Category Archives: Brand Positioning

Earned Media vs. Paid Media: What’s the Difference (And Does It Matter?)

Earned Media vs. Paid Media: What’s the Difference (And Does It Matter?) | Haley Brand Aerospace

Both earned media and paid media can offer added exposure, more leads and increased sales for your aviation brand – but the two aren’t one and the same.

While both types work together to support your marketing efforts, effective earned and paid media opportunities grow from very different seedlings: the former from your brand’s reputation and influence, and the latter from your pocketbook and advertising know-how.

Cultivating both is key to a 360-degree marketing strategy that works for the long haul.

Paid Media

Paid media is the simpler one. It allows you to pay (via an advertisement, for example) to promote your message, brand or product in a certain space.

Examples of paid media include:

  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn ads
  • Magazine placements
  • Paid contributions to publications or websites
  • Google Ads and other search advertising
  • Public or corporate sponsorships

Paid media is a great way to amplify your message, while also being very strategic with who sees that message, where they’re located and how likely they are to become a customer. Paid media is also a great way to gain exposure for your “owned” media — meaning the content, blogs, videos and resources you’ve created internally for your audience.

Earned Media

Earned media, put simply, is media exposure. It’s when a publication, news organization or some other channel with an audience shares your message, products, content or anything to do with your brand. Earned media is especially powerful because it increases your credibility (it’s someone else saying you’re great — not just you tooting your own horn).

Examples of earned media include:

  • Press mentions (including quotes from your team members or mentions of your products)
  • Positive reviews and testimonials on third-party sites
  • Reposts, shares and retweets on social media
  • Shares and emails of your content, blogs, articles, etc.

Earned media is a little harder to come by, as it’s largely out of your control. You can help your case by connecting with well-established voices and influencers in your space. For our clients, that means aviation and aerospace magazines, reporters, trade shows and others within the industry.

Part of your marketing mix should be owned media, your produced content that is shared with your audience. Materials such as a website, blog, social media accounts, collateral and other materials can be used to build your brand image, promote your products and services, and educate your target audience. In addition, owned media can serve as a valuable tool to help rebuild your reputation after a crisis event.

A Three-Pronged Approach

Really, the best marketing strategy is one that combines earned media, paid media and targeted owned media. This allows you to reach potential customers at all points in their buying journey, as well as leverage key influencers and voices in your industry.

Need help crafting your aviation brand’s three-pronged marketing strategy? Haley Aerospace can help. Get in touch today for a free consult!


3 Mistakes New Aviation Marketers Make

3 Mistakes New Aviation Marketers Make | Haley Aerospace Marketing

If you’re new to being an aviation marketer, you’ll quickly find that it’s a unique beast.

Not only are we selling high-dollar parts, products and machines, we’re also selling experiences. Doing all of these things take a powerful grasp on both our audience and the values and priorities that matter most to them.

Are you new to the aviation marketing world? Just want to brush up on your skills and make sure you’re on the right track? Here are the biggest mistakes newbie aviation marketers make (and how to avoid them):

Not measuring and tracking

Marketing without metrics is just shooting in the dark. If you want to ensure your strategy is an effective one, it needs to be based in cold, hard data. What areas are you failing in? Where are your efforts working and where is there room for improvement? What past efforts have been successful and what led to their success? Analytics can help you answer all of these questions and more.

It’s not just about watching your analytics, though — it’s about watching the right ones. As with anything, not all metrics are created equal, and if you want to drive more sales and get more clients, you have to watch the metrics that are tied to those numbers — the conversion rates on your content offers, the engagement on your social posts and the leads you keep in the funnel after a trade show. Know what your key performance indicators are and keep a good gauge on them at all times. Let them drive your strategy and move your brand forward.

Skipping social

Many aviation marketers feel social media is a waste of time. Are high-dollar buyers really watching your brand on Facebook? Could a Twitter post really bring a new B2B vendor into the fold? You bet it could. In aviation marketing, it’s all about choosing the right social channels to focus on.

For B2B brands, LinkedIn is king, and Twitter can bring in some healthy sales as well. For B2C organizations, visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are great options if you’ve got amazing aviation photography because they really draw people to your brand. (You just have to know how to convert them and turn those leads into a sale after that!)

Marketing to the wrong person

You also need to know who you’re marketing to. If you’re a B2B aviation brand, you’re not marketing to the CEO of a company. Instead, you’re trying to reach a buyer for that brand — someone lower on the totem pole, with less of a financial stake and more to prove. They want you to make them look good and they want you to show them how.

For B2C brands, you need to dive into the psyche and demographics of your target audience. What’s their income level? Do they have kids? What stage of life are they in? What’s important to them and what are their values? These should all play a role in both how you market to them and what venues you use to do it.

Always keep the end-buyer’s unique scenario in mind when crafting your marketing efforts. What are their challenges and struggles? What are their pain points? How can you, specifically, help them solve and overcome them? More importantly, how can you convince them of your abilities and earn their trust?

You’re Not Alone

You don’t have to go it alone in aviation marketing. Our experts are here to help point you in the right direction — both on metrics and on strategy. Contact Haley Aerospace today for help with your 2019 aviation marketing.


How to Find (And Connect with) the Best Exhibitors for Your Brand at HELI-EXPO

Overwhelmed at HELI-EXPO? How to Find (And Connect with) the Best Exhibitors for Your Brand | Haley Aerospace Marketing

Next month’s 2019 HAI HELI-EXPO in Atlanta is sure to be an educational, productive and, hopefully, profitable event.

But with more than 700 exhibitors and 18,000 industry pros in attendance, it could also get overwhelming, too.

How do you know where to focus your efforts? What booths to spend your limited time on? Which exhibitors to explore partnerships or business relationships with?

This is the struggle of any modern trade show-goer — but it’s not one without a solution. Want to make sure you spend your time and resources as wisely as possible at this year’s 2019 HAI HELI-EXPO? These tips can help:

Study the exhibitor list ahead of time.

