Aviation Marketing: Defining your brand’s personality

Virgin America exemplifies their brand by portraying their customers as young, hip, and digitally connected.
Without a clear brand identity, you may have visibility but no personality.

“Commerce is about selling more products and services, but people are about desires and aspirations.”

Marc Gobe, Emotional Branding, Revised Edition

What do Victoria’s Secret and Virgin America share in common? Both understand the power of a brand culture and are able to translate that into a memorable brand experience. Aviation marketers that are seeking to define their brand need to consider a people-to-people marketing approach and understand that relevant brands are not based on messaging or logo design but on the experience associated with the brand.

Traditionally in the aviation industry, branding and marketing have been extensions of the manufacturing culture based on product feature and functionality. This approach is not necessarily wrong; however, it tends to create ubiquitous branding devoid of personality.  Emotionally connected brands offer the user something more. It’s the association with the brand through emotional and aspirational connections that creates the brand experience leading to brand preference and loyalty.

Business jet manufacturers understand this and play to the cultural and personal aspirations of CEO’s and such to have the best “ramp presence” or alignment with the “sports car of the sky” for their aircraft offering.

When implemented correctly, emotional branding compliments product branding by providing the human factor, bringing vision and connection with the financial, manufacturing, and marketing objectives of the company.

Matching a brand to a character association is one way to identify brand strength and relevance. Implementing this approach requires connecting with the customer on a personal level. Starting with the character’s environment helps to develop stories and scripts that resonate with the customer and peak their interest in the brand.

Virgin America exemplifies this by portraying their customers as young, hip, and digitally connected. The brand story starts to emerge, punctuated with lifestyle imagery such as the nightclub lighting when entering the plane. The digital entertainment menu in the seat back helps to define the visual platform for the basis of the branding program.

Achieving emotional branding and creating a connection with your customer base involves people at all levels of the organization sharing a vision of the brand and identifying possibilities for the brand personality.

I’m interested in hearing from my fellow aviation marketers. What have been your greatest challenges in defining your brand’s personality? Please share your experiences in the comment section below

photo credit: thekenyeung via photopin cc

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