert to [our staff].”
Wouldn’t it be better to dedicate your adverts to your customers?
We guess this is what happens when you spend too much time at your desk, a feature this week from the ever-more cartoonish “Thought Leaders” series on LinkedIn. Richard Branson’s response to “Where I Work” ?
“My most regular working place is on Necker, where I have a wonderful view of the ocean…[for] the MaiTai event on Necker…We discussed new technology and shared some innovative ideas – as well as a lot of kitesurfing.”
The reference to “Necker” is, of course, Necker Island, Sir Richard’s 74-acre private island in and among the British Virgin (there’s that word, again!) Islands. An island so extraordinarily small that it can’t land Virgin Atlantic’s ordinary planes.