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Chopper Chatter – Heli-Expo 2012 Kicks Off a Great Year

For some things, you gotta have a helicopter. You can’t land an airplane on an offshore drilling rig or right next to a traffic accident. Or pluck hostages from a hostile encampment in the dark of night. The helicopter industry remained relatively stable while the rest of aviation struggled, and most analysts predict robust growth extending into the foreseeable future.

That general optimism will be on full display in Dallas at Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo 2012. Statics. Elaborate booths. The latest gizmos. A colleague and I are going, and I can’t wait to experience it firsthand.

Why You Should Go

All that glitz and shine of new aircraft and advanced technology is fun and serves a critical role keeping the industry in-touch and up to date. But the real value, as always, isn’t what you see. It’s what you hear. Networking remains the most important reason to attend.

Once again, much of the talk will focus on safety. How the industry fares. Improvements made. Challenges ahead.

Safety First, Safety Always   

Overall, the helicopter industry sports an excellent safety record. Today’s aircraft carry an impressive array of lifesaving safety equipment, and the vast majority of operators emphasize safety above all other considerations. That doesn’t quench the industry’s continual thirst for improvement. Every study, commission and industry report cites, among its recommendations, the need for continued emphasis on professional training.

We’re proud to be associated with the industry leader in helicopter training – FlightSafety International. It relentlessly drives to improve its training, expand programs, add locations and develop ever-better training technology. FlightSafety will have a booth – 5305 – highlighting current and future investments in professional helicopter training. Stop by and check it out. We’ll be there, too. Hope to see you at the show.

Wichita Aero Club 2012 Gala

Spirit AeroSystems CEO Jeff Turner

This year’s trophy went to Spirit AeroSystems and its most-deserving CEO Jeff Turner. Jeff gave a speech full of humor, humanity, humility and hope. He said, “We’re on our way and improving every day.” He was talking about Spirit, but he could just as easily have been talking about Wichita. They are so interwoven.

He spoke of Boeing’s divestiture of Spirit back in 2005 and the vision and bravery it took. Thousands of skeptical employees overcame their fears and forged ahead. “Transforming something is as hard or harder than starting something,” he said. As proof, he said, just look back at photos of him at the time, then at his gray hairs today.

Keeping it Light

Jeff toyed with the audience at first, saying he’d been given no time limit and had decided he would tell Spirit’s full, remarkable and long story “from the empty field on South Oliver and Lloyd Stearman up to today.” Then midway through his talk, he stopped to tell us he was on page three of six for those keeping track.

Among his many memorable comments were those about parachute journalists who come into town already knowing what they plan to write. About a recent one who came determined to write about the demise of Wichita aviaiton, Jeff said, “I don’t know if I ever convinced him we were alive and well, that he was hearing rivets going into planes, not nails in coffins.”

The crowd especially liked this line: “We’re not the next Detroit.”

There’s No “I” in Team

Jeff spoke from the heart as he acknowledged the men and women of Spirit on whose behalf he was accepting the award. And he mentioned challenges as well as opportunities. Something you don’t always hear at these sorts of celebratory banquets. “If we don’t care for our company, no one else will. There are no sugar daddies. It’s just us. That can be freeing, and also terribly frightening at times.”

Jeff, with you at the helm, we are not afraid.

A big thank you to committee co-chairs Ashley Bowen Cook and Becky Tuttle and their hard-working committee members. Their above-and-beyond efforts paid off with the best gala yet.


Face Time + Loyalty Programs + Shows = Big Time Rewards

Signature TailWins logo.

Signature Flight Support brought it all together at the recent NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference in San Diego. It launched a groundbreaking loyalty program and an aviation card that complements and builds upon Signature’s already-strong, values-added program, Signature Status.

Real Rewards for Real People

The new Signature TailWinsTM customer loyalty program serves pilots, crews, schedulers, dispatchers and flight departments. Rewards range from travel and technology to watches and purses. And more. Those who sign up also have the option of donating their points to charity and sharing with crewmembers. How cool is that?  

Leveraging the Show

To support the program launch, Greteman Group created a TailWins logo, messaging and look that work alongside Signature’s distinctive brand. Prior to the rollout, coming-soon posters and counter cards appeared in domestic FBO locations, building interest and awareness. Rack cards, point-of-sale stands and posters were placed in FBOs the day of the launch. Staff (at both the S&D conference and the FBOs) sported Ask-Me-About-TailWins buttons. Signage and materials in Signature’s conference booth put TailWins front and center. Digital efforts included a website landing page, branded rewards site and multiple email blasts. A business-card-sized scout card was placed in attendees’ bags given out at S&D registration. The card’s QR code led to a landing page with program details. A print ad in trade publications is running now.

Signature created a real buzz at S&D. With schedulers and dispatchers such key target markets, it proved to be the perfect show to launch this program. Sign-ups within the first 48 hours more than exceeded expectations and the number continues to grow. In an industry that relies on the highest levels of service, FBOs and charter companies use the show to build relationships. A rewards program such as Signature TailWins goes far in the relationship-building department. The good, good, good vibrations in the booth said it all –  Signature’s customers love this new program.

More About the Program

Participants sign up online and begin accumulating points that day for fuel (both AvGas and Jet-A) and handling at Signature locations in the States and several locations abroad. (Watch for this to expand soon.) You earn double points if you sign up and use the Signature Flight Support aviation card, underwritten by U.S. Bank and Multi Service Aviation, on those purchases. Members can also earn points for purchases of fuel wherever the U.S. Bank Multi Service Aviation card is accepted, worldwide, at over 7,500 locations and in 190 countries.

