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Modernization Spotlight | Winter Operations

Entered in Travel & Tourism


Amid the tempest of Winter Storm Elliott in 2022, Southwest Airlines faced operational turbulence impacting holiday travel. Recognizing the toll on passengers and operations, Southwest envisioned a proactive and transformative response, and needed the means to translate this message impactfully.

Fueled by a spirit of innovation, Southwest engaged internally with its workforce, communicating a shared commitment to rise above past disruptions. This pivotal moment sparked an inspiring shift in mindset, propelling Southwest to embark on a path of accelerated investments and transformative changes.

As a dedicated partner, we played a vital role in amplifying Southwest's commitment to its internal teams. Together, we aimed to communicate a forward-looking vision, inspiring collective confidence in the face of challenges.

With an unwavering commitment to excellence, Southwest aspired not only to meet but exceed expectations for the winter of 2023-2024. The airline pledged to fortify its operations infrastructure and enhance preparedness through a multifaceted strategy. This included dynamic investments in cutting-edge technology, a renewed focus on process refinement, tactical measures for winter operations preparedness, and a steadfast reinforcement of the overarching philosophy that safety is paramount.

We aimed to highlight Southwest's forward-thinking response to adversity, emphasizing the enhancements surrounding their operational infrastructure as a linchpin of their resilient spirit. Through our crafted materials, we sought to position challenges as opportunities for growth, guiding Southwest not only in navigating storms but propelling them toward heightened operational excellence. 


Bringing the Southwest project to life involved a meticulous plan and execution that aimed to instill confidence in employees and communicate the airline's commitment to their well-being. The goal was clear: to assure Southwest's workforce that the company was dedicated to investing in their preparedness for any weather event, specifically addressing the aftermath of Winter Storm Elliott in 2022.

Our strategy focused on a film featuring Justin Jones, the SVP of operational strategy and design at Southwest, directly addressing employees. We intentionally chose this approach over a voice-over talent to create a more impactful and personal connection. By having a key leader like Jones share the narrative, the message became more than a story; it became a genuine reassurance from within the company.

The film not only conveyed the challenges faced during Winter Storm Elliott but also outlined Southwest's comprehensive review of the event. This review became the foundation for identifying key areas of improvement in winter operations. We strategically released this information in March 2023, aligning with the company's commitment to transparency and continuous improvement.

Our plan of action involved script development, visual storytelling, and collaborative efforts with Southwest's leadership to ensure the message resonated authentically. By directly addressing the events of Winter Storm Elliott and the subsequent improvements, the film aimed to foster a sense of unity and confidence among Southwest employees.

Executing this plan had its challenges, particularly in navigating the delicate balance between transparency and maintaining a positive outlook. Crafting a narrative that acknowledged past shortcomings while instilling hope for the future required careful consideration of tone and messaging. However, the decision to feature a key executive in the film proved instrumental in overcoming this challenge, as it added authenticity and credibility to the message.

In summary, our project brought the Southwest message to life by combining strategic planning, authentic storytelling, and a focus on direct communication through key leadership. The film's impact was evident in its ability to resonate with employees, fostering a sense of confidence and unity within the company.


The results of our film exceeded our team's objectives, proving to be a resounding success in achieving the set goals. Internally showcased at key events across the country, the film garnered overwhelmingly positive feedback, reinforcing its impact. A veteran pilot with 20 years of experience at Southwest labeled it the best internal communication piece he had encountered during his tenure.

The film's strategic distribution, both internally and on YouTube just before the winter operation season, played a pivotal role in disseminating Southwest's commitment and improvements. The promised investments outlined in the film translated into tangible enhancements in the daily lives of Southwest employees. Crucially, it successfully reinstated confidence among the workforce in the airline's operations.

Notably, the positive effects extended to the practical realm, as evidenced by the smooth execution of winter operations in key cities like Chicago and Denver during the 2023-2024 season. The film met and exceeded our team's objectives not only being a communication piece but a catalyst for real, positive change. The success of the film lies not just in its reception but in the tangible improvements observed in employee confidence and operational efficiency.



Video for Modernization Spotlight | Winter Operations

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Trade School & Local, Southwest Airlines

Entry Credits