You don’t have to set aside hours to do this but take 30 or so minutes to browse the list and get familiar with at least the categories of exhibitors who will be at the event. Do it while waiting at the airport, when you’re on the plane or even just on the Uber ride over. If any names or booths stand out, jot them down on a notepad or on your phone. Make sure to include the booth number, if it’s available.

Go in with two or three overarching goals.

Having a few larger goals for the event can help you home in on the best exhibitors to spend your time with. Are you looking to for advanced avionics systems to upgrade your aircraft? Are you hoping to find a new distributor or part manufacturer with lower costs? Do you need consulting, marketing or branding assistance? Pick two to three overall goals for your visit and let those guide both the exhibitors you visit and the questions/concerns you bring up when you do.

Divide and conquer.

Instead of touring the expo in pairs or groups, give each member of team individual assignments — either a full hall or a handful of specific booths. Make sure to keep the assignments in their vein of expertise, though. Send your marketing director toward the advertising agencies you’d like to learn more about and send your CTO down the hall with the avionics manufacturers you’re considering. This divide-and-conquer method will help you make the most of your limited time on site.

Don’t get distracted.

It can be easy to get distracted at trade shows — especially ones like 2019 HAI HELI-EXPO that have mind-boggling (and massive) technological and aircraft displays to look at. Try not to spend too much time at these eye-catching displays (or worse, just waiting in line for them), and grab a brochure or flier instead. You can also snap a picture on your phone, so you can go back and check out the displays later on.

Stay tuned to social media.

Be sure to watch HAI’s social media, as well as the hashtag #haiexpo19 on Twitter. Not only can this keep you up to date on the latest happenings at the show, but it can also clue you into new exhibitors and booths you might not have heard of yet.

At the end of the day, it’s important to attend 2019 HAI HELI-EXPO with a plan. Know your goals for the trip, have a handful of must-see exhibitors and use your team to divide and conquer once you arrive. And remember, once you start talking with an exhibitor or vendor, if they don’t have the answers you want, or it doesn’t feel right, move on quickly. Your time is limited and wasting it on an exhibitor with no promise means less time with one who could actually help grow your business.

Want help with your next trade show? Want to learn more about our aviation marketing and branding services? Let’s connect in Atlanta next month. Contact us today to schedule a time.


5 Steps to Revitalizing (and Re-launching) an Old Brand

5 Steps to Revitalizing (and Re-launching) an Old Brand | Haley Aerospace Marketing

There comes a time in any brand’s story when it’s time for a change – time to kick things up a notch and remind everyone that you’re there and you’re special.

But breathing new life into an old brand is easier than said than done, especially if you’ve got a long-established company on your hands.

So, what’s the key to revitalizing your brand and re-launching it with success? Just follow these five steps:

1. Aim for real change.

Brand revitalization isn’t about doing the same old thing in a new way. It’s about re-inventing that old thing and bringing new value and meaning. It’s about evolution and realigning your values and mission with the changing trends of your industry – and audience. It requires rejecting the status quo, challenging your existing beliefs and stepping outside your comfort zone.

2. Get everyone on board.

Make people believe in your branding – both internally and externally. To do this, get others involved in your revitalization process. Bring in employees outside of your marketing department, and get people from all corners of the organization on board. Survey customers and members of your target audience about your efforts and get their input. Don’t do your rebranding in a vacuum!

3. Give your audience a reason to care.

You’re rebranding. So what? What’s in it for your audience? Why should they pay attention? More importantly, why shouldn’t the rebranding worry them? Many customers think there are problems afoot when you start touching an old brand. Put their minds at ease by building anticipation. Intrigue them and get them excited about the changes to come.

4. Be sweeping.

Revitalizing your brand takes more than just a logo update or a new slogan. It should affect everything you do across the organization – from the design and verbiage on your website to your sales and customer services processes. Align your internal resources to make sure your rebranding is comprehensive – and consistent.

5. Measure, test and measure some more.

Know your metrics and KPIs, and track how your rebranding impacts those. You might not hit the mark right off the bat – and that’s OK. Use data to make slight changes, re-calibrate and measure again, and eventually, you’ll land on something that hits home with your audience.

Want more help giving your old aerobrand new life? Haley Brand Aerospace can help. Get in touch with our branding experts today to get started.


Are You Making These Dangerous Aviation Branding Mistakes?

Are You Making These Dangerous Aviation Branding Mistakes? | Haley Aerospace and Aviation Marketing

It doesn’t matter how big your company is or how many products you’ve sold. In aviation branding, even the smallest mistakes can cost you.

We’ve seen it ourselves.

Want to make sure an aviation branding mishap doesn’t throw your company off course? Here are the biggest mistakes we’ve seen to date:

1. Thinking branding is a one-time to-do.

Too many companies approach branding as a one-time project – particularly in the old-school industry of aviation.

Though your organization certainly does need a physical, tangible branding suite with defined logos, colors and slogans, the work doesn’t stop once these are checked off your to-do list.

In fact, branding never stops.

That’s because branding isn’t just a noun. It’s a verb. It’s an ongoing effort to carve your company’s place in the world – to make it stand out in customers’ minds, to oust the competition, and to strengthen the unique message and value you have to offer. It requires constant work and attention, and it should be a factor in every effort you undertake.

2. Forgetting why you started.

Your company first started for a reason. Maybe there was a void in the market you wanted to fill, or maybe you found a way to do it better, bigger or faster. Maybe you just had a great passion for the industry. Whatever that reason was, it should remain at your company’s core today.

Your branding efforts should revolve around that original vision, and instilling that initial idea or passion within your customers should be the end goal. If it’s not, refocus on what makes your company who it is – and find ways to drive that home with your target audience.

3. Being too internally focused.

Your team might have great ideas, but if they don’t know who they’re talking to or what challenges that audience is facing, they’re never going to create branding strategies that truly resonate.

Great branding requires working from the outside in – understanding your customers’ needs, wants, desires and even demographics first, and then positioning your brand to meet those unique requirements in every way possible.

