Explore the world's #1 largest database of ideas and innovations, with 402,975 inspiring examples.
Trend Reports
Discover why 1,052 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Join 341,271 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Consumer Insights
Uncover major shifts and emerging opportunities with our exclusive PRO research.
Trend Reports
Discover why 1,052 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Join 341,271 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Get special access to premium content, topic tracking and customizable tools through our AI-powered Dashboard.
AI + Human Methodology
Learn how Trend Hunter harnesses the power of artificial intelligence.
Enhance your innovation potential with a deeper understanding of your unique innovation archetype and how your organization benchmarks.
eLearning (NEW)
Prepare for the year's ahead with 100+ lessons, tactics, tools and frameworks with our full learning database.
Advisory & Services
Accelerate innovation and ignite disruptive thinking with our award-winning programs and research.
Trend Reports
Get fast, customized trend reports, presentations and deep dives 20x faster than traditional research.
Get started today with a free consultation, our self-serve tools, or a dedicated program.
Jeremy Gutsche
Ignite your event or virtual event with our CEO, a NY Times Bestselling Author and one of the top innovation keynote speakers.
Our Team of Speakers & Virtual Presenters
Inspire your group with our most popular speakers on innovation, trends, change and futurism.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Get in touch to learn more, ask a question or submit a tip.
About Us
Learn more about Trend Hunter and how we accelerate innovation.
Get answers to common questions about Trend Hunter.
Stay on the cutting-edge with the help of the Trend Hunter community.
Meet the team trusted by hundreds of leading businesses worldwide.
Find opportunities to accelerate your career with the #1 Trend Firm.
Catch up on noteworthy Trend Hunter news and media mentions.
Build a portfolio and put your trend-spotting abilities to the test.
Supercharge your marketing by partnering with Trend Hunter.
Visit your public portfolio and browse your past articles.
Add a Trend
Write up an article and showcase your trend-spotting skills.
My Trends
Edit your articles and see how they stack up on the leaderboards.
Edit your profile, connect your social media accounts, and more.
Add a trend, customize your dashboard, or track topics.
Future Festival
Innovation Events
Join the world's top innovators at our FREE Virtual events.
Free Webinars
During COVID-19, learn to innovate through chaos, navigate the new normal and maintain work culture from home.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Search our database of 402,975 cutting edge ideas.

Enhancing the Customer Experience (INTERVIEW)

Director, Integrated Marketing at Southwest Airlines
Gil Haddi
December 4th, 2013
Starting her 20th year at Southwest Airlines, Dana Williams explains that her expertise in marketing has revolved around integrative marketing and customer engagement, including advertising and brand marketing. A self-described "marketing Sherpa," Dana is not a solely master of one area as she workswith a variety of people in all different fields. Right now her Integrated Marketing Committee is working on collaborating messaging for everything from free live TV onboard aircraft to the new mobile app as part of an integration process that helps keep messages consistent and amplify value for customers. As Dana explained, Southwest Airlines is unique in that we only sell tickets through, not through any other third party company, cutting costs for customers and giving them the best prices and service they can count on.

Four questions with Dana Williams:

1. Do you have rituals for re-setting to be creative?

Each team has their own ritual; there isn't one that we use in particular. It really depends on the team and their goal for the specific creative challenge they are looking to solve. We don’t have a lot of parameters around our brainstorming sessions. Some of the best ideas come through collaborative brainstorming with no rules.

Ideas come from everywhere. We work in cross-functional teams on a lot of projects, so that we have a representative from each team environment on key projects. Each participant can then bring his or her expertise as well as a fresh way of looking at a challenge.

2. How do you create a culture of innovation?

By nature our culture is very people-oriented. We always put people first and everything we do is based around empowerment, so that people can feel as though they own what they’re doing. The leaders in each department are tasked with fostering that creative spirit and innovation in their team. When it comes to developing innovative ideas, creating an atmosphere for innovation is the most important focus. Our Business Acumen Team in marketing recently hosted a fun innovation session modeled after the popular TV show, 'Shark Tank.' All marketing Employees had the opportunity to sign up and present their original idea along with a strategic plan to sell why Senior Leadership should support the idea I was truly impressed by the amount of ideas that were brought forward and the huge range of influences that stemmed from the various backgrounds and job functions of the marketers that presented.

3. What are some challenges you face when innovating?

Marketing has drastically changed over the years. It's not as straight-forward as it used to be. Each marketing campaign has to be targeted and very Customer-centric. We focus on different Customer groups and it can be a challenge to manage all the data and information for each demographic while staying relevant to the brand as well as the Customer. The DNA of the marketing team has changed along with this new approach and is always adapting to changes in technology.

We have always been about the Customer (that is why we capitalize 'C' in Customer) and about being able to give the Customer what they need with value and more advanced tools. When asked about other brands that deliver great customer service, Dana mentions Apple, as it has done very well in this department and has influenced a lot of different companies across industries. Brands like Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart also influence us as they've done a great job at being global while maintaining a strong local presence focused on value.

4. How does Southwest Airlines enhance innovation in the airline industry?

We’ve always been on a different ladder than our competition. In the past 42 years we have not charged for bag fees (two bags or less), we continue to offer no change fees, open seating and have always focused on Customer service from the moment we started. We were one of the first airlines to be on the web back in 1995 and most recently the first airline to offer FREE Live TV as part of our partnership with DISH Network.

We try to innovate within our own way of doing business that is already different than everyone else’s in the industry. Many people have met their future husbands and wives on our flights because of our open seating policy! When they get to choose who they sit next to, amazing things happen! These fun memories last a lifetime.

It is important for us to connect people to what is most important in their lives, which is what we do through our friendly, reliable and low cost air travel. Everything we innovate revolves around that ethos.
References: linkedin, southwest