Aviation Marketing: Compelling creative starts with a great creative brief

Aviation manufacturing CMOs that take an active role in developing the creative brief are rewarded with creative work that is memorable, strategic, and engaging.

Have you ever smiled after reading a magazine ad or felt an emotional tug after watching a video and wondered where the ideas came from? The ideas came from the hard work of the creative team working in tandem with the aviation marketer.

Creative ideas are like seeds looking for fertile land. If the land has been tilled and nurtured, then the seeds will take root. If the land is inhospitable, then the seeds die bearing no fruit.

The creative brief is the plowed field, ready to receive the seeds of creativity from which the ideas grow that make customers emotionally engaged with your brand.

What makes a great creative brief?

In aviation marketing, a great creative brief starts when the creative team is working in lockstep with marketing and manufacturing. Creative development is a social affair, based on exchanging ideas and insights. Each of these groups brings a different perspective to the process based on their unique experiences. Sharing these experiences provides a well-rounded perspective on product attributes and features, as well as insights gained from customer feedback.

Although gathering each group’s unique perspectives can be beneficial, the number of differing viewpoints on how to achieve the objective can be daunting.   Everyone is  looking at the objective though a different window.

The role of the CMO 

The role of the CMO is to be a nurturer, bringing all the different viewpoints into focus for a complete picture. This is not an easy task because everyone thinks his or her idea is the best solution for solving the objective at hand. A good CMO listens and presents counter viewpoints, challenges assumptions, and strives for clarity of thought.

Creative briefs are fluid

Different objectives require different approaches to developing creative briefs. There is no one-size-fits-all creative brief form. Depending on the marketing objective, customer research may be needed to capture snippets of customer attitude and preference for the brand. A second objective may require in-depth competitor knowledge to exploit a technology weakness and turn it into a competitive advantage.

A good creative brief provides a framework for discovery

Creativity is about connecting the dots. However, dots are pesky things with minds of their own, predisposed to wanderlust. The creative brief provides a safe place for the dots to gather and be tamed so the marketing objective may be accomplished.

Everyone has a creative side. When working together to develop the creative brief, the creative juices flow, nurturing the garden the aviation marketer has prepared.

Aviation Marketing: How CMO leadership affects advertising agency performance

If aviation industry CMOs receive work that is creative, meaningful and inspiring, a covenantal relationship is built that fulfills the emotional needs of both CMO and agency.

What type of relationship do you have with your agency – contractual or covenantal?

We all want to be needed. This is never more apparent than when you work with a group of creative people. Agency folks by their very nature are a high touch, service-oriented bunch that will work themselves into a frenzy trying to please their clients.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances or culture beyond the CMO’s control, the relationship starts to sour because it is viewed as a contractual relationship. Contractual relationships lack emotion, are based on obligations written in legalese, and work to the detriment of group dynamics. This type of relationship is based on reciprocity driven by the finance types to find the lowest cost producer.

Typically, contractual relationships are viewed as client and vendor.

As an example, an RFP is sent to 8 agencies (kiss of death) for the development of a new corporate website and an inbound marketing program. Due to the economic climate, the agencies don’t want to say “NO” to anything. These agencies work diligently on their proposals, developing strategies and sighting technologies that will meet the RFP requirement. A couple of agencies even develop mockups of their ideas to help the client visualize the concepts they are proposing. Then the contractual mentality kicks in and the project is awarded to the agency with the lowest cost.

The flip side of the contractual relationship is the covenantal relationship.

Covenantal relationships reward creativity and change. This type of relationship fulfills the emotional needs of both CMO and agency, resulting in work that is:

  • Creative
  • Rewarding
  • Meaningful
  • Inspirational
  • Accountable

In his book “Leadership is An Art,” Max DePree, Chairman emeritus of Herman Miller Inc., identifies seven ground rules for a covenantal relationship:

  1. The right to be needed
  2. The right to be involved
  3. The right to understand
  4. The right the affect one’s own destiny
  5. The right to be accountable
  6. The right to appeal
  7. The right to make a commitment

Achieving a covenantal relationship requires strong CMO leadership – someone who is confident in their abilities yet trusts others on whom they depend for their success.

The covenantal CMO/agency relationship is a group dynamic with one side or the other demonstrating leadership at different times. Throughout this cycle, CMO and agency take on two roles – one as creator, and the other as implementer.

In the covenantal relationship, all parties are emotionally involved with the outcome. In many instances, the CMO’s implementation is just as creative as the creative act he/she is responding to.

Determining Advertising Return On Investment (AROI) for Aviation Marketing

If you don’t know what you are measuring, how can you measure it?

CFOs and CMOs must agree on what to measure when determining AROI.

The largest line item and most visible part of your Aviation Marketing program is advertising. Yet there is considerable confusion in understanding advertising’s impact and measuring its accountability.

Pick up any business publication and chances are there will be an article about the death of outbound marketing, namely, advertising. Much of the angst associated with aviation advertising is based on measuring the effectiveness of advertising and the best way to build those data chains.

Advertising ROI starts by answering these 3 questions:

  • If you don’t know what you are measuring, how can you measure it?
  • If you don’t measure it, how can you manage it?
  • If you don’t manage it, how do you expect to get it funded?

Understanding Advertising ROI requires you to differentiate between Advertising RIO and Marketing ROI.

All advertising is a marketing activity. However, advertising is not the same as marketing, and many marketing functions have nothing to do with advertising.

In the absence of external marketing factors, advertising is best judged in 3 areas:

  1. Awareness
  2. Attitude
  3. Behavior

John Phillip Jones, in his book, “How Advertising Works,” lays the foundation for defining advertising as a “multiplier” that can leverage other properly executed elements in the marketing mix (inbound and outbound) to create a brand that is stronger and more valuable than it would be in the absence of advertising. 

The interchangeability of the two terms (marketing and advertising) contributes further to the confusion. Many aviation CEO’s and CFO’s lump marketing and advertising together, making it harder to define Advertising ROI’s financial accountability. In addition, there is still the tendency to apply short-term marketing metrics such as sales, market share, or brand profitability to the advertising function.

Internal marketing functions that can skew the interpretation of advertising’s financial accountability include:

  • Lowering the price of the product
  • Improvements or innovations in the product line
  • Brand/product line extensions
  • New product introduction
  • More distributors/global foot-print
  • Customer incentives
  • Positive PR integrated with inbound social marketing activities

It is accepted that advertising has a positive effect on the brand over time, called the “carryover effect.” It is also understood that the considerable benefits of advertising are not immediate but are more cumulative and predictive of long-term brand performance. For aviation marketers this is especially true in the considered purchase sales cycle where there is high involvement of multiple purchase influencers and decision makers. 

Reference: Don L. Dixon, Director of Advertising Management, Portland State University. You can click on the following link to purchase a copy of the report, “Advertising Metric and ROI: A Guide to Improving Agency Accountability and Effectiveness.” 

photo credit: mag3737 via photopin cc