It might sound difficult, but the digital landscape we live in has made tuning in to customer feedback incredibly easy. Use social media, online reviews, surveys and other tools to really get to know your audience and what makes them tick.

4. Putting the branding burden on one department.

Branding isn’t an effort reserved just for your marketing department. It should drive every strategy across every division and team in your organization.

From sales and customer service to marketing and IT, every department needs to be on board with your branding, using it to create targeted, purposeful solutions that really resonate with your audience. In fact, representatives from each team should be involved in creating your branding, so that it truly speaks to your organization as a whole from the outset.

How Does Your Aviation Branding Stack Up?

Have you made any of these aviation branding mistakes? Want help honing in on the right strategy for your unique business and customers? We can help. Get in touch with Haley Aerospace & Aviation Marketing today.


Are You Committing Any of the Online Reputation Deadly Sins?

Are You Committing Any of the Online Reputation Deadly Sins? | Haley Aerospace Marketing

How well do you know your online reputation? How closely do you monitor it? If you’re iffy on either question, you’re likely killing your online reputation without even recognizing it.

We’ve seen it time and time again with our aviation and aerospace clients. Maybe they ignore a certain aspect of their online presence or they fail to put the right resources behind their social media accounts. Maybe they avoid Facebook or Twitter altogether just to steer clear of potential conflict.

There’s no doubt their intentions were good: They simply wanted an easier operation to manage or they wanted to avoid conflict in the public eye.

Sadly, in the end, these actions hurt more than help. In fact, they could even ruin your online reputation altogether.

Want to safeguard your online reputation? Here are just a few of the deadly sins you’ll want to avoid:

  • Failing to respond on social media – Social media platforms are as much for entertainment as they are for plain old customer service. If someone calls you out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or another social platform, don’t just ignore it, even if it’s bad or nonsensical. Remember, these are public forums. Everyone can see how you respond (or if you fail to respond altogether). No response gives potential customers insight into how you operate. If they do business with you, will you ignore their calls for help too?
  • Not being transparent online – Don’t have your team members listed on your website? Do you avoid posting photos from the office or behind the scenes? Is your voice bland and impersonal on social media? Today’s consumers are tired of those old walls between brand and customer. They want to get to know you. To understand your voice and your vision. Your values and your goals. If you don’t use your digital arsenal to give them a glimpse behind the curtain, you’ll come off as cold, sterile and unapproachable, the exact opposite of what today’s buyers want.
  • Ignoring bad reviews and ratings – You should be checking your reviews across Google, Yelp, Facebook, the Better Business Bureau and other major sites regularly. If you see a common thread of dissonance, address it head-on and quickly. You’d be surprised at how much weight those reviews and ratings hold; take action now, and start turning things around as soon as possible before they snowball.
  • Not staying on trend with design and layout – If your website looks like it’s straight out of 2002, with vertical menus and flash intros, then your online reputation’s shot already. If it doesn’t work on mobile devices, you might as well stop doing business. Clean, functional, mobile-friendly web design isn’t just nice to have nowadays; it’s a downright precursor to doing business. Work with an experienced agency ASAP to fix your site if you think it may be lacking. In today’s digital world, that’s your No. 1 marketing tool, so make sure it’s sensational.

If you’re guilty of any of these deadly sins, you could be hurting your online reputation right this very second. Want to fix it and get back on track? Get in touch with us today.


Meet Ken Koester: Haley Aerospace’s Branding Design Extraordinaire

Meet Ken Koester: Haley Aerospace’s Branding Design Extraordinaire | Haley Aerospace Marketing

It’s time for another behind-the-scenes peek at Haley Aerospace. Today, we’re sitting down with Ken Koester, senior design director and creative extraordinaire. He’s the talent behind much of the branding, advertising and marketing collateral we produce for our clients here at Haley, and he’s got more awards than we’ve got room to list!

Read on to learn a little more about Ken and what makes him tick.

Q. Where do you get your inspiration?

A. Generally, I get inspiration from anything that has a great idea behind it and is exceptionally well done. From fine art and graphic design to movies and music. Creatively, I like to immerse myself in the world of the client and the people who will encounter what we are creating.

Q. What design trends do you see coming down the pipeline in 2018?

A. I was glad to see, in the last year or so, the return to simplicity in identity design. Simple shapes, lines, type and forms either converged or played solo to create solid, lasting logos that are easily interpreted – and reproduced. I think we’re going to see a continued upswing and more attention given to those really simple elements in the coming year.

A fairly new result from the trend of responsive web design is companies refreshing their brand identities into modern, simplified versions. Creating a logo hierarchy that can meet the user demands of an endless assortment of devices and screen sizes. For instance, there’s Disney’s hierarchy of the “Walt Disney” full lockup logo with castle, just the “Walt Disney” logotype, just the “Disney” logotype and, most simply, just the “D” from the logotype.    

Q. What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever designed?

A. An invitation to the grand opening of a unique shopping mall built on the location where John Philip Sousa and his band originally played. The invitation was a small box that you were instructed to place on a flat surface. Then you opened it by pulling a side of the box down, and a marching band wind-up toy walked out. It took a lot of engineering and test mailings, but it resulted in a very successful mall opening.

Q. What are your biggest design pet peeves? The deadliest sins of design, in your opinion?

A. Using bad photography. Nothing can mess up good design quicker than having to use poorly photographed, low-resolution images. It is always better for a client’s brand image to shoot new professional photography that is unique to them, rather than relying on stock images.

Making a brand look like everybody else in an industry is a pet peeve too. The point should be for the company to be more memorable than the competition and stand out, not be camouflaged within the market.

Q. What’s the best part of being a designer?

A. Being a designer in the creative brand marketing business allows me to work in hundreds of different industries. I get to learn all about the operation, management, sales process and customers of completely different, but equally interesting, companies.

Q. What can clients expect when they use Haley Aerospace’s design services?

A. Integrity. Creativity. Friendliness.

Q. When did you know you wanted to be a designer?

A. My parents said it was when I tried to paint pictures with my baby food. However, my first recollection of being aware of good design was watching television and the opening titles to the great Stanley Kubrick movie Spartacus. I remember just being awed by the iconic and dramatically lit photography, along with beautiful typography (and, of course, the music). It wasn’t until I was in college that I learned it was designed by one of the greatest graphic designers of all time, Saul Bass.


