Aviation Marketing: Big data and creativity

Creativity needs big data to define the landscape in which the brand operates

Creativity needs big data to define the landscape in which the brand operates

One provides tactical insight, the other the emotional glue

Big data is the buzzword of the day. The techno savvy number crunchers are heralding big data as an “end all, be all” for tracking RIO and determining which marketing initiatives to fund. I’m in agreement that big data, when properly interpreted, can provide customer insight as to the purchasing habits and the media channel that culminated the sale. No argument – this is valid tactical information and should be considered when planning marketing initiatives.

Big data has limitations

Big data interpretation is also influenced by what the interpreter wants from it. We all know numbers can be twisted to justify decisions based on the interpreter’s bias and ultimate goal.

Big data also presents a one-sided view of the transaction process. Yes, it can isolate the channel that the purchase was transacted through, but it cannot measure the cumulative effect of brand value and preference across all the marketing channels that led to the conversion.

Big data lacks soul

Dissecting any purchasing process has to take into account the emotional decision to consider the brand in the first place. This is where big data comes up short.

Purchasing decisions start by pinging an emotional need.  These emotions are what make us human and drive our wants, desires, and needs. Emotions are the glue that create an attachment to a brand and pique our curiosity to investigate features and benefits to justify the purchase.

Creativity needs big data and visa-versa

Big data is automated. It’s a logical path that turns creativity into a commodity. From automated ad purchasing programs to social media sentiment, tracking these algorithms can not detect sarcasm, joy, empathy or any of the other emotions we humans employ on a daily basis to communicate, cope, and justify our purchasing decisions.

There was once a time when creativity was celebrated. Good advertising built brands and created brand preference. It could sweep the nation with catch phrases and imprint the brand message in the minds of millions of potential customers.

Creativity needs big data to define the landscape in which the brand operates. Big data can help creative thinking by providing comparative analysis, insight into purchasing habits, and models of what not to do based on different scenarios.  Ultimately, this tactical execution may be big data’s greatest contribution to the creative process.

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Aviation Marketing: Finding your voice

A brand story requires a social point of view

A brand story requires a social point of view

Defining your values improves your brand story

Aviation companies that are practitioners of people-to-people marketing spend their marketing capital wisely by defining their position and understanding their point of differentiation. This due diligence leads to delivering key messages in clear concise terms that are easily understood by the constituents with whom they wish to do business.

Digital platforms from Twitter to You Tube to email have empowered companies in the aviation industry with the ability to become their own publishers and broadcasters. Early adopters of social marketing embraced the idea of self-publishing as a means to reduce advertising costs. As social marketing platforms matured, content migrated from a low cost replacement for a traditional advertising channel to conveying a larger story through the brand’s good deeds.

Orchestrating your brand story may sound like an easy task; however staring at a blank sheet of paper quickly brings home the reality that the brand story requires a social point of view. By this I mean, what are your company values and how are they contributing to the betterment of the aviation industry?

Developing a social point of view

The mission of any company is to make a profit from goods and services produced and sold. However, in the social marketing landscape, pure profit motive needs to be combined with the idea that products and services produced also make the world a better place to live.

Proactively listening to customer concerns posted on social media platforms provides the insight necessary to develop strategic social messages that resonate with customer’s values and concerns.

For example, in the biofuel market, Shell Global has an Environment and Society section on their corporate website. Content features their pioneering efforts on making ethanol from Brazilian sugarcane. Blending this biofuel with standard petrol can reduce CO2 emissions by 70% when compared to standard petrol.

Michelin is another example. Their aircraft tires produced using NZG (Near Zero Growth) technology reduces the tires’ weight and increases longevity, resulting in a tire structure that is more impact and damage resistant. The reduction in weight contributes to fuel savings while increasing passenger and freight capacity.

Brand values are derived from the social culture of the company. Companies that do well by their customers also do well for themselves.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Should your brand be aligned with a moral cause?

Why aviation brands need emotional engagement

Marketing excellence requires focus and clear positioning

Aviation Marketing: Defining your brand’s personality

Virgin America exemplifies their brand by portraying their customers as young, hip, and digitally connected.

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 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.

Additional article that may be of interest on this topic:

Aviation Marketing: Emotional branding requires delivering a memorable experience

Aviation Marketing: Don’t rule out emotional connections in the purchasing process

Aviation Marketing: Emotional ties create strong brand loyalty

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

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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.”

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