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AirAsia's Tony Fernandes wins praise for 'punishing' customer: 3 other hands-on CEOs

AirAsia's Tony Fernandes wins praise for 'punishing' customer: 3 other hands-on CEOs

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This week, Capital A's CEO, Tony Fernandes made waves online this week when he boarded a flight to help flight attendants hand out free drinks to customers. 

During his rounds, the CEO noticed that one of the passengers had brought outside food onto the plane, something that is in violation of the airline's regulations. 

Don't miss: AirAsia brand sentiments soar after CEO jokingly 'punishes' passenger on flight

In a TikTok video posted by Fernandes, he can be heard jokingly saying, "Report, report. She brought illegal food."

He goes on to say that no outside food is allowed and then 'punishes' the passenger by saying that she will not get any free drinks. Fernandes also took the opportunity to promote the airline's inflight meals and wrote in the caption of this post, "Just pre-book your Santan meals. It's way cheaper than outside food and drink."

Fernandes' joke took the Internet by storm with sentiments regarding him shooting up to 78.6% positive and 0% negative, up from 66.1% positive and 16.9% negative, according to media intelligence firm CARMA.

Many on social media praised Tony Fernandes for being humble and confronting the passenger for breaking the rules. While others have been curious about how the woman managed to sneak her meal onto the flight.

As we enter 2024, authenticity is one of the most important things that brands need to adopt as they curry favour with consumers. In fact, Brandwatch recently noted that in 2024, authenticity-driven marketing is what will really thrive. 

In fact, it found that 56% of marketers agree that human-to-human marketing will dominate in 2024 as 86% of consumers consider a brand’s authenticity in their purchase decisions. These consumers also crave more genuine connections and have become more adept at spotting inauthentic marketing efforts, especially for Gen Z consumers.

With authenticity being key to building a brand's reputation, MARKETING-INTERACTIVE rounded up some other major brands that have gotten a positive rep from hands-on CEOs below.  

1. Grab CEO, Anthony Tan

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In 2021, tech company Grab's CEO, Anthony Tan, partnered an experience delivery-partner to go undercover as a delivery rider himself. 

He took to LinkedIn to share his experience and said that he tries to do GrabFood deliveries himself every few months. In his post, Tan talked about how he failed to remember to remove the baby seat on his bike to make room for his GrabFood bag and how he forgot to install metal sticks in his bag in order to make sure that it closed properly. He also added that it was difficult figuring out where to park his bike and noted that it rained while he was out and about. 

"In one and a half to two hours, my total count [was] four batched orders. According to Mr. Lim, experienced delivery-partners complete up to five orders in the same duration. I have lots to learn," he wrote. 

The post received much praise with many commending Tan on his "hands on approach" and for making an attempt to understand what his teams experience when carrying out their duties. 

2. Starbucks CEO, Laxman Narasimhan

Profile photo of Laxman Narasimhan

In his early months as CEO of coffee chain Starbucks in 2022, Laxman Narasimhan reportedly would spend some time working as a barista at some of Starbucks' outlets. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, these stints resulted in multiple mishaps including once when a customer had an egg bite exploded after being served to and another occasion when he forgot how to process a credit card at the register. 

Narasimhan's time spent working gave him insights into both the barista and customer experience and led to him proposing operational changes such as improving the egg bite packaging, increasing staffing levels and more. 

3. Uber Eats CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi

Profile photo of Dara Khosrowshahi

Taking a (slightly more dangerous) page out of Tan's book is Uber Eats CEO Dara Khosrowshahi who spent two days riding a bike around San Francisco, delivering meals for Uber Eats. 

In an interview with The New York Times, Khosrowshahi said that he was very nervous at first and actually nearly got killed while making a delivery near a baseball park due to a large volume of traffic for a game that was ongoing. 

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