Aviation Marketing: Emotional branding requires delivering a memorable experience

Emotional memory creates a connection to the brand.

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:


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.”

photo credit: tonyboytran via photo pin cc

Aviation Marketing: Social media extends your reach at tradeshows

Aviation component and system manufacturers can benefit from implementing social media and other online marketing tactics to engage with customers and prospects at trade shows.

In the aviation tradeshow world, most aviation component and system manufacturers find it next to impossible to compete for attention when the likes of Gulfstream or Honeywell dominate the landscape with giant displays and mega events.

Progressive aviation marketers are integrating inbound and outbound marketing efforts to achieve tradeshow objectives and standout from their competition.

Tradeshow strategy starts with show objectives

Determining your strategy requires identifying achievable goals that can be reached at the tradeshow. For example:

  • Generate and capture leads
  • Identify new sources of business
  • Increase social media following
  • Increase email or blog subscribers
  • Make contact with new suppliers
  • Gain customer insight for product improvements
  • Demonstrate latest product functionality

Preshow marketing sets the tone

As you are determining the show objectives, also consider preshow marketing activities that will help achieve the trade show goals. Such as:

  • Discover and prioritize customer and prospects’ social media preferences — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest — and use these channels to spread your call to action for visiting your location at the show.
  • You can also use these channels to identify key prospects by their profile and group affiliations to send personal invitations.
  • Update your Facebook or Google+ page with a calendar or identify an event or breakout session you will be hosting.

During the show

  • Create an event hashtag (example – #ABCFlightMRO). Place this on preshow and at show materials.
  • Have a social media team member keep the twitter conversation going by tweeting updates, notable booth visitors, photos, and other informative show content for those in attendance and for those that could not make it to the event.
  • Recap the show with daily summaries and post to content sharing sites.
  • Use QR codes on display materials to engage smart phone users, leading them dedicated landing pages. Make an offer for free materials such as white papers, e-books or other relevant material.

Post show

  • Package and repurpose content obtained during the show and send links and summaries to booth visitors and key prospects.
  • Build a database of online visitors and social media participants for use as a prospect list and as an expanded list for the next show.
  • Update social media pages to promote your next event.

Using social media extends the reach of your tradeshow presence and provides new ways to engage with customers and prospects.