Southwest picks Edelman to streamline outreach

DALLAS: Southwest Airlines has hired Edelman for a one-year project to streamline communications within its various community outreach programs.

DALLAS: Southwest Airlines has hired Edelman for a one-year project to streamline communications within its various community outreach programs.

The agency will also identify new programs that will help Southwest make a larger and more positive impact in the communities it serves.

Edelman won the account following a review. The firm's just-launched Business and Social Purpose practice will manage the work, which will be led by practice chair Carol Cone.

Debra Benton, director of community relations and charitable giving at Southwest, said the airline has two practices that do similar types of community-facing work, one focused on community relations and charitable giving and the other on community affairs and grassroots. Southwest will maintain the separate groups, but it is working with Edelman to find better ways to communicate while avoiding overlap.

“We have a couple teams that work on these programs, so we are trying to find a way to bring all that together under a single umbrella so that it makes more sense from a communications standpoint,” Benton said.

Edelman's New York office will primarily work on the account, with one member of the team based in Dallas.

The agency will also work on “evolving [Southwest's] citizenship,” Cone said, adding that the agency is helping the brand stand for something beyond the bottom line and have a deep purpose.

“Nothing is broken,” Cone said. “They just are looking to the future and saying, ‘How do we do it any better?'”

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