Why Do Some Aviation Companies Have A Weak Brand?

I argued yesterday the benefits of having a strong company brand are both clear and substantial, and offered up a couple of prime examples in Gulfstream Aerospace and Garmin. I ended with the observation that you might think that every company would strive to develop a strong brand, or at least actively set out to do so. 

But, as we know, there are companies that have weak brands, and it’s a worthwhile question to ask why that is the case.

In my experience there are at least four reasons:

  1. Some aviation companies prioritize an engineering mindset, at the expense of marketing. Since the days of the Wright Flyer, the focus of the mechanical engineers (and their progeny, aeronautical engineers) who build airplanes is the tangible flying machine, more so than the less tangible brand engine.
  2. Some don’t pay effective attention to a changing environment: changes in the political, cultural, economic spheres, changes in competition, and, perhaps most important, changes in customer needs and desires.
  3. Some focus on products, rather than a brand platform that products emerge from.  Take the example of Apple, which most will know: years ago, Apple was the IIc, Lisa and Newton; then the Macintosh; now, MacBook Air, iPhone, iPad, Watch. The products completely different, but the Apple brand – laser focused on ease of use, functionality, world class design – has been consistent yet remarkably attuned to the world around it.
  4. Last – and perhaps this should be at the top of the list – some just don’t invest in the people, processes and resources needed to develop a company environment in which a strong brand can be nurtured and then thrive.

Do you believe your company has a strong brand? 

Or a decent brand that could be better?

Or – okay, it’s not that great.

If you checked #2 or #3, you’ll be interested in what I’ll suggest tomorrow: the minimum you need to have a competitive brand.

Mark Ryan

March 2020