Category Archives: branding

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!

 

Does Your Logo Have $$ Value? A Lesson in Great Aerospace Branding

Does Your Logo Have $$ Value? A Lesson in Great Aerospace Branding | Haley Aerospace Branding

We tend to create logos and then forget them.

That’s likely why some long-standing aerospace brands still have the same logos and branding they did decades ago.

They might not think we notice … but we do.

Like anything, design trends come and go. And when a logo is outdated, old and passé – it’s noticeable, big-time. And it can have huge impacts on a brand’s perceived value and worth, especially with new and potential customers.

Think of it this way: A logo is usually someone’s first impression of your brand. If you sell high-tech aerospace systems but your branding screams of the 1960s, do you think customers will see you as a leading, tech-savvy company? Likely not.

Do you think they’ll deem you worthy of their hard-earned dollars and business? Another big no.

And that’s because it’s pretty simple. Your logo conveys your value. Your worth. Your virtue.

How Much Should Your Logo Cost?

Knowing that your logo plays a huge role in how your brand’s value is perceived, it’s pretty obvious that you should devote some serious effort and resources when creating yours.

But how much should you spend? And how often should you spend on it?

There’s really no way to quantify how much you should spend on a logo, but there is one thing that’s certain: It should never be a one-off commitment. Having a current, high-quality and relevant logo requires regular upkeep, and you’ll want to have an aerospace branding designer on hand (or at least on retainer) to make that happen.

Try to give your logo a refresh every few years to keep it in line with current trends – even if it’s just a minor change of fonts or hues. You should also consider updating your logo if you’re pivoting your services or products, or if you’re making any major changes in the organization. Your logo should always reflect your brand in its current state, giving potential customers an honest, transparent peek at what you have to offer.

Giving Your Logo Value

So how do you ensure your logo conveys the right value proposition for your brand? And that it’s worth the consistent investment of time and personnel resources over time?

Here are a few tips:

  • Know what different colors convey – Different colors convey different meanings, so be sure to choose your logo colors carefully. Here’s a quick and dirty guide.
  • Make sure your logo effectively and accurately represents your products/services – Don’t mislead or steer customers in the wrong direction. They should be able to glean who you are and what you do just by looking at your logo.
  • Make it stand out – You want to be accepted by your target audience and the marketplace, but you don’t want your logo to look exactly the same as everyone else’s. Your logo should be your differentiator, telling customers why they should choose you over a competitor.
  • Be consistent – Use your logo consistently across all your marketing, advertising and branding efforts. Consistency is key in improving brand recognition and value.

In the end, your logo is one of the most important elements of your branding, so don’t brush it off. Whether you’re a brand just starting off or you’ve been around for decades, devote some time and energy to really perfecting your logo and aligning it with your products, services and value proposition.

Need aerospace branding or logo guidance? Haley Aerospace is here to help.

 

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

Customers

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

loyalty

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.

 

 

 

The Importance of Employee Branding to B2B Success

employee branding

Few business owners recognize this, but there are actually two facets of branding: There’s the brand you present to your customers, and there’s the brand you present to your employees (or potential employees).

Though many think that the consumer-facing branding is most important (after all, it’s what brings in the money, right?), in reality, that’s far from true. In the long run, it’s actually your employee-facing branding that’s most important by a landslide.

You see, it’s your employees who ultimately create, control and manage your consumer-facing brand. If your employee-facing branding doesn’t draw in workers that are well equipped to handle those tasks, then your consumer brand is set up to fail from the very get-go.

It’s a little confusing, but let me boil it down for you:

  • Your employees create your brand – The branding you present to customers and potential buyers is ultimately devised and created by the employees you hire – the marketers, the designers, the executives, etc., that work for you. In order to be able to create a strong, effective brand, your employee-facing brand has to draw in new hires that have the knowledge and creative capacity to do that!
  • Your employees manage your brand – Even once your consumer-facing branding has been established, your employees still play a huge role in how the branding plays out. They’re the ones who convey it through advertising and marketing efforts, they translate it into social media posts, and they promote it on customer service calls and in sales meetings. Your employee-facing branding needs to attract workers who share the values of your brand and are equipped to properly manage and promote your consumer-facing branding to others.
  • Your employees control your brand – If there’s ever a need for a rebranding or new positioning, it’s your employees who will recognize that need and make that decision. If you want in-tune workers who can spot a lagging brand and devise creative, innovative ways to fix it, your employee-facing branding needs to draw in that type of talent.

It’s pretty simple when you think about it: You can’t create or promote a great brand without great employees, and you can’t get great employees without spot-on employee branding.

