Company: Southwest Airlines
Timeframe: January 2004 - Spring 2005
To be alive in the airline industry today is no small feat; to be thriving in it is a heroic accomplishment. Bankruptcy news has plagued the likes of Delta,
Independence Air and United Airlines, but Southwest Airlines has ducked that trend and enjoyed continued profitability. To further promote its success, the
domestic carrier - known largely for its affordable prices - teamed up with search engine optimization company/PR firm SEO-PR (San Francisco) in 2004 and instigated a
measurement juggernaut: linking online press release dissemination to sales via major search engines, including Yahoo News, Google News and AOL
News. The result: an estimated $2.5 million in ticket sales generated solely from online releases.
But the distance between points A and B was not so easily traversed, as is often the case with measurement challenges. Greg Jarboe, CEO of SEO-PR, and his team of
practitioners enabled optimized press releases to precipitate measurable sales results for Southwest through a five-step campaign that hinged on a history lesson. Harold
Lasswell, a proprietary PR practitioner from the World War II era, developed a model of communications that Jarboe edited for this new-media age where search engines are channels
of communications: Who seeks what in which channel from whom with what effects?
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