Purpose Matters: Q&A with Molly Battin, Vice President of Marketing for Delta Air Lines
Amanda Turnbull, Contributing Editor, BrandStorytelling.tv
Brand Storytelling spent time with Molly Battin, Delta Air Lines Vice President of Marketing, who leads global corporate brand strategy and brand management across the company. We spoke about Delta’s journey over the last year, its purpose and what’s to come in the future:
Molly, what is your background as a marketer and your history with Delta?
I have been at Delta for almost a year and a half now. I started right before the pandemic hit back in November of 2019. Getting into 2020, the brand was really at its peak. Our CEO, Ed Bastian, opened CES with a keynote, and we were really investing in the brand, investing in innovation and had a vision of becoming an elevated, beloved consumer brand, where innovation was going to lead us into the future. We were really putting the consumer at the center of all of our decisions and creating a stress free experience for the consumers. We were thinking about all the different touch points to make travel less stressful.
We had our best profit-sharing day ever on February 14, 2020. We paid out over $1.8 billion to our employees in profit sharing. So, huge highs. To the end of March, where we had the worst day in the company's history, and we ended up really putting the airline to sleep for the next several months.
I would say that we took that innovative spirit that we had at CES, and really revamped and reimagined everything that we did around the consumer experience; now, with the lens of keeping our customers clean and safe. Everything from extra layers of protection, cleaning and sanitizing to partnering with Lysol to telling the story around our air filtration systems. It was a real pivot and moving innovation from a different mindset.
What is Delta's North Star, its purpose? And how has that purpose cascaded into all of the decisions that have been made over the last year?
Our ambition as a brand and this company is that we believe that no one better connects the world. Our values are at the heart of everything that we do. That's why we are so heavily invested in DEI and why last year we announced a billion-dollar commitment to sustainability and to get ourselves to net zero by the year 2030, so huge opportunities for us in that values led space.
Your purpose: connecting people and connecting the world, how omnipresent is it? How much of a role does it play in the way people approach their jobs and interact with customers?
We talk a lot about the Delta difference, which is more of an internal kind of rallying cry. Our people are our biggest assets. Ed (Bastian) often says that if we treat our people well, they will treat our customers well and, in turn, the customers will come back often which will help our shareholders. That's really the equation as we think about it.
In terms of what our people bring, those moments of surprise and delight - going above and beyond for the customer. A lot of that is in-service excellence and how we empower our people to create that feeling of connection and inclusivity. We talk about how no one better connects the world, a lot. No one better connects the world and we're a team. We're better together. Connection is all about that. We're here for everyone, inclusivity and helping to define what that means for our people, so they know how to show up, day in and day out.