Down Can Be Up, Part I: Make News With No News

In a down economy, everyone is re-examining how they spend their money.

You could find yourself gaining business in these tough times if you position yourself as the best, mopping up all the customers your competitors are currently under-serving.

But only if you talk about how you can help.

Southwest Airlines hit the front page of my city newspaper’s business section today simply by saying they weren’t going to charge extra fees like all their competitors are doing (at least, not yet).

It’s not exactly news, it’s not even particularly good news, but by speaking out at a time when people are looking for ways to save money, Chief Executive Gary C. Kelly just made his company look like every traveller’s best friend.

(And, in a phrase that made me laugh out loud, he reinforced the company’s ‘maverick’ status by adding that they might consider becoming, “more like other carriers if, after thorough market research, customers told the company they did not mind paying the fees.” Yeah. That, and when hell freezes over and pigs become Southwest’s competition!)

Can you differentiate yourself from your competitors? Can you use it to get some non-news coverage, like Southwestern, or put out a special announcement to your client base? Is it time to add some content to your website or corporate blog? Maybe a direct mail piece or tip-sheet?

Keep talking up your business. Your customers are thirsting for good news.