Monday, December 20


I'm a big believer that almost anything and everything can be and in fact is a brand. Products, celebrities, ordinary people, services, television shows, and yes even government organizations. And I have to say, the TSA has been making strides lately to try to be more of a brand. The Transportation Security Administration that is, the folks that screen us as we get ready to board our planes.

I witnessed it last week, four times in fact as I made two day trips to two different cities.

The TSA has not been without its criticism. First for its lack of preparedness on 9/11 and then its disorganization then it's lack of keeping up with technology then its hiring practices then its staff training then lately its physical screening procedures. It's a long list and I'm sure I didn't even capture the half of it.

But I have to say that the government organization is making strides. As you approach one of the "greeting" stations, you are met with organized rows that move people along, consistent "educational" signage, a welcome video (one of many from their YouTube channel), and a fairly pleasant greeter. You are communicated with throughout the entire process. The organization has a website and a blog (with regular posts) and even a twitter account. They are making every attempt to be "human" and to talk to their audience and to help them through their issues. Sounds like a brand to me.

I couldn't find a Facebook page, but then again who would want to "like" the TSA? Following the organization on Twitter makes a lot of sense, though, because followers get to comment and get up to the minute status updates. Just like a brand! There were lots of posts last night about how fast travelers are speeding through the process. Compliments!

So I say let's give them a chance. A chance to redeem themselves and to reinvent themselves and to start really acting consistently like a brand. It'll be worth it because any good brand is in service of its target audience so we will win in the end. And maybe, just maybe, the whole flying experience will get just a little more pleasant again.

Of course we'll have to get the airlines back in the game as well!

What's your experience? Jim.

PS - For a blog post next week, I am compiling our favorite marketing moments of 2010. Click here to tell me yours!


  1. Jim,

    TSA has a long way to go. Leaving BWI on (Thxgvg) Black Friday to UK, I saw 3 TSA employees jawing off to the side of the security queue while only 2 were doing any work patting down & checking xrays.

  2. I know ... let's call it a work in progress! Safe travels this holiday season. Jim.