Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Business Arrogance

I have a mixed opinion of "business thinking" and its many adherents (presumably anyone with an MBA). On one hand, I have a lot of respect for people that can get products into the marketplace in a timely manner despite any lingering imperfections in the products that the designers and engineers might otherwise deem unacceptable. On the other hand, the arrogance of executives and other like-minded business-thinking people can often be very annoying. Take this example of a JetBlue executive taking his company's brand reputation for granted, vi Mark Hurst at Good Experience:

Some analysts have voiced concerns that this might not be the best strategic move; here's the reply, an instant classic:

Edward Barnes, JetBlue's chief financial officer, says the airline isn't worried. "You can't underestimate the brand," he said.

You can't underestimate the brand. It raises an obvious question: What brand?

Mark goes on to clearly illustrate how JetBlue's service has deterioriated, and I agree with him that, with the attitude of its CFO, it's only a matter of time before the brand's image begins suffering serious damage. Maintaining a positive brand image (by creating a positive user experience) seems to require constant vigilance lest suffer a regression to the mean at the hands of business arrogance.

Image from here.

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