SouthWest Airlines copied their model from Pacific SouthWest Airlines , even copied their name but eventually carved a niche out for themselves.
This is because Herb Kelleher was successfully able to communicate the WHY which translated into all the employee touchpoints with the customers.The consistency of messaging is the reason SouthWest has had customer loyalty over the years.
Seeing the rising popularity of SouthWest’s low cost model , prompted United to Start TED and Delta to start SONG as the low cost variants.
Since both United and Delta copied the WHAT from SouthWest and did not focus on the WHY hence these models never took off.
Mentioned below links showcase the respective failures of United and Delta with their low cost segments.
Source NY Times
Thus just copying the WHAT is not sufficient for long term sustenance.When the WHY is clear and communicated that way is when customers truly become loyal customers.
Adopted from Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why