Air charter: Defining your brand

Brand differentiation is a process beginning with defining your product and service offering.

Brand differentiation is a process beginning with defining your product and service offering.

On-demand air charter customers seek a better brand experience.

With over 2500 air charter operators in the United States, competition is fierce for acquiring and keeping customers. While the focus of on-demand air travel is safety, security, and productivity, charter operators should not overlook the value of the emotional connection that customers need to establish with their brand.

Determining your point of differentiation

Taking a strategic approach to brand differentiation is a process beginning with defining your product and service offering. For this first step, it’s important to review your assets and how they match up to the market need. Depending upon your footprint — international, national, or regional – this analysis defines the value of your product and service offering.

For example, if your service is mostly used by sportsmen to access fishing and hunting camps, that’s a different value proposition than offering international jet service.

Brand attributes and benefits

Next, list the feature, function and end user benefit of the service offering. Think of this in terms of equipment, pilot experience and training, safety record, ease of doing business, customer satisfaction, and problem/resolution during the charter operation.

Business segments

Analyzing the business segments that your charter service will depend on for paying the bills is also important. For example, on the Gulf Coast, many charter operators rely on the energy sector for shuttling workers to and from offshore drilling platforms. Identifying specific business segments, individual companies, and decision makers and influencers helps to narrow the focus and formulate key messages.

This area also provides the opportunity to gain customer insight based on decision makers’ perception of the service offered, in order to determine the best communication channel to reach the audience with your differentiation messaging.

Brand personality

To borrow a page from consumer package goods marketers, viewing your charter service as a brand helps define its personality, points of differentiation, and key messages. This forms the foundation for your brand promise and the experiences that customers can expect from selecting your on-demand charter service.

Taking a strategic approach to define your brand leads to more efficient marketing, better use of marketing resources, and helps to create an emotional connection with your customers.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Finding your voice

Creating the foundation for brand differentiation

Emotional branding requires delivering a memorable experience

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Copyright: krasimiranevenova / 123RF Stock Photo

Differentiating your brand from the competition

The user’s value system is found in their DNA of experiences.

The user’s value system is found in their DNA of experiences.

Brand differentiation comes from the user’s perception

There is not a huge amount of difference between leading brands. Depending on the category, almost all brands offer the same feature, function, and benefit to the user.

What makes a differentiated brand?

First, let’s explore the idea of a brand.

 Brand: noun

1 a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name: a new brand of detergent.

• a brand name: the company will market computer software under its own brand.

• a particular identity or image regarded as an asset: you can still invent your own career, be your own brand | the Michael Jordan brand certainly hasn’t hurt them.

• a particular type or kind of something: his incisive brand of intelligence.

The emphasis is to stand apart and stand for something.

A brand also allows companies to manufacture different models under the same brand name.

For example, Gulfstream Aerospace manufactures the following aircraft: Gulfstream G150, Gulfstream G280, Gulfstream G450, etc.

The intent is for the brand to offer more features and better performance as you move up the price chain.

Which leads us to brand differentiation

The simplest explanation is one of branding cattle. Each cattle ranch burned a unique mark into the hide of the cow or steer it owned. This was done to separate specific animals from the herd in the early days of open range grazing. This basic concept is the foundation for trademarks, which leads to brand differentiation.

Brand differentiation in the digital age

Branding strategy has expanded to include digital platforms and social media networks. The primus of the expansion was for brands to interact with individual users who in turn would become brand advocates, spreading the gospel about how wonderful the product performed and why all their digital friends should try it.

And for a while, this was the thinking behind investing in social media networks and spreading tweets and likes.

The reality

Brand differentiation comes from the user. It is the user’s value system that determines brand preference.

The user’s value system is found in their DNA of experiences. Their value system can change based on aspirational goals, financial conditions, or maturing of values that come with age.

Marketers that strive for brand differentiation must appeal to the user’s emotional needs and fulfill these needs by brand association that serves a higher calling than feature, function, and benefit.

This is not an easy task. It is the job of marketing to uncover what is unique to the brand and communicate in such a way as to create an emotional connection with the user.

It can’t be automated, digitized, or replicated. It has to be unique, authentic, and reach the user on a personal level that melds into a lasting connection. It must be “lived” by those in care of the brand and treated as an ember that will be extinguished if left unattended.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Investing in your brand perception

Connecting decision makers with your brand

Why bother with branding?

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Image credit: lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo

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:

 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.”

photo credit: tonyboytran via photo pin cc