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People Make It Fly

It’s easy to be dazzled by hardware and technology. But the seventh annual Wichita Aero Club gala reminded me that people make aviation fly. Judging by all the standing ovations throughout the night, I was not alone.

The evening honors diamonds. People who are not just brilliant – but resilient. Who cut through obstacles. And make a mark. Past honorees include the late Velma Wallace, Jeff Turner and Spirit AeroSystems, John O’Leary and Airbus Americas Engineering, Russ Meyer and Al Higdon.

Pictured left to right: Dave Franson, Wichita Aero Club president; Ashley Bowen Cook, Wichita Aero Club board member and gala chair; Mike King, Kansas Secretary of Transportation; Jeff Peier, Wichita Aero Club chairman; Connie Palacioz, Doc volunteer and an original Rosie the Riveter; Mike Pompeo, Kansas Fourth District congressman; Jim Murphy, Doc volunteer and project director; and Tony Mazzolini, Doc’s most ardent champion.
Pictured left to right: Dave Franson, Wichita Aero Club president; Ashley Bowen Cook, Wichita Aero Club board member and gala chair; Mike King, Kansas Secretary of Transportation; Jeff Peier, Wichita Aero Club chairman; Connie Palacioz, Doc volunteer and an original Rosie the Riveter; Mike Pompeo, Kansas Fourth District congressman; Jim Murphy, Doc volunteer and project director; and Tony Mazzolini, Doc’s most ardent champion.

As the head of the trophy selection committee, I have the privilege of bringing together a group of highly regarded industry colleagues to bestow this honor upon a person or organization with strong Wichita ties and exemplary achievements in aviation. Here in the Air Capital, you can only imagine the number of nominees worthy of this distinction. The gala serves as an opportunity to pay respect to those who’ve made an impact on both our community and aviation.

This year, the club saluted the Doc’s Friends Restoration Team. Since 2000, this group of volunteers donated upwards of 350,000 hours to restore Doc, a WWII-era Boeing B-29 Superfortress once part of a squadron called Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. When it flies this spring, it will be one of only two airworthy B-29s. The U.S. Air Force’s Fifi is the other.

Humble Yet Herculean

This band of volunteers – including many retired workers from area aircraft manufacturers – started with a big challenge. The plane came to them disassembled, little more than a bunch of parts and pieces. Doc was discovered in 1987 by Tony Mazzolini in the Mojave Desert, part of a bombing target range. After years of negotiations and red tape, Doc was rescued from its ignominious (and scorching hot) home. In 2000, Doc shipped to the Wichita plant that originally built it. And people responded. None more than 91-year-old Connie Palacioz, who stands several inches shy of five feet tall. She’s been a Doc volunteer for 16 years.

Seventy years ago Palacioz riveted this particular B-29. The nose, the only undamaged section after Doc’s years of being used as target practice, still contains Palacioz’s original rivets. She put them in when she was 17 years old. Her brother, uncle and fiancé had enlisted, she said, and “I wanted to do my part.” She did. And does. Like the hundreds of other Doc volunteers, Palacioz reminds us that we are part of something bigger. That sacrifice and dedication lead to great things.

History With a Mission

You can learn about Doc’s progress, upcoming flight and future educational efforts at and about the Wichita Aero Club’s industry-elevating activities at

The Doc’s Friends Restoration Team
The Doc’s Friends Restoration Team rescued and restored a treasure. Their efforts honor the Greatest Generation while connecting future ones to aviation’s rich heritage.

Photo credits: Doc image: Brett Schauf, Visual Media Group; gala images: Jeff Hetler, Visual Media Group.

This column ran in the January 28 issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.

Cinemagraphs Are a Visual Showstopper

We all like to look at photos and videos that are pretty, stimulating, interesting or emotionally moving. This is even more true online, where our quick clicks into the digital matrix overwhelm us with ads, videos, animations and rotating image libraries. The repetitive nature of stock images and videos invite us to ignore them over time and with that, we block out the brand too. If you’re looking for a fresh, different visual approach to help your messages stand out from the noise and competition, here’s a captivating technique to try: cinemagraphs.

Part moving picture, part still image – the effect is mesmerizing. A well-executed cinemagraph can create a memorable and sharable online experience.


On social media, where you want users to engage with you, cinemagraphs are an excellent way to break up the routine of text, photo, video. They engage the user, much like video can, except the viewer doesn’t have to commit to watching a full video.

Same is true on your website. A cinemagraph can be used in place of a scrolling banner image, or within the body of your blogs and other thought leadership pieces. It can help keep users on your website, telling a story about your brand quickly and elegantly.

The cinemagraph has even made its debut on the big screen TV in the latest Pizza Hut commercial, where this AdWeek article describes the effect as hypnotic. I would have to agree.


Visual storytelling should be at the heart of your cinemagraph. Whether you’re trying to create a laugh or get a user to take action, it’s not just about putting a photo and video together. You’re trying to get the viewer to stop in their social-scrolling tracks. The power is in the slight movements that draw the eye to small details. Take our two examples.