We’ll be introducing you to more of the team here at Haley Aerospace in the coming months, so stay tuned to the blog and watch for our emails. You won’t want to miss it!


Building a Luxury Brand? Create Your ‘Tribe’

luxury brands

For luxury brands, the target customer is a minutely-drilled down avatar. It’s not just a “Millennial female in the Midwest,” but instead a “26 year-old female from St. Louis with an income of $100K or higher who’s interested in fashion, travel and shoes.”

It’s specific. It’s detailed. It’s exclusive.

At first glance, many marketers think appealing to more people is the best way – it means more potential, business (and more potential sales), right?

Logically, that seems correct, but in the luxury world, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

To build a luxury brand, you don’t want to reach the masses. You want to reach a small, highly qualified subset of people.

In fact, you may even want to take it one step further and, instead of just simply pulling in those who are qualified to be your brand’s customer, work on repelling those who aren’t.

Where Your ‘Tribe’ Comes In

There are a few ways you can think of “tribes.” There’s the age-old type – communities of indigenous people that span generations – or the new-age type – like crunchy yoga PTA moms or just the “tribe” of friends you regularly hit up $5 sushi night with.

Either way, these “tribes” are exclusive. They have a “you’re in or you’re out” mentality, and their doors aren’t open to just anyone. You have to meet certain qualifications, be they gender, income level, geographic location, or even something as superficial as hair color or weight.

In our increasingly politically correct world, making yourself this hard-lined exclusive can be scary. After all, won’t alienating people hurt your brand?

For your average brand – one that wants to appeal to everyone and get business equally across demos, yes, it very well may. But for a luxury brand? It can only help.

You see, building an exclusive tribe, a group that only a certain, limited amount of people can join, is a way to build standing for your brand. It makes you special. It makes you in-demand. It makes you a marker of status.

And, best of all, it makes customers come to you – not the other way around.

Do You Have a Tribe Yet?

You can be as subtle or as in-your-face as you like about your luxury brand’s exclusivity, but the goal is to build an “us” mentality with your tribe – a feeling of solidarity and similarity amongst those who belong to it.

Do it right, and you’ll have lifelong customers who are loyal to your brand and vocal about it in their circles. And that’s something any brand would want, luxury or not.

Do you need help building your brand’s tribe? Contact Haley Aerospace today. Our luxury branding experts can help.


For Customers, It’s All About the Journey


Having a great product or service is definitely crucial to a company’s success, but though customers come to you for those offerings, it’s not all about the end result for most.

Sure, that product or service will solve their problem or meet some need they have, but what really matters most to the customer? It’s the journey … the experience along the way.

Give them an experience that delights them, and they’ll be longtime buyers and brand advocates. Deliver an experience that lets them down, frustrates them or feels invaluable, and you can kiss their repeat business goodbye.

So, how exactly do you design a stellar customer journey? Here are the steps:

  1. Be proactive, not reactive. Know what it is your customers want, and deliver. Don’t make them ask for it. Anticipate what problems and frustrations they may have along the way, and take steps to prevent them before they happen. Think your airline’s customers will get frustrated with the time it takes to print out boarding passes? Enable QR code tickets so passengers can use their phones instead. Worried pilots will find your display too complicated to install? Include professional installation with every purchase.
  2. Be consistent. Deliver the same, reliable experience every time. Let customers know they can count on you for whatever you’re offering – anytime they need it. Align your processes and train your employees so that the customer experience is consistent across the board from A to Z.
  3. Know what you want out of the transaction. Do you want to make money off your ticket prices, or would you rather be a budget airline and make cash from food, beverage and upgrade sales in the air? Are you looking to get pilots to subscribe to your monthly fuel packages, or do you want to be an on-the-fly refueling solution when anyone needs it? Start with your goal, and then use that to point your customer experience in the right direction.
  4. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, and imagine how they feel at every step in their experience with you. Adjust the experience to avoid frustration and annoyance and increase delight and satisfaction. What could you do to make things easier? What could be changed to make the experience even better and richer?
  5. Know what’s expected. Make sure you’re delivering on your customer’s expectations. If they expect an easy, quick check-in process, no baggage fees and no delays, deliver on that. Customers don’t like to be surprised. They like to know what they’re getting, and then get just that – and more.
  6. Keep evolving. As customers and trends change, your experience will need to change too. Never stop measuring, analyzing and reviewing your customer experiences and making sure you’re still delighting them at every turn. That’s how long-term relationships are made!

What is your customer’s journey like? Are you giving them the five-star experience they deserve or are you sending them straight into the arms of your competitors? If you’re not sure or you think improvements could be made, contact Haley Aerospace today. We’re here to help.


Loyal Fans Carry the Brand


For a brand, the key to long-term, extended success is brand loyalty.

By building up a following of passionate, devoted fans, a company can virtually guarantee a long, profitable life for as long as those fans still exist … and as long as they’re kept happy.

But that’s easier said than done, isn’t it?

After all, customers are fickle beings. One minute, they like you, and the next, you’re yesterday’s news.

So, how can you ensure your brand continues to satisfy those who’ve helped it thrive – especially as the market, trends and society constantly shift and change?

