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The Social Employee: How Great Companies Make Social Media Work by Mark Burgess, Cheryl Burgess

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CHAPTER 9How the Southwest Way Creates Competitive Advantage

When we asked Dana Williams, Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications at Southwest Airlines, whether her company was a social brand, we could almost hear her shrug her shoulders on the other end of the line. “We’ve always been a social brand,” she said matter-of-factly. “We just evolved and have more channels to do it now.” This confidence, this absolute certainty of brand mission, is apparent in everything the company does. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that Southwest Airlines has helped lead the social employee charge into the twenty-first century.

The company’s earliest incarnation came in 1967, when Air Southwest Co. was incorporated under founders Rollin ...

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