April 9, 2012
Wichita Business Journal
Social media could be uniquely challenging for business aviation
A recent Wichita Business Journal online poll asked readers: “How important is social media to your company’s marketing efforts?”
With all the attention social media is getting these days, I found the results to be somewhat surprising. The largest group of respondents — 45 percent — said social media was a low priority. Thirty-two percent said it was a high priority, and 23 percent said it was somewhat of a priority.
Deanna Harms, executive vice president at the Greteman Group, a Wichita branding agency, contacted us with one possible explanation for the diversity of responses. It depends on the business, she says.
For some business-to-consumer brands, social media is an obvious priority, a way to directly connect with those who purchase goods and services.
Social media is harder, in general, for business-to-business companies who don’t necessarily have a mass of consumers to interact with on Facebook or Twitter.
But Harms, whose agency considers aviation brands to be a specialty, says business aviation companies, some of the most major brands in Wichita, have hung back even more than other B2B firms.
Harms says she thinks one reason could be related to recent criticism of business jets as unnecessary luxuries. Business aviation companies might like for their customers to express why they’ve chosen to use a certain aircraft, but convincing them to do so can be difficult.
“Even in newsletters, it’s difficult to get aircraft owners to agree to being profiled,” Harms says. “You’ve heard the campaign ‘No plane. No gain.’ Aircraft owners, unfortunately, often think, ‘No ink. No criticism.’ The minute you start talking about your use of business aviation, the naysayers attack.”
That said, Harms says she thinks there is a place for social media at aircraft companies — perhaps even to start changing public perceptions of business aviation.
“We’re very much believers in relationship building and transparency building,” she says of the philosophy Greteman Group tries to impart on clients. “That’s what brands are all about — winning hearts and minds. Then, later on, when problems arise, (customers and the public) know you and will give you the benefit of the doubt.”
She says she thinks aircraft owners and manufacturers eventually will become more comfortable with social media, though their adoption rate has been slower than that of many other industries.
© Wichita Business Journal, 2012
Greteman Group has developed an international reputation as an aviation-specialty marketing agency based in Wichita, Kan. – the Air Capital. The world’s leading aircraft manufacturers, flight support and aftermarket services entrust their brands to Greteman Group. These include FlightSafety International, Bombardier Business Aircraft, Signature Flight Support, Dallas Airmotive, USAIG, the National Aviation Consortium, Avinode, Wyvern Consulting, the Lindbergh Foundation and Spirit AeroSystems. It also supports causes and clients such as the Kansas State Fair and Royal Caribbean Cruises. Greteman Group has won Telly, Metro Award and Business Marketing Association Pro-Comm awards. It has been recognized in such publications as Adweek, Advertising Age, Aldus, Communication Arts, Designing Identity, Identity, Graphic Design USA, Graphis, Hotels, HOW, Novum, Print, Step-By-Step, and by such organizations as the Mead Top 60, Kansas City Art Directors, Strathmore, International Festivals, Graphex Art Directors, and The National Library Council, American Advertising Federation, American Institute of Graphic Artists, Public Relations Society of America, and American Marketing Association. The firm is a founding member of the Wichita Aero Club, and agency President Sonia Greteman serves on its board. Greteman Group is a longstanding member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).