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Your Brand and Business Aviation: Part Two: Public and Internal Communications

Posted on: March 23rd, 2014 by Pete Agur

World Aircraft Sales October 2013Part I of this article addressed the policies that allow your aviation services to withstand the light of day.  If you are doing nothing wrong, legally or ethically, then your use of aviation services is defensible.  But why wait to be on the defense?  In fact, I hate the idea of “defending” the use of Business Aviation.

First, it assumes you need to “defend” something, as in… it may be inappropriate.  Do you defend your company’s use of cars and trucks, information systems or corporate facilities?  Of course not.  They are all essential to your business.  Would you be able to do business without them?  You could make do, but the burden would cripple your competitive position and cost you more than your savings.  The same goes for your Business Aviation services.  The benefits are amazing and most often measured on the bottom line in added revenues and more productivity by the people onboard.  All of which greatly exceed the cost of the aircraft.

Second, the most valuable resource your company has is its high-impact people.  The ones who make the business happen.  The deal makers and “firefighters.”  These people have a huge influence on corporate profits through their efforts.  Yet you have very few of these people.  So, getting them to where the action is and back home to keep them fresh achieves your company’s goals.  An average domestic airline leg requires at least three more hours, door-to-door, than a business aircraft.  To say nothing of key travelers staying connected while en route as they work in privacy.  If your CEO is taking 30 trips each year that equates to a minimum of 60 legs and 180 hours of lost time on the airlines.  That means, by using Business Aviation, each key traveler saves about four work weeks each year.  Multiply that by the entire user group, and the use of Business Aviation becomes compelling.

That is the story of your use of Business Aviation.  How do you tell it?  How do you manage your private and public communications about Business Aviation?  Cary Pfeffer is the founder of ClearComm Consulting .  Cary helps his clients deal effectively with planned and unplanned critical communications issues.  Here are his specific guidelines.

 

  • ”Get out front!”  It’s the single best way to set the tone for the debate.  If you have been silent and anyone – internally or externally – goes on the attack, you are already behind and probably losing ground steadily.

 

  • Don’t let it slide off the priority list!  If no one is mentioning the Aviation Department, take the time (on a scheduled basis) to remind people of its importance internally.  Creating educated advocates is a huge advantage, especially when the topic comes up “out-of-the-blue.”  Your supporters and leadership should be expected to understand and defend this important tool.

 

  • Numbers work:  In limited amounts, pick a single figure that demonstrates the difference your Aviation Department makes.  “Our senior leadership saved nearly 900 hours of focused, productive time by using our airplane to make regular trips to our Wausau manufacturing facility last year.”

 

  • “We stay competitive by hiring some of the best and the brightest.  Efficient use of time is one important metric used by sought-after leaders.  Our Aviation Department is a big part of that equation.”

 

When the Media comes calling:

 

  • “Keeping jobs here in the community means staying on top of our business.  We are competing in a global economy and no one wants to hear our people are stuck waiting for a connecting flight.  The expectation is we will deploy our people where they are needed to stay competitive.  Our Aviation Department helps keep jobs secure here in ________.”

 

  • “Like every aspect of our business, the Aviation Department is evaluated regularly, and its use is an important business decision aimed at keeping vital jobs here in __________.”

 

  • “We cannot handicap our people in an extremely competitive business atmosphere.  Firms we are going up against daily are out there putting their people in place quickly.  We cannot expect to keep up if we are unable to do the same.”

 

  • Finally, offer your airplane assets when possible for humanitarian efforts, in disaster relief or just as a tool for good in your community. Someone else talking about what a great community partner you are is more powerful than anything you can say!

 

Each of Cary’s themes has the direct benefit of protecting and enhancing your brand.

In summary, Cary says it can take years to build your brand and only a few minutes to take it down.  When it comes to Business Aviation and your brand, you have full control over the use policies and practices that can either enhance and protect your brand… or put it at risk.  Confirm all policies and uses are on the whiter side of gray.  And then tell the story about how your use of Business Aviation benefits the company, your owners, your people and your community.  Then, when a reporter, a gadfly, or an employee asks the challenging question your response will be on point:  Business Aviation use assures the success of your company and its brand.


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