There are a few things you can do:

  • Stay true to your original values and differentiators. If there is something that makes you stand out from your competitors – something that your customers love about your brand and have come to expect – make sure that it always motivates your strategic efforts. Sure, you can expand and evolve over the years, but don’t stray too far from what got you where you are today. Customers want consistency and reliability from their brands!
  • Don’t let budget break you down. We all have to cut costs sometimes. It’s just the nature of an economy that ebbs and flows. To ensure those harder times don’t break you, make sure to do some heavy research before cutting costs in any of your departments. You want to ensure your cuts aren’t going to negatively impact the value of your products or the services that your customers have come to expect. Long-term buyers will spot the difference right off the bat!
  • Avoid expanding too fast. There’s nothing wrong with adding more products to your line or expanding into other related services and offers. But try to temper expansion a bit, and give your customer base some time to adjust. Like I said, customers expect consistency. They don’t want a brand they’ve known and loved for three decades to suddenly up and do a 180. Expand and change in phases, and let your customers get used to each change before you move on to the next.
  • Always be in tune. Initial audience research is, of course, crucial to setting up your business. But it shouldn’t be a one-time thing. In fact, your influx of consumer data should be constant and year-round. You should be collecting, analyzing and acting on customer research every day you’re in business. That’s the only way to keep your ever-changing audience happy and coming back for more.
  • Stay in alignment. As your customer’s needs and attitudes shift, so should your operations – and across the board. Of course you’ll need to change up your marketing efforts to better reach your target buyers, but don’t forget to also shift how customer service works, sales, HR and more. They will all need to align with your new approach if you want to see success.
  • Build customer intimacy. Let your customers know you appreciate their business. Build relationships with them through social media, keep in touch via email, and approach them like an old friend by remembering their name, purchase history, preferences and more. You want them to love your brand so much they take ownership in it!

How loyal are your fans? Does your brand have long-term customers and repeat business? If not, it’s time to make some changes. Contact Haley Aerospace today, and we can help.



Stop the Scapegoating: Strategize Better Instead

brand positioning

When a business isn’t doing as well as higher-ups think (or simply wish) it should, there’s always somewhere to point the finger.

It’s the sales reps’ fault for not selling well enough. It’s the marketing team’s fault for not using the latest technology or tracking the right analytics. It’s the supply chain’s fault for not securing the right logistics.

Sure, some of these things may be true, but is any one of them THE reason for a less than stellar performance? Definitely not.

In fact, it’s probably a bigger, more overarching problem at hand: Your customer strategy’s not right.

But what does a good customer strategy look like, exactly? There are 7 facets:

  1. Picking the right customers. Targeting just any customer isn’t the way to success. In fact, going too broad with your target audience can actually hurt you in the end. Make sure you’re picking customers you can win over – ones who need your products, who have the money to pay your price and who fall in line with your brand lifestyle.
  2. Knowing your customer intimately. And that doesn’t just mean doing surveys and following your analytics. It means segmenting your audience and learning about each one’s individual needs, wants and preferences.
  3. Innovation. Your customers expect you to provide them with direction – to tell them when they should use new technologies and strategies and then how exactly to do that. They’re not going to come to you with every idea and just ask you to execute it. They want you to be innovative and keep them at the cusp of their industry.
  4. Consistency in value. It’s okay to offer tons of services and products, but make sure you’re consistently providing the same value with each of them. If you’re giving them budget-friendly products, stick with that on each new offering you launch. If you’re about style (think Apple’s clean, white design), make sure that style carries over across product lines.
  5. Consistency in experience. By that same token, be consistent on each channel you operate on. That includes your website, your brick-and-mortar stores, your sales reps and more.
  6. Your relationships. You’re more than just your organization. You also have vendors, business partners, suppliers, shipping providers and more. The strength of all these relationships carries down to your customers, so make sure you cultivate a great network of connections.
  7. Your organizational layout. Once you identify the right customers and know what each segment needs, it’s time to organize your business around them. Align your departments with your goals in mind, and appoint the proper employees and leaders to deliver on those goals.

Align these 7 things, and you’ve got a foolproof customer strategy on your hands. Need helping getting there or executing your strategy? Let Haley Aerospace help.


Find Your Customer Sweet Spot – and Make More Money

Customer sweet spot

Thanks to the web and the ease with which virtually anyone can sell a product or service online, the market is now more competitive than ever. Regardless of what you sell or what services you offer, there are likely hundreds, if not thousands, of others out there doing the exact same thing.

So how do you make a profit in an overly crowded market such as this? It’s simple: Just find your customer sweet spot.

Your customer sweet spot is where need, value and behavior come together. It’s those customers who need what you sell, buy in the methods you sell through and offer an opportunity for profit.

As with anything, good data and analytics is the key to nailing down these potential customers. You’ll want to consider:

  • Need – What businesses or clients need your products or services? Whose lives could be improved or made easier through your offerings?
  • Behavior – Which customers buy through your sales methods? Do they prefer phone calls with sales reps, in-person meetings or a more DIY online buying solution?
  • Value – How often do they need your products? Is there potential for a long-term relationship? Do they have the finances necessary to purchase your offerings?

Once you identify the targets whose needs, behavior and value match up with what you’re selling, it’s time to start tapping that market. Here’s how:

  1. Sell the solution, not the product. Any company can sell products, but solving someone’s problems? That’s of much higher value. Sure, the product is what is purchased – what earns you money – but for the customer, it’s way more than just a product they’re buying. It’s something to make their life easier, to please their clients or to help them overcome some sort of hurdle. Sell your offerings as problem solvers instead of products, and you’ll have much more success with those hard-to-reach customers.
  2. Educate and consult. Many of these potential customers have the need for your offerings, but they might not know it or be educated enough in your space to realize it. Instead of just outright selling and advertising, try taking a consultative approach. Train your reps to connect with potential buyers and help them identify their needs, problems and potential solutions. Shift their mindset, make them realize your products can help, and then close the sale.
  3. Establish plenty of touchpoints. If you want to reach these potential customers, building a relationship with them is crucial. The best way to do that? Touch base when them on multiple levels. Have sales reps reach out by phone to close the sales, assign customer service team members to check in and offer assistance once the purchase has been made, and send email updates to remind customers you’re there for them even months or years after the fact.
  4. Streamline your data. You can’t discover what these potential customers want, need or respond to without solid data. But more important than just having data collection processes in place is ensuring every team member has access to that data in one comprehensive platform. Try not to house your data in separate silos; it’s hard to discern trends and determine next best steps that way.
  5. Reward your team. Your success as a business ultimately comes down to your team – how hard they work and how much they feel driven to move your company forward. If you want them to be invested in your organization’s success as much as you are, give them a reason. Compensate them well, reward them with bonuses for jobs well done, and have incentives in place for big sales. If they have a personal stake in turning those leads into customers, they’ll be much better at doing it from day one.