Downtown Unveils Its New Final Friday Logo

Final Friday just took a big leap forward. This highly popular monthly art crawl has had everything going for it – but a strong identity. You can now check that off the list.

The Greteman Group-designed logo made its first public appearance in today’s Wichita Eagle.  Tomorrow an event hosted by the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation will celebrate the new energy and promotions planned for this event –  which currently attracts about 4,000 people a month.

The Thinking Behind the Mark

The logo unites Final Friday’s two F’s, forming a yin-yang symbol that is both playful and powerful. The bright, bold color palette will help the mark become a readily identifiable beacon for people looking for participating galleries.

This event has always been popular with our group and I’ve been a fan from day one. My husband and I have purchased the lion’s share of our art at Final Friday and are close friends with several of the artists. This monthly event has changed the landscape of Wichita and brought the visual arts to the general public. We now have a casual, welcoming venue where people come together and celebrate creative works and those who maybe see the world a bit differently.

No Reason Not to Buy

If you have yet to purchase art at Final Friday, you now have more incentive than ever. A campaign just launched to encourage more local art purchases. Take part in a monthly drawing for $100 in Art Bucks – funded by the Wichita Arts Council. That will go far on these traditionally value-priced pieces of art. Buy art you love. More often galleries and artists allow you purchase art on layaway plans. Your investment will enrich your life and possibly your pocketbook if you ever decide to sell.

You can a find entry forms and a drawing box – and redeem your Art Bucks – at any qualifying Final Friday venue. The more you visit, the better your chances are to win. And to have a really great time. See you there.

Take a look around for the new logo next time you’re out for Final Friday.  And take the time to like FinalFridayICT on Facebook to see if you are the Art Bucks winner.

Grassroots, Word-of-Mouth Among the Most Powerful Tools in Aviation Marketing

What can marketers and clients do when they want to spread the word about an important topic on a shoestring budget? The answer often lies in guerilla marketing, word-of-mouth and earned-media tactics.

U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo recently announced, a new website and online petition inviting all Americans to show their support for the general aviation industry. While the Kansas congressman is clearly interested in focusing his support around the Wichita aviation cluster, he is using the site to attract, motivate and engage pro-business audiences. He wants them to remind the President and current administration that general aviation is “the last great manufacturing jewel in America.”

Back to Basics

To create buzz and drive traffic, Pompeo organized a press conference at the Kansas Aviation Museum (great location) and invited leaders from aviation, supply-chain and the manufacturing unions to join him at the podium. The press release earned attention from every local and several regional and national online and print applications.

Pompeo also announced his team will be running ads and earning coverage on aviation-specific websites – including many smaller but highly focused outlets such as the Cessna Owners website and Sport Pilot Talk forums – as well as placing posters and scout cards in FBOs across the country. The posters and scout cards include a QR code linking to the online petition.

Immediate Results

As a marketing agency specializing in aviation and based in the Air Capital, we agree with Rep. Pompeo that private aviation is “an important tool for…competitiveness.” And we are heartened by the public’s response to his call for support. Since the press conference, hundreds have signed the petition while others have shared their individual stories about general aviation’s impact. Multiple news and social media outlets have covered the story – one that began with tried-and-true word-of-mouth. And that’s what will be needed to increase the viral reach. So, please, talk it up.

Rainbows United’s Fashion Passion: A Night of Glam, A Year of Love

An update and thank you from Rainbows United recently came across my desk. It announced that the nonprofit’s 8th-annual Fashion Passion fundraiser drew a record attendance – and funds. The runway show and auction – appropriately titled “Runway” – sold out more than a month in advance and generated $190,000 in revenue, a 21 percent higher return.

This was our first year to provide creative for the show. We loved every minute – from working with a team eager to embrace a bold, new direction to helping elevate Fashion Passion into one of Wichita’s must-attend events.

The Power of Story

The night’s double entendre themeline paid homage to Wichita’s rich aviation history, while promoting the runway show. Sultry, WWII-inspired imagery inspired a mysterious, femme fatale named Lola who added sizzle to the spy-thriller stage performance. Justin McClure’s motion graphics took our collaboration to a new level and gave the show heart-pounding energy.

Greteman Group salutes Hale Ritchie, Deb Voth, Stephanie Harder and countless others who made this event soar. The evening’s 600 guests left with more than fashiotini glasses, exclusive passion-for-fashion gift bags and fabulous auction packages. They walked out of the Beech Activity Center knowing they’d made a difference for hundreds of deserving children and their families.

Rainbows United serves 3,500 children with special needs, birth through age 21, and their families in the Wichita area.  Click to learn more about Rainbows United.

Going to School With Schedulers & Dispatchers

Thanks to longtime client Patrick Sniffin with Signature Flight Support, my colleague Kevin Jenks and I are San Diego-bound next week. We’ll be attending our first-ever NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference, January 14-18. Patrick’s been telling us how great the conference is, and we’ve decided it’s high time we experience it ourselves.

The conference includes more than 30 sessions sure to both educate and inspire. Hundreds of exhibits will keep us on the move. (We’re thinking of packing rollerblades.) It’ll also be a great time to network with other attendees – including chief pilots, directors and department managers. This priceless face time helps us better understand these key target audiences – from what they’re reading to what they’re reading it on.

We’re looking forward to a number of the presentations, specifically Coca-Cola, John Deere and Qualcomm. Sessions go beyond how businesses uses business aviation (a subject we never tire of) to how you create a healthier flight department, the intricacies of scheduling international flights, managing traffic flow, providing optimal emergency responses, and even financial reporting.

San Diego, here we come.