Below, we see GiGi, our ambassador of the Greteman Group brand. With our focus and specialty in aviation, we’re often looking toward the sky for opportunities. In this case, GiGi is prominently placed with the clouds zooming overhead. To us, it gives the sense of forward movement and forward thinking.

Greteman Group Brand Cinemagraph - GiGi With Clouds

In the featured image above, it shows how a certain subtlety can create a fascinating experience. GiGi’s only movement is an understated blink. It’s just enough that while reading this blog, you might glance up and think, “Did she move?” Soft movements like this keep the eye wandering around the image, looking for more clues to the visual mystery.


Beyond having multiple uses for your social media and websites, cinemagraphs are a cost-effective way to add stunning visuals to your content. A great way to start: use photos and videos that you already have. If a photo is worth a thousand words, then maybe a cinemagraph is worth 10,000. Get out there and create your next visual showstopper.

Resolve to Use More Online Video

If video isn’t a part of your marketing strategy, it sure should be. According to eMarketer, in 2015 adults spent more than five hours a day watching video, and that number is expected to rise. Online video lets you tell your brand story, engage your audience and create a memorable – and sharable – piece of content.

If you haven’t activated video – or aren’t dabbling in the space enough, try a few of these ideas in your 2016 marketing strategy.


Make your website the first online placement for any new video. Video helps to share important information and causes the viewer to linger.  This matters to your search engine optimization. Not only do videos engage potential customers, but, because search engine algorithms take into account how much time is spent on your site, you benefit when your audience sticks around.


Business professionals and consumers alike turn to the Internet for research before making a purchase decision. Online advertising is an increasingly powerful way to reach those buyers at opportune moments.

Video advertising provides an opportunity to capture a wide reach from an engaged audience, much like TV – except it’s more precisely targeted. You can create very specific ads that match a particular audience based on demographic, location, interests and purchase intent – reaching individuals with your message when it’s most relevant to them.

Video advertising entices users to spend more time watching the video. That’s more important than the click-throughs to your website. To step up your video advertising game and increase brand retention, try an interactive video pre-roll ad. They offer interactive elements that keep users within the ad, rather than clicking away. Interactive buttons could include such calls to action as: Download more information. View other videos and photos. Share on social media. Be added to our enewsletter.

Take the Emirates example below. They’re using interactive video pre-roll to tell a story of travelers who cross paths while in visiting Adelaide. A pop-up in the left corner of the ad asks the viewer to roll-over for more information and what appears is the screen you see above. The airplane flies into the window and as a viewer, you can continue to learn more information about their travel accommodations, or view the full story. Click here to see the full example:

Interactive Video Pre-Roll_ Emirates
Courtesy of Innovid Video Platform


Social media channels – where you want users to be engaged and ultimately share your content – provide a third way to incorporate video. Visuals of all types are much more likely to be shared and go viral. One of the coolest ways to do that: cinemagraphs.

What’s a cinemagraph? It’s part moving image, part still image. The effect mesmerizes. The subtle touches of movement pull you in without feeling committed to watching a full video by adds more of an artistic feel that a photo can’t provide. Out of all the video trends right now, cinemagraphs are my favorite.

Greteman Group Brand Cinemagraph - GiGi With Clouds


Incorporating video into your marketing strategy gives you a chance to show, not tell – the best possible marketing. It enhances your brand story, builds brand loyalty and increases retention. As an added bonus, one video shoot can be used for all three of these video strategies – stretching your marketing dollars even further.

Click here to learn more about our favorite video trend, cinemagraphs:

This column ran in the January 21 issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.

Stephanie Stover Joins Greteman Group as Brand Manager

Stephanie Stover has joined Greteman Group, a Wichita-based marketing agency, as a brand manager. She brings a wide range of experience in virtually all aspects of marketing.

Prior to joining Greteman Group, she was director of sales and marketing for a successful start-up outdoor digital advertising company. Before that, she worked as a senior brand manager and team leader for a full-service agency, responsible for managing strategic and creative development, and as an ad agency account executive in charge of print creative, video creative and production, media and more.

“Stephanie combines the savvy of an experienced brand manager with the fresh energy and enthusiasm of someone who truly loves what she’s doing,” says Sonia Greteman, agency president and creative director. “She’s a strategic leader who insists on making sure our clients see results.”

Indeed, Stover has nearly done it all. Direct marketing. Print. Video. Web development. Media representation. Digital marketing of every type. She has worked on the client side, helping build a successful independent small business in a highly competitive field. And she’s led client-based teams responsible for growing and developing brands.

“Stephanie adds to the depth and expertise of our already strong and experienced brand management team,” Greteman says. “She’ll bring another level of attitude to the altitude we provide our growing list of clients.”

 Coverage: Bulldog Reporter 1.14.16

Back to B2B Buying-Cycle Basics

Every business needs a steady, dependable customer-pipeline flow. Whether you’re introducing a new aircraft or delivering a tried-and-true service, consider the interim stage your customers and prospects are in. And think about what you’re doing to advance them to the next stage.