So what do you need to do to ensure your employee-facing branding is bringing in the right types of talent? I’ll do a full post on that in the coming months, but in a nutshell, you want to brand yourself as a great place to work – somewhere that fosters creativity, values hard work and innovation, and offers a rewarding, enriching atmosphere in which to spend the day. You want to steer clear of being just a “9-to-5” for employees and brand your organization as a place where workers can learn, grow and thrive for the long term.

How’s Your Employee Branding Doing?

What does your employee-facing branding look like? Is it drawing in the right talent to ensure your consumer-facing efforts are at their most effective? If not, it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate. Contact Haley Aerospace today for help.

 

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 HaleyAerospace.com 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.

7 B2B Branding Mantras to Live By

branding mantras

Who better to learn from than those who came before us?

Here at Haley Aerospace, we know we’re experts at B2B branding and marketing, but we also recognize that we weren’t the first to do it.

Hundreds and hundreds of other marketers came before us, and thousands more will come after us. While each one offers something a little bit different, they all have their own unique set of skills, knowledge and experience we can learn from – things we can take, pivot from and use in our own daily work to improve our branding efforts and those of our clients.

That’s what today’s post is all about – learning from those experts who came before us, and discovering new insights that can take our branding efforts further and improve our results in the long term.

Do you want to learn from B2B branding’s best, brightest and most experienced? Here are 7 mantras and quotes from downright experts. Start using them in your own branding efforts today (we know we certainly will!):

  1. “It’s fascinating how the fundamentals of business-to-business marketing are the same today as they were 50 years ago. It’s still about relationships although today we have new tools and techniques at our disposal.” This David Meerman Scott quote is just a friendly reminder that despite all the technological changes our society has experienced, B2B branding is still, at its heart, the same as it was many years ago. We still need to put relationships first and remember that while our clients may represent big businesses, they’re still just people. They want a connection to the products they buy and the brands they buy from.
  2. “88% of executive buyers want a conversation, not a presentation.” This is in the same vein as Scott’s quote, but it really drives home the point well: Just because a buyer is a C-level exec or purchasing on a large scale for a massive corporation doesn’t mean they want to be sold to like a business. They want to be talked to like a human being, with their questions answered and their concerns addressed. They want to know the person they’re buying from cares about their needs and wants.
  3. Will B2B buyers find your company if they put your industry’s frequent search queries into a search engine? Your website only works when it is seen by potential prospects and leads. Most people find websites by using search engines.” Said by Thomas Schmitz, this quote reminds us of the hugely important role that SEO plays in the B2B world. Too many B2B brands get swept up in the world of trade shows, convention and cold-calling, and they forget that much of today’s lead generation happens solely online. If SEO isn’t a part of your branding efforts, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate.
  4. Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” A quote from none other than Bill Gates, this one is crucial for B2B companies, who often try to hide away even the slightest negative comment or feedback from their customers. While bad feedback is never fun to take, it’s actually the best way to learn and improve our brands. It gives us insight into what we could do better, and in a highly transparent online world, it also gives us the chance to be more authentic, winning customer trust and respect at the same time.
  5. “Whether you’re in the B2B or B2C sales side and whether or not your product is a cheap impulse buy or a multimillion-dollar long-term sales cycle, your business is now – without a doubt – a media company as well.” With this quote, Mitch Joel reminds us of the massive role media plays in the branding world nowadays. No matter what type of company you consider yourself (aviation, aerospace, defense, etc.), your organization also needs to be a “media” company. It needs to use the web, social media, content and the digital landscape to connect with buyers, and it needs to do so better than the competition if it wants to survive.
  6. “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” It can be hard to grasp, but even though we create our branding personas, we don’t have full control over them. In the end, our true brand is how we’re perceived – what the end buyer thinks of us and tells their friends about us. For this reason, it’s important we don’t just focus on the nitty-gritty of branding – the colors, logos, etc. – but also the way our branding makes people feel … the experience it delivers. That’s what will last in buyers’ minds.
  7. “Marketing is what you do. Branding is what you are.” I often see branding and marketing mixed up, when the two really couldn’t be more different. While marketing is certainly important, helping you draw in more customers and sales, the real success of your company lies in your branding. That’s who you are to your customers – how you make them feel and what you stand for. In the long term, that’s what will keep you alive.

These are just a few of my favorite B2B branding mantras. Have more to add to the list? Let me know. Want to discuss improving your company’s branding? Contact Haley Aerospace today.

5 Branding Mistakes That Turn Customers Away

branding

Great branding can be a good way to attract customers, encourage them to buy and even turn them into long-term advocates for your company. But bad branding? Well, that can do the exact opposite, pushing customers into the arms of your competitors and eating into your profits and sales.

