A week ago, I wrote about how FIVE GUYS are unapologetic about serving peanuts in their stores. In contrast, I shared how airlines have been overly sensitive about serving them. In 2018, Southwest Airlines joined all the major carriers and stopped serving peanuts.

Barry Dalton called me out on the comparison in a comment:

“Stan, I think your airline analogy is off base. Serving a tiny bag of 5 peanuts is not (I hope) part of the brand value delivered by an airline. It is for 5G [FIVE GUYS]. Peanuts are an integral part of their brand identity (whether they sell them or not).”

I thanked Barry for his comment, but countered his assertion. What if only providing a tiny bag of peanuts is an integral part of your airline strategy?

David Rendall and I call this differentiation strategy Withholding. It fits Southwest Airlines to a tee.

There is a great story shared by Chip and Dan Heath in the book “Made to Stick” about the late founder Herb Kelleher. Kelleher once posed a question to someone about their strategy,

“Tracy from marketing comes into your office. She says her surveys indicate that the passengers might enjoy a light entree on the Houston to Las Vegas flight. All we offer is peanuts, and she thinks a nice chicken Caesar salad would be popular. What do you say?”

The person stammered for a moment, so Kelleher responded:

“You say, `Tracy, will adding that chicken Caesar salad make us THE low-fare airline from Houston to Las Vegas? Because if it doesn’t help us become the unchallenged low-fare airline, we’re not serving any damn chicken salad.'”

Takeaway – You are not only defined by what you do . . . you are also defined by what you unapologetically decide not to do.

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Stan Phelps walks the walk. He stands out in the sea of sameness by modeling his own Differentiated Experience (DX) message: Differentiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do and, more importantly, how and why you do it. Stan leverages his unique collection of 5,000+ case studies on customer, employee, and brand experience to engage audiences with informative learning-based experiences. He believes purposeful DX wins the hearts of employees and customers, and differentiation ultimately boosts loyalty, retention, referrals, and results.

Find Stan’s in-person and virtual keynotes, workshops, and Goldfish tank programs at StanPhelps.com.