Delta Air Lines CMCO Shares A Flight Plan for Uncertain Times

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Tim Mapes, CMCO of Delta Air Lines has evolved his role many times over his 29 years with the company. Most recently, bringing Marketing and Communications together onto one team. As Tim said, it is just as important to think about branding from the inside as it is on the outside.

Tim explained, “Ultimately it’s really what are our people are doing every day that really brings the brand to life. And if we don’t have the hearts and the minds of our employees, we don’t have anything.”

For 2020, that couldn’t be more true—and for 2021 and beyond, imperative for all brand leaders to embrace. The challenge often lies in disparate ownership, but even if a CMO doesn’t “own” internal communications, their seat at the C-Suite table certainly enables them to influence messaging and execution as a critical representation of brand values, purpose and authenticity.

So how does Tim navigate uncertain times? Well, believe it or not, Tim and the entire Delta Air Lines team (75,000 people in 60 countries) look to their own flight plan, which charts their course using their core values as beacons. One of their core values that was critical over the past year and will guide their future is “Harness Innovation and Agility”. This applies to every action from new customer benefits to embracing and activating sustainability measures.

Tim described how the company just last year made the commitment to be the first global carbon neutral airline in the world, which would be at least a one billion dollar commitment over the next 10 years. Tim noted, “It’s a hell of a challenge” but went on to explain how the company continues to fund, support and truly invest in sustainability.

“It isn’t just that it’s altruism. … People will choose brands that best reflect their values and we want to head the list.”

And with another one of their beacons being “living our values”, Tim is a shining example in sharing how he leads his teams and the advice he offers any one trying to build their career. He offered this advice to marketers today: “Make sure you’re in a place where their values reflect your values.”

I could not agree more.

This episode is also available on SpotifyiHeartRadio, and Apple Podcasts.