Sadly, most companies fall into the latter camp, making small but dangerous branding mistakes that threaten their sales and the overall health of their organization.

Want to make sure you don’t do the same? Take steps to avoid these 5 big branding no-nos:

1. Being confusing or vague. The whole point of branding is to establish a persona for your company – a clear-cut who, what, why and how for your organization. Good branding should tell customers what you stand for, what your values are and what you have to offer. If your branding is confusing, overcomplicated or, even worse, too vague, and these points don’t come across, then you may as well just hand the sale over to your biggest competitor.

2. Looking outdated. You definitely want your branding to stay consistent, but that doesn’t mean your logos, website and marketing materials should stay the same for decades. In fact, in today’s high-tech age, there’s no bigger turn-off than an old, out-of-touch-looking brand! Branding should be updated every few years for every company (no matter what!), so that it still resonates with the target demo as well as industry trends and expectations. Don’t ever let your branding get stale or tired!

3. Doing too much. The best brands are simple and easy to take in and understand. You might think it is clever to have a different slogan for every commercial you run or ad you place, but in reality it just muddles the brand and overwhelms the customer. Stick to driving home one logo, one slogan, one motto and one brand persona, and don’t try to do too much. Branding is about making the right moves, not making more moves.

4. Not knowing your audience. I talked about being out of touch on graphics, logos and your website, but being out of touch with your audience is even worse. You don’t want your latest campaign to illicit eye-rolls from the very people you’re looking to connect with, so make sure you always know who your audience is, what they’re looking for and what’s important to them at that very moment. This goes for big-scale marketing and advertising campaigns, as well as for simple things like social media posts, email newsletters or even your latest sale.

5. Being too jargon-y. This is a big one for B2B brands who often think that the more industry lingo and mumbo-jumbo they throw in, the more their customers will want to buy from them. The fact is, jargon is a turn-off. Even if your customers know and understand the terms you’re using, it makes your brand feel less accessible – less human. And in the end, people want to buy from people – not cold, faceless entities!

Are you making any of these big branding mistakes? If so, we can help. The branding experts here at Haley Aerospace have helped dozens of B2B brands get back on track and connect with their audiences. Want to do the same? Contact us today to get started.

How to Make Your Brand Memorable

branding

When you boil it down, the whole goal of branding is to make your company memorable – to ensure it stands out from the pack and stands out in the minds of your customers.

If it’s not doing that – what’s the point?

Sure, your brand might look cool, but if it doesn’t get customers behind your brand for the long haul, it’s really just a waste of time and energy. In fact, it could actually be helping your competitors get ahead.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to ensure you’re not just shouting your branding into the void – that it’s sticking, standing out and making an impact on your target audience. Want to make sure yours is doing just that? Follow these tips:

Interact with them – Forget just posting about sales and pushing promos onto your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Use your social media (as well as other venues) to really interact and get to know your customers. People remember how a brand makes them feel – not what a brand says or does.

Know who you’re talking to – It’s crucial you have an intimate knowledge of your target audience before branching into any sort of branding work. That’s because your branding should resonate with your customers on every level – whether it’s the color of your logo, the verbiage of your slogan or even just the way your website is laid out and organized. You need to know who those customers are, what they’re looking for, and what they want. That’s the only way to deliver a memorable experience from start to finish.

Share their values – Stand for a cause or a way of life – something your customers care about and value. This humanizes your brand, giving it more of a personality and making it more of a “who” than a “what.” That’s something customers can truly connect with.

Become a part of their life – Make your brand more about a lifestyle than any certain product or service. Promote a way of living that resonates with your customers, and show them all the ways you can help them live that life to the fullest.

Always deliver – No matter what platform you’re interacting with a customer on – be it online in the sales process or in-store at a customer service desk – always deliver 100 percent satisfaction. Be friendly, stay in line with your brand, and make sure they leave happier than they came in. Like I said, customers remember how you make them feel. Anything other than happiness just won’t do the trick!

Get on their level – Don’t ever talk down to or at your customers. Talk with them. Use the language and slang they’re comfortable with, and ask them questions, get their feedback and bring them into the conversation like they’re a real, true part of your brand. Because let’s face it: They are. They’re the most important piece of the entire puzzle!

Is your brand as memorable as it could be? If not, you may just need a few minor tweaks to bring it to its full potential. Want help? Contact the experts at Haley Aerospace today.

The Key Components of Luxury Branding

luxury branding

Many aerospace and aviation brands are considered “luxury.” They’re expensive, they’re aimed at not-your-average American, and they’re something only a certain sector of the population needs (or can even afford).

