People usually talk about a pilot’s experience in terms of hours instead of years. For instance, after Captain Chesley Sullenberger landed a commercial jet in the Hudson River, saving all 155 souls on board, the media noted that he’d logged more than 20,000 hours of flying. Pilots keep a strict record of their air time because that’s how they earn certificates and ratings — by the hours.
Whenever I take part in the miracle of flight, I like to believe that there’s a seasoned pilot behind the yoke. It makes me feel more confident about being whisked 40,000 feet above the earth in a giant aluminum tube (even though, as Superman himself put it, this is statistically the safest way to travel).
Like passengers boarding a jet, clients can get on board with us because they believe in our experience as an aviation marketing consultant. They offer us the helm when they need creative branding and aircraft advertising that produces results in an increasingly competitive environment. They have faith that deliverables will arrive on schedule. And if something should disrupt the flight plan, they trust that we can adapt to the new course and keep the project in motion.
That’s because we have logged thousands of hours creating aircraft ads for one of the industry’s most prolific manufacturers, Textron Aviation. Its subsidiaries include Cessna and Beechcraft, which serve a wide spectrum of customers from restaurateurs to rock stars, from doctors to defense contractors. Not all are the suit-clad executives that typify private plane owners. The audience is complex. They speak different dialects and chase unique goals.
We became students of their interests so we could talk to them about sophisticated technology in colloquial terms, or make aircraft components look sexy in the magazines they subscribe to. One of our favorite marketing campaigns was tailored to police officers — not exactly the type of audience you’d expect to be perusing business aviation ads. But airplanes are business investments for law enforcement, too. Police use them to enforce traffic laws from the sky, and those speeding tickets bring in revenue for the department.
Business aviation is a niche market, but it’s an important cog in our economy, generating over one million jobs and $200 billion worth of products and services. Acting as a conduit for aerospace advertising, we help power that machine by facilitating connections between businesses and buyers.
Those buyers tend to be wealthy individuals and multimillion-dollar companies. Although they comprise a small percentage of consumers nationally, their high net worth makes them huge targets for advertisers. Many of them have no doubt insulated themselves against the deluge of print and digital ads. So it takes a full-service agency — with all its resources, knowledge and contacts — to invent solutions that will stand out and cut through the noise.
More business aircraft are taking off today than in the last 10 years. The economy is in good health, and tax reform promises significant benefits for people in search of better travel tools. Now is a good time for aviation brands to aggressively seek out potential customers. When it comes to choosing a pilot for the mission, flight hours count. Better check the agency’s logbook.