As a brand marketer, I realize folks like me probably overuse references to Apple and Southwest Airlines when citing brand case studies. And just when I thought I was a bit beyond that, out comes another great article about Southwest given the recent passing of company founder, Herb Kelleher.

The article in the Harvard Business Review, “The Legacy of Herb Kelleher, Cofounder of Southwest Airlines,” once again reminded me of the core tenets that makes Southwest a great brand. Early in my career I was fortunate enough to hear Mr. Kelleher in person at a business luncheon (yes, he had a full glass of Wild Turkey close at hand) and shared stories on the founding of the company. Even then I remember him talking about the basic elements that made the company great then and now. It’s certainly not rocket science, but so many companies tend to make things a bit too complicated.

Here are the basic elements that almost all great brands have in common – certainly at Southwest:

  • Simplicity and Consistency:  “In an age of disruption and transformation, simplicity and consistency matter most.”
  • Culture – “the only platform that can sustain and renew your brand.”

You can read the article. It’s a nice tribute to Herb and again reminds us that simple ideas executed consistently is a great formula for success.