Because of this, luxury brands require a different approach strategy-wise. You can’t go about their branding, marketing or advertising efforts as you would any old off-the-shelf product or company, but instead you need a more targeted method – a niche tactic aimed at reaching only a very small sector of the world.

That’s a stark difference for many marketers. As with most products, you’re looking to reach as many people in as many places as possible. While luxury brands still want lots of buyers, they also need to realize that not everyone has the potential to become one. Because of their price points or the products and services they offer in general, many luxury brands are just simply out of the question for the bulk of the world’s customers.

It’s sort of like “anti-marketing.” Instead of throwing a blanket brand out there that’s designed to include anyone and everyone, you’re creating something exclusive – something you don’t want everyone to feel welcome joining, buying or doing. It can feel wrong at first – like being the bully at the lunch table – but once you get the hang of it, it can help drive luxury sales through the roof.

Would you consider your brand a “luxury” one? Do you sell services, products or parts not designed for your average American buyer? If so, keep these key points in mind when branding or marketing your company:

Don’t advertise to sell.

Commercials, billboards, print ads – those are all fine to invest in, but don’t create them with the idea of selling a product in mind. Instead, use that ad space to show potential buyers “the dream.” Use it to show people the expensive luxury lifestyle your products and services can offer them. Sell aircraft? Show them what life is like with your own private plane. Offer in-air dining options? Let them see what a five-course meal in the sky is like. Most luxury buyers buy into an experience rather than specific products or offerings.

Get detailed.

With most products, buyers don’t care about where it was made, who made it or what parts were used, but luxury buyers give these details serious weight. They love to know their purchases were made somewhere exclusive or touched by the hands of a known expert. Communicate these unique details about your offerings, and make those buyers feel even more luxurious and exclusive than they already are.

Deliver a VIP experience.

Buyers expect a VIP experience throughout their entire relationship with a luxury brand. From the first visit to the website or the purchase of a product to a customer service call or repeat purchase down the line, they want to know their business is valued, important and not something the brand takes lightly. Make sure your luxury brand invests in the proper resources to deliver this sort of experience – plenty of service reps and salespeople, a five-star online presence, killer marketers, and more.

Do you have a luxury brand? Are your products and services doing as well as they should be? If not, give Haley Aerospace a call. We know luxury brands – and we know aviation. We can help!

Branding vs. Marketing: Is There Really a Difference?

branding vs marketing.

When I first talk to new customers about branding, they think one of two things: 1) that marketing and branding are the same thing … simply shouting out to the world why your brand is best and drawing in customers and potential buyers or 2) that branding is a sect of marketing – a smaller, more specific niche of a broader effort to build your customer base.

Unfortunately, both of these assumptions are wrong.

The latter, at least, is in the right vein, but it has the roles reversed. You see, branding isn’t a subset of marketing. Nope! It’s actually the other way around.

Marketing is a subset of branding!

It sounds crazy, because most people hear a lot more about marketing than branding. They think branding is some new-fangled idea brought about in the last couple of decades to help companies make a splash in today’s overly commercialized world. But in reality, branding has been around as long as time. It’s marketing that’s new – and marketing that offers less return for companies that invest in it.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at a few of the key differences between marketing and branding:

  1. Getting customers vs. keeping customers – Marketing is all about the act of getting customers – getting them to notice you, to need you and to buy into what you’re selling. While branding helps you get customers as well, it’s also about keeping those customers – and turning them into advocates who will bring others on board too. It’s a much more all-inclusive effort that can lead to more success in the long run.
  2. Push vs. pull – Marketing is a “push” effort – pushing your product, service or brand onto potential customers. Branding is more of a “pull” – developing a lifestyle that customers want to buy into and become a part of on their own accord.
  3. Strategic vs. tactical – While marketing is more of a tactical effort – a quick action to get a desired result – branding is more strategic, aiming to build up a long-term base of loyal, passionate customers who shout your name from the rooftops.
  4. Activation vs. advocacy – In terms of buyers and potential customers, marketing simply activates those people, turning them from onlookers into real, paying clients. Branding, on the other hand, does more than that. Rather than just getting them to buy a product, it gets them to buy into the organization itself. It creates passionate advocates who want to see your brand succeed and will stop at nothing to make that happen.

Most importantly, branding precedes marketing. You can’t have a good marketing campaign without first establishing a solid brand – a brand with a personality, a voice and a face that customers can get behind. Great branding is the keystone of any effective marketing campaign, and it’s something you should invest ample time and resources into before throwing your money toward advertising or other lead-generation strategies.

Need help perfecting your brand? Contact the B2B branding experts at Haley Aerospace today. We’re here to help.