Aviation marketing: Why bother with branding?

Why bother with branding?

Our experiences, values, DNA makeup and beliefs drive our unconscious decision towards a specific brand

Our emotional connection with a brand is an unconscious decision

Product and service innovation in the aviation industry comes from improved features and functions. On the flight deck, it can be a chip-driven avionic component that replaces a mechanical legacy system, to the cabin, where passengers are plugged into inflight wireless connectivity while enjoying their lay-flat seats — these innovations are the result of engineering.

Aviation marketers have been indoctrinated with the belief that purchasing decisions, from components to airline tickets, are made on the rationalization of feature and function to support the purchasing decision.

If this is the case, why bother with branding? It would be simple enough to feature pricing for products and services on the manufacturers’ or airlines’ website and let the customer make the purchasing decision based on rationalization of their circumstances or required functions of the component. This type of thinking comes from conscious decision-making.

What about unconscious decision-making?

Our emotional connection to a brand is an unconscious decision. The connection comes from our life story. Our experiences, values, DNA makeup and beliefs drive our unconscious decision towards a specific brand. We use the conscious rationalization of feature and function to explain or justify our unconscious purchasing decision.

This leads us to the intersection of rational avenue and emotional boulevard and which approach to take when marketing aviation product and services.

Douglas Van Praet, author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower Marketing states, “while emotions overwhelmingly drive behaviors, it’s misguided to believe that thinking and feelings are somehow mutually exclusive. Emotion and logic are intertwined.”

Prat further states that, “Behavioral science is now telling us that we don’t really have ‘free will.’ We have ‘free won’t.’ We can give in to the visceral impulses that drive us or choose to apply the brakes of rational restraint. While we can’t choose our emotions because they originate unconsciously, we can choose our conscious response to our feelings. This is essentially what consciousness is–a series of critical reflections and interpretations about how we are feeling.”

All this is heady stuff but I feel it has merit. People-to-people marketing lives at the intersection of rational avenue and emotional boulevard. People-to-people marketing is about connecting with customers and creating an emotional preference for your brand. Yes, feature and function is important and helps with the rationalization of the purchasing decision, but social marketing platforms take this a step further with peer and product reviews, ratings, and comparative analysis.

Using an emotionally based marketing approach gives us a “persona” for storylines and a pallet with more colors for creating a brand story. This translates to a brand preference leading to increased revenues that keeps those rational types in the “C” suite happy.

Additional articles you find of interest on this topic:

Why aviation brands need emotional engagement

Emotional ties create strong brand loyalty

Don’t rule out emotional connections in the purchasing process

You can purchase Douglas Van Praet’s book on Amazon by clicking here.

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