Brand differentiation is achieved by creating an emotional connection with customers that transcend the products’ functional benefits.
Aviation manufacturers use functional product benefits as a means of brand differentiation. Competitive advantage is gained by offering enhanced component or system functionality. Product innovation is a good thing but innovation is a fleeting proposition.
Technology advantages are short-lived and the competition levels the playing field very quickly. This leads aviation manufacturers to try to cram more functionality into the next version of their product offering.
Astute aviation marketers use customer insight to “ladder up” their brand promise to connect with their customers.
Customers create an emotional bond when the brand empathizes with their situation.
For example, let’s say you’re a component supplier and you’ve gained insight into how your customer places orders. One of the things you learned is that the current ordering process is time consuming and confusing.
Following the formula of:
- Insight + Functionality + Empathy = Emotional Brand Promise
You decide to create a new timesaving ordering process that tracks previous transactions and part numbers. By doing this, you have made your customer’s life simpler by spending less time on ordering and giving them more time to concentrate on other things.
The “ladder up” brand promise could take this form:
- XYZ components, spend more time designing and less time specifying
The challenge for aviation marketers is how far up the emotional ladder they can go and still connect with the brand’s functional benefits. Going too far up the ladder may lead to unsupported claims which could damage the brand’s credibility.
Maintaining control of your brand in the digital world
In the digital world, your customers own your brand. They interact with it, blog about it, and share comments about it with their friends. Because the digital world is built for engagement, there is always the risk of negative comments.
In addition, digital platforms add another layer of moving parts to the brand promise. The online user experience is a reflection of the brand promise. Hard-to-navigate websites, confusing landing pages, and poorly written content all contribute to a negative user experience, putting the brand promise at risk.
Avoiding these pitfalls and providing a positive online user experience will reinforce the brand’s functional benefits and the brand promise.