Headshot of Carol Campbell (B.A. Hospitality Business ’98), managing director of consumer insight at Delta Air Lines

Carol Campbell (B.A. Hospitality Business ’98), managing director of consumer insight at Delta Air Lines

The most recent lecture of the 2021 Roy S. Pung Executive Speaker Series featured Carol Campbell (B.A. Hospitality Business ’98), managing director of consumer insight at Delta Air Lines. Campbell, joined by a few of her colleagues, discussed the value of consumer insight in differentiating a company to an audience of undergraduate honors students and Dean Sanjay Gupta.

In her role at Delta, Campbell is responsible for guiding and shaping long-term strategies to deliver exceptional experiences for Delta’s customers. Her reputation for improving the customer experience pushes boundaries and inspires consumer-centric thinking in others. In her interactive lecture, she covered what she considers are universal principles that apply to consumer insight that are not always universally applied.

For instance, Campbell explained why it’s no coincidence that some of the most successful companies — like Delta, the Walt Disney Company, Apple, Tesla and Starbucks — have some of the strongest net promoter scores: They recognize how valuable it can be to foster a specialized customer experience for their competitive advantage.

“In today’s world, word of mouth is the most influential way to drive consumer behavior,” Campbell explained. “Not only are [these major companies] best in class, you [the consumer] also pay more than you would at their competitive set. Up to and through the pandemic, Delta not only maintained a leading net promoter score — we continue to harvest a revenue premium over the competitive set.”

Campbell shared how Delta has continued to execute strategic decision making and prioritize the safety and health of its valued customers and employees. Currently, Delta is the only airline company that plans to maintain the middle seat block on its aircrafts until April 2021.

Delta stayed true to its commitment to people before profit. Despite a potential loss in revenue from the decision, the company maintained its commitment to providing a safe and comfortable experience for its customers and has continued to outperform competitors.

“What we’re really focusing on is the brand trust and how people feel about the brand and brand loyalty,” Campbell said. “There is a halo effect that will carry — and we had really good brand trust to start with. But they’re going to remember that we took good care of them through the pandemic, and the belief is that that loyalty will continue to pay back over time.”

Prior to joining Delta, Campbell shared her experience working for the Walt Disney Company for 22 years — an opportunity she received while she was an undergraduate student at the Broad College.

“Many people transition and evolve their careers over time,” she said. “You want to work for a company where you’re going to be able to have that career growth and flexibility.” Campbell said this was some of the best advice she received from an unexpected connection: an alumnus who ultimately helped her choose Disney to start off her career in hospitality business.

Outside of her consumer insight career, Campbell proudly serves on the boards of her alma mater at the Broad College and JDRF Georgia.

More information on upcoming events in the 2020–21 Pung Speaker Series, as well as information on past events, is available at the Full-Time MBA program page.