Want help determining your customer sweet spot and tapping into your company’s true potential? Contact Haley Aerospace today. Our expert branding team is here to help.

Letting Your Brand Lead the Way

brand identity

Branding is more than just positioning your company in the marketplace. If you really drill down, branding can actually determine your company’s overall path – as well as its final destination.

Will it succeed and make endless profits for you and your shareholders? Or will it flounder and let your competitors take the reins?

Your branding decisions play a big role.

Branding’s Part in Your Business

At the heart of a business’s success is its ability to connect with the customer. But how, exactly, do you do that?

Through branding.

With thorough research, good data and solid, fact-based decision making, you can create branding that touches your customers…that gives them what they need, when they need it.

Your branding can get them excited, make them happy or make their lives easier. It can also make them feel a part of your brand and encourage repeat business and longtime customer loyalty.

And the best part?

Once you’ve developed a solid brand, that branding can drive any and all decisions you make. It can help you make decisions regarding products and marketing, finances and budgeting, and anything and everything in between.

And as long as your branding is still accurate and hitting the right marks for your customers, those decisions will always be good ones – ones that make you money and further your business.

If done right, your branding should spell out your:

  • Core beliefs and values
  • Key differentiators and benefits
  • Purchase drivers
  • Customer needs and wants

With all this information at your disposal, it’s easy to make decisions that are smart for your business. There’s no more shooting in the dark or playing the guessing game. You simply let your brand lead the way, and success is right down the road.

Become Brand-led

Is your branding leading the way? Is it well researched and well positioned enough to do so? If not, Haley Aerospace can help. Our expertise in the aviation and aerospace industries, coupled with our hands-on branding experience, can give you the tools you need to make the right decisions in all you do.




6 Strategies to Make Your B2B Brand Stand Out From the Pack

b2b brand

Even for B2B brands, standing out from the competition is important. Sure, there may be fewer competitors than on the B2C market and your buyers are likely a bit more educated and business-minded, but differentiating your products and services from others in the industry is still a crucial and vital part of long-term success.

Unfortunately, making a brand stand out is easier said than done – especially in the B2B world. With B2C products, a simple TV commercial or ad can do the job, but with B2B products, those strategies typically don’t reach the right type of buyer. Instead, you have to get a little more creative with your efforts.

Do you want to make sure your B2B brand is standing out from the competition? Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Use current events. A great way to draw attention to your B2B brand is to tie in your marketing and promotional efforts to a current event. A good example? The upcoming Summer Olympics or the big Oshkosh AirVenture convention! Build off the buzz that already exists for these events, and draw in some new customers as a result.
  • Create a new pricing strategy. B2B buyers are very price-minded, as not only are they working within a corporate budget, but they’re also considering how the prices they pay will trickle on down to the final consumer. If you want to stand out from other competitors in your space, try a new pricing strategy on for size. Offer a limited discount or promotion or add in a few valuable extras with your normal sales price.
  • Offer a freebie. Everyone enjoys free stuff, so use that to your advantage and create promotional giveaways you can hand out at trade shows, conferences and even in sales meetings. Just make sure it’s something your customers will use, so that it serves as a reminder of your brand on a regular basis.
  • Use social media to its full potential. Too many B2B brands simply use social media in a static, hands-off way. They post to it with company blogs and news occasionally, but they fail to use it as a real tool to connect with their customers or provide customer service. Start using your social media in real time, and use it to create conversations with customers – answer their questions, address their concerns, and react to their news and photos as they post them. That’s a definitive way to differentiate yourself from other B2Bs on the market.
  • Target a new niche. B2B brands are already pretty niched, but if you can find a niche within that niche, your B2B brand can stand out even more. Instead of targeting just pilots in general, try targeting pilots who value sustainability and green efforts. Instead of aiming your efforts at aircraft manufacturers, aim them at ones trying to creating smaller, more lightweight planes. The more niched your audience is, the better you can tailor your branding and marketing efforts to their needs.
  • Combine your efforts. In the B2B world, it’s all about who you know. Use that to your benefit. Try teaming up with another B2B provider in your industry and build off each other’s customer bases. Here’s a good example: If you sell in-flight dining services, team up with a company that offers private flight attendant services. Chances are, customers buying one service will need the other, so why not join up and make buying more convenient and effective for customers? It’s a win-win for both parties.

Standing out in the B2B world is hard, but it’s not impossible! Want help making sure your organization is making a splash in the industry? Contact Haley Aerospace today. Our experts are here for you.

Creating a Brand Strategy That Works for You

Brand Strategy

Every business owner wants to get their branding right. After all, it’s your branding that will resonate with consumers – what will make you stand out in their minds and make them choose your products and services over those of your competitors.

But nailing down branding isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s almost never easy – especially in our busy, marketing-filled world.

The truth is, before you can create a winning brand strategy, you really need to understand what makes a brand – the elements that come together to create a recognizable voice, face and personality for a company or business.

These brand strategy elements include:

  • Awareness – The buzz surrounding your brand and how well it is known and recognized by consumers – specifically those in your target audience.
  • Knowledge – What consumers know about your brand and the products and services it offers.
  • Image – What your brand looks and feels like – its colors, logos, slogans and other details that consumers can connect with.

Now, in order to create a great brand, you have to focus on improving all three of these elements – the awareness of your brand, the knowledge consumers have of it, and your image. And this can be done in a number of ways.

One of the best ways? That’s with qualitative research – focus groups, interviews and surveys conducted with your current and past customers. This research should help you get to know your target audience, as well as their needs and wants, and really nail down what place it is that you hold in the marketplace.

Once you’ve done research and are ready to start on strategizing, it’s time to go into testing mode. With every new tactic you try, test and monitor your results. Offer two or three versions of each ad, and see which ones resonate better with your audience and deliver better results. Keep tweaking and testing until you get the results you want. It may take a while, but testing is the only way to truly determine a strategy that works.