Create a seamless experience. Particularly in B2B, you may need to nurture prospects for years before converting them to loyal, referral-making customers. This has gotten increasingly challenging with many internal marketing staffs reduced – yet expected to attend more tradeshows, to manage ever-proliferating digital channels, to beat out ever-greater competition, and to make your outreach increasingly personal and tailored. Today’s customers demand nothing less.

Awareness – Make people aware of what you offer – and what problem you can solve for them or how you can make their lives better. You can use a combination of pull and push marketing. Pull examples include search-engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) so people find you when they’re searching for solutions but may not even know your name. Thought leadership (as in blogs and industry publications) and news coverage also serve to pull people to you. Push examples include print and digital advertising and direct mail. Forrester Research has reported that the ratio of found or researched content (pull) to marketing or sales pieces (pull) is about 3 to 1 for today’s B2B buyer. Look at your spending for 2016. If you’re allotting 75% of your marketing budget to paid media and only 25% to earned media, you might want to rethink that.

Consideration – Today’s buyers are much savvier about researching buying options, have more data at their disposable than ever before, and are increasingly connected. Help people evaluate your unique value proposition. Don’t have one? Uncover it. Or create it. Develop targeted content that directly addresses your prospects’ hot buttons. More range. Greater speed. A better value. Whatever it might be. Make sure this is prominently placed on your website and that you use search-engine optimization (SEO) to help folks find it. Infographics with competitive data provide a great, at-a-glance way to make your point, especially today when you can add movement and interactivity. Dynamic graphics give your prospects something to share with others on their team. Preferably with a statement such as this: “Hey, Bill, this really convinces me we ought to be using this service. What do you think?”

Preference ­– You may sway buyers through logic or emotion or a combination of the two. Consider all the channels available to you, particularly for aviation’s highly mobile target audiences. CEOs, directors of flight departments, pilots and maintenance technicians evaluate options on their smartphones and tablets as much or more as on their desktops. Use the right channels for your message, offline or online. Face to face at an event or in someone’s inbox or mailbox.

Purchase ­­– Overcome the barriers to buying by presenting your offer as simply as possible. Remove (or at least break down) complexity. Marketing automation can be key by helping you first capture then leverage buyer behavior so you know what content prospects are consuming and helps you predict what they will do next. This lets you provide relevant, timely content for an improved customer experience that increases sales.

Loyalty – Keep close to your customers so they continue to be customers. Communicate regularly with updates and news that would be of interest. Sales are not one and done. They are ongoing. You must continually sell yourself to customers. Keep them up to date on industry best practices. Remind them why they first chose you and make them glad they did. Marketing today is less about campaigns built around products and their features and more about engagement, how you meet customers’ needs.

Referral – Nothing beats the enthusiastic recommendation of a trusted peer. Make it easy for your customers to convert others to your brand – or, to put it more bluntly, to buy what you sell. Offer digital (easily found) content that can be shared from anywhere, anytime to anyone. This is marketing at its best. When customers so love your product/service, they want others within their sphere of influence to use it, too. And they’re willing to speak out on your behalf. Another reason this is so great: one recent B2B study reports 53 percent of respondents say they rely on peer recommendations.

As 2016 revs up, go forth and market in ways that streamline the buying process, create more sales-ready leads for you and generate more satisfied, loyal customers.

This column ran in the January 14 issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.

New Year, New Promotion

Meghan Smith, a graphic designer at Greteman Group, has been promoted to art director. Smith joined Greteman full time in 2013 after completing a one-year internship. She quickly distinguished herself. Her creative support has included branding for Signature Flight Support, i360 and the Plastic Surgery Center; marketing and advertising materials for FlightSafety International, the Kansas State Fair and the University of Kansas’s Community Tool Box; and logo development for Fearless and Female, the KU Community Check Box and Wichita Center for the Arts. Meghan’s dedication to design, creative problem solving and above-and-beyond approach for clients has not gone unnoticed.

“Meghan exemplifies creative excellence,” says Sonia Greteman, agency president and creative director. “She takes complex ideas and transforms them into compelling, powerful visuals that promote understanding, drive engagement and build brand loyalty. She is more than ready for this next step in her professional journey.”

Smith assumes added responsibilities in her new role – mentoring junior graphic designers and leading creative projects. For Smith, the opportunity to create, design and direct as a career, is a dream come true. She describes the job as destiny.

“I come from a creative family with relatives in every field from songwriting to painting to interior design,” Smith says. “I always knew I was destined for the arts and a career that let me tap into my creativity. I was born to be an art director.”

When it comes to designing, Smith said that she finds inspiration in her travels, especially abroad. Most recently, she has been to England, Cuba, Ireland and Mexico.

“Travel helps me see from a new perspective, to absorb diverse cultures and to appreciate other aesthetics and art forms,” says Smith. “I find myself looking for hidden designs, when I am working, to draw them out and build upon them for something new, yet organic.”

Eager and ready to take her place in the design world, Smith says, “Design isn’t just making things pretty. It has the power to change hearts and minds, to cause us to sit up and take notice, to spur us to action. It can be a force for good.”