Executive Rewind: Creating Positive Impressions

The headline on CNBC read: “Spirit Airlines CEO: We cancel fewer flights than others”

This one bugs me. It’s just not the kind of headline I’d like to see for a client. It accentuates the negative. It has a child-like tone to it, sort of like saying “I’m not as bad as him!”

Canceled flights are anathema to people. Even saying the phrase while trying to make a positive impression can be counter-productive.

The issue came up in a CNBC interview with Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza regarding weather delays during holiday travel:

Quotes, or sound bites, can influence headlines, the tone of a story and, therefore, impressions. That’s one reason why I lean so heavily on positive, honest messaging.

Baldanza—or, for that matter, any airline executive or spokesperson—should be prepared to talk about cancelations in a positive way.

For instance, Baldanza could’ve made the same point by saying: “While we diligently stay on top of weather conditions, we make every effort to get our customers to where they’re going safely, and on time. As a result, Spirit has a very competitive flight completion record.”

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