You can also use analytics, which allow you to monitor the success and performance of your efforts. How many opens is your email getting? Which links get more clicks? What ads and videos get more views? Use this information to learn more about your audience’s likes, needs and wants to keep improving your brand in your target buyers’ eyes. It may seem tedious, but I promise: It works!

I know it sounds like a tall order, but work hard to properly brand your company, and you’re set up for long-term, massive success. After all, only great brands can:

  • Stand the test of time
  • Command high prices for products and services
  • Increase annual profits and sales
  • Gain recognition and clout in the marketplace

Branding your company may be hard, but it’s not impossible. Want some expert help? Contact Haley Aerospace today. Our aviation marketing and branding pros are here to guide the way.

Mergers & Acquisitions: Branding’s Role in the Process

branding with mergers and acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions are a pretty common occurrence in the business world. Companies get bought out, they band together, and they form newer, larger and more comprehensive organizations that better serve their customers.

But while most executives have plans of action for M&As – how employees will be affected, what jobs will remain, and what will change from a production or service standpoint – branding efforts are rarely a part of that totem pole.

It’s a pity, too, because there’s no better time for branding than during a merger, acquisition or other big change at a company.

Why, you ask? Because it’s a clean slate.

It’s an opportunity to start anew – to create a new voice, a new personality and a new movement your customers and target buyers can get behind. And if branding is considered and prioritized during these hectic times, it can mean the difference between a wildly successful merger and one that falls flat for all organizations involved.

Is your company going through a merger or acquisition? Want to make sure you’re making branding a part of the overall plan? Here’s what you should do:

  • Plan ahead – Start early and plan for branding efforts long before your merger or acquisition is executed. Make it a priority and get your entire marketing and PR team involved from the very beginning.
  • Recognize changes – Consider how your organization will change once the merger or acquisition has occurred. These changes are what you can capitalize on – what you can sell in your new messaging to buyers and customers in need. While some changes call for simple changes in messaging or product offerings, others require more major branding work – maybe even a new name and logo.
  • Know your audience – Be aware of what your audience will be once the transition is complete. Sometimes, you may have the same target buyer as before. If so, great! Many times, however, you’ll have a different set of buyers you’re after – or at least an expanded one. These new buyers need to be considered in all branding efforts moving forward.
  • Identify opportunities – Finally, try to recognize the opportunities that will come from your transition. Could you market in a new venue? Could you sell add-on products or services? Could you expand your profits and sales in other ways? Know these opportunities, and use your branding to help seize them.

If you’re planning a merger or acquisition in the near future, don’t let branding be an afterthought. If done properly, updating your branding during a big transition can actually help your company in the long run. Not sure where to start? Contact the branding experts at Haley Aerospace today.

Is Your Brand Positioned for Success? (Part 2)

brand positioning

Last time we connected, I talked about the importance of branding and presented a few different strategies for positioning your brand within the marketplace – and in your consumers’ minds.

I also gave you six routes to take for handling your company’s brand positioning. Choose the right one, and your brand is on the fast track to success. Choose the wrong one, and you could very well be doomed – doomed to blend into the busy marketplace and let your competitors take the spotlight.

So how do you choose the right one and make sure you don’t fall into the former camp? That’s simple: Just know your audience.

This is the key to any sort of branding success, because before you can connect with your audience in a way that resonates with them and stands out to them, you first have to get into their heads. You have to learn their fears, their wants, their needs and connect with them in a deep and meaningful way.

Not sure how to get to know your audience and determine the best positioning method for your brand? Here are a few strategies you can try:

  • Surveys and interviews with past and current clients Find out what they know about your brand, why they’ve come to you, what their needs are and what challenges they’re facing.
  • A/B testing Try your next marketing campaign by coming at it from two different positions. Monitor the reactions on both sides of the coin, and see which positioning fares better. If neither does great, keep tweaking your positioning until you get it right.
  • Focus groups – Get to know the general marketplace you’re entering into. What do consumers associate with products and services in your space? What do they like and dislike about them? What are the problems they see? How do they choose which products to use and what makes them prefer one brand above another?
  • Innovation and concept testing – If you’ve got some extra resources, find some highly creative members of your target audience and get them involved in the positioning of your brand. Tap them for ideas, use them to generate ideas and strategies, and then use other members of the audience to test those ideas and flesh them out. Who better to tell you how to reach an audience than a member of it?

Once you’ve taken these steps and really gotten to know your audience, you can then choose the proper type of positioning and begin connecting with that audience in a real and memorable way.

Let’s look at an example in the aerospace and aviation world. Say you run a flight support services company. Rather than throwing your marketing messages out into the abyss and hoping you hit the right mark, you could target a higher-end audience and position your brand as a luxury – an add-on that can make high-end clients’ travels easier, more convenient and more attractive.

By positioning your brand in such a way, you can start to connect with your target audience and pivot all your marketing messages so they meet their discerning needs – the need for a five-star flight experience and the need for top-shelf convenience and comfort that only money can buy.

Do you know your target audience? Want help getting to know them or choosing the right position for your brand? Our aviation branding experts are here to help. Just shoot me an email, and we can get started on your strategy right away.

Is Your Brand Positioned for Success? (Part 1)

brand positioning

When it comes to branding, the true key to success stems from your brand positioning – the place you hold in the marketplace and, more importantly, in your target audience’s mind.

You see, our world is filled with brands, companies and advertising. Customers are bombarded left and right with marketing messages and it can often be pretty hard for any single brand to stand out among the clutter.

The brands that do stand out do so because of brand positioning.

Somehow, they’ve managed to occupy a unique position in the customer’s mind; they’ve connected with some deeper need or want, and they’ve managed to carve out a permanent place in the person’s consciousness.

Does your brand do that? Does it stand out amongst the clutter? Or does it simply blend in, using the same old tactics and marketing strategies that every other brand on the market is using?

