Products fulfill needs. Experiences fulfill desires.
In Marc Gobé’s book, “Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People,” Gobé puts forth 10 commandments for emotional branding. One I found particularly relevant for aviation manufacturers and marketers was the premise:
FROM PRODUCT → TO EXPERIENCE
In aviation manufacturing, buying for a need is driven by specification, price, and delivery. Because a majority of aviation components and systems are manufactured to meet certain specifications and perform to MIL-SPEC or DO-160 standards, there is little differentiation between branded products.
However, few aviation marketers seize the opportunity to offer the purchaser an emotional memory or a connection to the brand far beyond the need to meet specifications.
Experiences make us feel alive and connected to the people and brands associated with the experience. For example, a few years ago Honeywell brought in Jimmy Buffet to perform at their NBAA event. While on stage, Buffet spoke of the value aviation provides to his business and how he relies on the Honeywell avionics system to safely get him and his band to the next show. This memory exceeds any attribute or stated benefit of their avionics system and emotionally positions their company as one that understands the value of the customer relationship by providing an exclusive experience.
While a majority of aviation manufacturers do not have the wherewithal of a Honey-well or General Dynamics, they still should be thinking about how to provide a memorable purchasing experience nevertheless.
- One area that can lead to brand differentiation and emotional branding is at tradeshows. Attend any aviation trade show and you will see aisle after aisle of small trade show booths, each with a header in the same position and a table at the front of the booth loaded with cheap pens, key chains, or other items emblazoned with corporate or product line logos.
- What if you invested a little more imagination and resources into a larger booth with space dedicated to an experience? Stepping out of the B-to-B mindset and thinking like a retailer, what if you offered your customers a visit to a Parisian internet café, or a rock climbing wall, or even a 3-D movie experience about the design inspirations that led to the physical configuration of your newest product offering?
For established products to attract and retain interest, it is important to invest in innovative thinking, new channels that engage in dialogue with customers, and product launches that capture the customer’s imagination.
To purchase Marc Gobé’s book, click on the following link: “Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People.”