Airlines love to be loved. It's not just a ''nice to have'' but in such an ultra-competitive industry, essential for commercial success.
And few airlines need to be loved more than Air NZ, especially at a global level where the latest marketing boss to leave has played such a key role.
While the dominant carrier domestically and flying Kiwis around the world - it's a minnow in world terms.
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Hence the need to pitch the airline loudly and proudly in the big overseas markets where its advertising budget and brand awareness is only a fraction of that commanded by competitors.
Jodi Williams - with her boss Mike Tod - has been at the heart of that push. Tod's exit was announced in May and staff told yesterday of Williams' departure after 30 years of working across the airline. Tod's also leaving after doing a few months consulting for what remains of the executive after it was slashed by 30 per cent.
Tod and Williams were able to articulate the personality of the airline from the out-there approach of Rob Fyfe and the more buttoned down, but always punching above its weight style under Christopher Luxon.
Williams was heavily involved in what was some ground-breaking product development as the airline recovered after 2001 and was able to leverage off the improved operational capability when she became GM of Brand & Content Marketing, one of 15 roles she's had at the airline.
In a note to staff the airline's (newly titled) chief commercial and customer officer Cam Wallace said Air New Zealand was well known in marketing and aviation circles for world-leading safety videos, innovation and partnerships and Williams had played a key role in leading this activity over many years.
In 2016, she won the inaugural New Zealand Effies award for Individual Marketer of the Year.
There's been the odd dud, but from a marketing perspective, the inflight safety videos have been a triumph, over the last decade viewed more than 200 million times online. And in a sure sign of success, widely imitated throughout the industry.
Wallace said: ''Jodi is a rare breed of marketer whose intuition, creativity and drive has enabled us to trust her judgement to create bold and innovative campaigns and to maintain the health of the brand and corporate reputation to the highest levels.''
But that was then.
Covid-19 has ravaged the airline industry and has come close to obliterating two decades of rebuilding at Air NZ.
Fighting for its financial future, it is now battling thousands of passengers over refunds and has found itself unable to handle the flood of complaints and inquiries from them.
From being a perennial winner of being the most reputable brand on both sides of the Tasman, Air New Zealand's corporate reputation nose-dived in a survey earlier this month.
The pain of losing good people is being felt throughout the airline with thousands of front line staff being laid off and the company searching for even more savings of $150m as increased domestic flying goes nowhere near making up for lost revenue elsewhere in the business.
Lingering anger felt by remaining staff will test another award the airline frequently won - the best place in New Zealand to work.
One marketing commentator describes Tod and Williams as the ''taste masters'' of Air NZ - deeply plugged into the national psyche and able to accurately assess what it could get away with.
''Losing all that institutional knowledge will be a huge hit. It will be like asking someone to ghost-write Stephen King books after he dies,'' says the commentator.
Chief executive Greg Foran has rightly not tried to stoke over-optimistic expectations of an international recovery - it will take years.
But the slimmed-down, highly digitised airline that emerges from the ruins of Covid-19 will take some selling. It must be able to successfully promote itself as not only making flying safe but also better and that is going to be a mighty marketing challenge.