If you’re not sure, then the answer probably isn’t good. Fortunately, pivoting your position and turning your brand around is actually quite simple.

The first place to start is to decide what type of positioning is best for your company. In general, there are six types of positioning you can opt for:

  • Geographic positioning targets an audience in a specific geographic area. This is a great option for aviation, aerospace and travel companies, as they’re often targeting travelers and clients in very specific areas of the country.
  • Distribution positioning targets an audience based on how your product or service is distributed. This can vary greatly and can factor in what season your products are used in, what type of weather your planes or products fly best in and other changing variables.
  • Psychographic positioning targets an audience based on some psychological fear or need they have. A good example would be a product that has green or environmentally friendly benefits or luxury goods that target higher-end clients.
  • Broad market positioning involves targeting a broad audience, rather than a very niche one. An example would be a plane manufacturer that, instead of positioning itself as a substitute for other plane brands, positions itself as a substitute for all methods of travel – helicopter, car, bike, train and more.
  • Price positioning involves targeting an audience based on their budget or price.
  • Usage positioning targets an audience based on one specific usage. A good example would be an airline that targets only business travelers or travelers with pets.

While many of these can work for many brands, it takes nailing down the perfect position if you really want to see branding success. And the way to do that is by getting to know your target audience.

Want to do that and get your brand positioning down pat? Make sure to check back for part 2 of this series! Until then, check out for more branding blogs.

5 Ways to Stop Brand Decline in Its Tracks

brand decline

Every great brand has experienced a slump now and then. Maybe a new and trendsetting competitor has hit the market, maybe consumer income or economics have changed, or maybe your products and services just aren’t hitting the mark anymore.

Whatever the reason, a little brand decline doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel. In fact, it can actually present a great opportunity to step back, reevaluate and pivot your brand so that it’s more effective and profitable in the long run.

Is your brand in a bit of a slump lately? Are sales stagnant or are new customers nowhere to be seen? Here are a few ways you can stop brand decline and get your organization back on track in no time:

  • Talk to your customers. Take time to talk to the customers you still have, and get a feel for how your brand is perceived. Why are they still buying from you? What need do you serve for them? Why did they choose you over a competitor? Tap into what it is that is inspiring those buyers (even if it’s only a few!) to choose your brand, and use that information to realign your branding with those customers. There’s a big chance you’re simply targeting the wrong audience with your branding, so a few insight-driven tweaks can go a long way.
  • Tune in. Pay attention to what’s being said about you online and in social media. Are there lots of complaints about customer service, shipping or how your products and services work? Is there talk about how X product is better than yours? Check out Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and other online venues, and tune in to the conversation. Find out what’s being said about you and what you can do to change it.
  • Loop in your employees. Your team members are probably well aware of the problems that exist with your brand. They may have heard about it on customer service calls, in sales meetings with potential clients or anywhere else in the sales or marketing pipeline. Take time to talk with your team and find out what they know. What do they think is going wrong? What do they suggest could remedy the decline and help you better serve your customers? Get input from every department if possible.
  • Check out the competition. If there’s another brand out there giving you a run for your money, make a study of them. What are they doing differently? What makes their products or services stand out? Are there any gaps or holes in their marketing or sales efforts that you can spot? What you learn may offer you a good opportunity to swoop in and steal some customers.
  • Make a splash. A great way to ramp up excitement about your brand is to take a new visual approach. Redesign your packaging or labels, redo your logo and make some other eye-catching statement that makes you stand out from the pack. Make sure it’s unique and distinguishable from your original branding, and really try and go out on a limb – do something different and unexpected.

If you think your brand may be in decline, you never want to sit idly by. Start analyzing the marketplace, the conversation and your customers, and take a step back to reevaluate your branding efforts in light of all that. Need help? Want to get your brand back on the track to success? Contact Haley Aerospace today.

4 Signs You Chose the Wrong Branding Agency

branding agency

Recognizing that your branding needs work is only the first step toward success.

Once you do that, you still have to find a good branding agency, work with them on perfecting the best possible look and feel and, finally, launch that new branding to your customers and employees.

It’s a long road ahead. And unfortunately, if you fail to choose the right branding agency, it can be a doomed venture from the get-go.

Are you currently looking for a branding agency to help brand or rebrand your company? Have you already settled on one to guide you through? Here are a few signs they might not be the right fit:

  1. Their branding’s not up to snuff. To really evaluate an agency’s abilities, look at their own branding. Does it look modern and in line with today’s trends? Have they carried that branding across all platforms, like their website, blog, social accounts and more? Does their brand say something and speak to customers? Chances are, if they can’t create a brand that works for their own agency, they can’t do it for you either.
  2. They’re not doing any research. Did your branding agency start sending you mock-ups and design ideas right off the bat? Consider that a major red flag. No branding work should be done without some serious research first. That means talking to your customers, your employees and anyone else the new branding will target. If a research phase isn’t included in your agency’s plans, it might be time to look elsewhere.
  3. They don’t have a varied team. A branding agency of 2 people isn’t going to cut it, because branding is a multifaceted genre. It requires great marketing tactics, killer research skills, top-notch graphic design chops, and a stellar digital strategy to boot. Look for agencies that boast a varied team of professionals – people who are great at marketing, design, copywriting, digital and more. Together, they will make your branding better and stronger in the long run.
  4. They don’t know your marketplace. If you can find a branding agency that specializes in your marketplace, you’re already 5 steps ahead. Sure, you could go with someone who has their hands in many buckets, but if you really want someone who gets your space, your customers and how to reach those customers, then choosing someone with real industry experience is key. If your agency doesn’t have past clients in your sector or they simply don’t specialize in anything, you may want to head back to the drawing board. A specialty agency can take your new brand so much further.

Your branding plays a huge role in your company’s success. It’s what potential clients experience when they come to your website, connect with you on social media or even just call you up on the phone. If it’s not done perfectly, it could mean a lost sale, or worse, a dinged reputation.

Don’t let your branding be your downfall. Make sure you choose the right branding agency to help guide the way. Contact Haley Aerospace to learn more today.