Inside Out E-Column: Aligning Employee Engagement with Marketing Communications

A Holiday “Miracle” Worth Watching Again

A few holiday seasons ago, I posted an Inside Out blog with a link to a video clip about the Westjet Christmas “miracle” that got more than 64 million YouTube views worldwide. I got such a wonderful response from the readers of that column that I decided to post it again this year. It’s truly a heartfelt tribute and powerful reminder of what can happen when companies embrace my mission “to create high-performing cultures of trust where people love to work and customers love doing business.”

An engagement “miracle.”
T’was the night before Christmas. That timeless phrase tells true believers they are about to hear one of the most beloved holiday poems of all time. It first appeared in a Troy, New York newspaper in 1823. Recently, it took on fresh new meaning with a Christmas “miracle” that was performed by employees of the Canadian airline WestJet for passengers on two of their flights.

The story has been captured in a wonderful 5-minute video clip that is a must-see for everyone who’s grown a bit cynical about the capacity for any business to show it has a warm heart, a creative spirit and a sense of humor. It’s also a refreshing reminder that truly compelling marketing requires effective “story-doing” and “story-listening” along with well-crafted “story-telling” if you want to foster greater employee engagement and customer loyalty over the long haul. When it’s done right, the story tells itself – as the 27+ million (now 49+ million!) YouTube views attest.

On the Landes & Associates website home page, we have a couple of personally meaningful phrases:

Aligning employee engagement & marketing communications

Creating high-performing cultures of trust where people love to work and 
customers love doing business.

Those two phrases go hand-in-hand, and they speak to our belief that the ultimate definition of marketing is “relationship building” – inside and out. It goes beyond the typical notion that it’s mainly about slick advertising campaigns driven by persuasion, positioning and targeted messaging. Those are important tools, but with thoughtful “story-doing” and “story-listening” they can leveraged to produce far greater impact.

Some cynics have scoffed at the WestJet “miracle” as a cheap publicity stunt. Perhaps, but take a look at the faces of the people in the clip, including the WestJet employees, especially the one at 4:29. From a financial investment standpoint, it was indeed cheap – it cost WestJet about $30,000. But seeing the expressions of the passengers and employees who served them is priceless.

Have a blessed and joyful holiday season!

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