Familiarity Breeds Contentment – To a Point

Photo by whatatravisty

As I head to Denver to give a talk, I’m mulling over the bankruptcy of American Airlines. Actually, AA is one of my favorite airlines. Not because it’s consistent, on time, or even friendly. It’s that I got to know some of the personnel on well-worn routes, and it felt more personal to travel.

Familiarity is becoming a big driver in consumer behavior. It’s true that the high cognitive load of daily life is making familiarity a default mode. What’s not so obvious is the emotional succor we get out of the deal. Familiarity means we’ll put up with all manner of weak service and incompetence. The question is…for how long?

That’s what American Airlines is about to discover.