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A Blast Call for all and a media thank you

It’s been just over a week since the Kansas State Fair wrapped up. And wowza what a wild ride! It was my first year as Greteman Group brand manager for the state’s largest event. And I loved every minute of it. A #blastcall, you might say.

Seeing such a large event come together can be mindboggling. Take a minute and imagine all the things you enjoy at the fair – the foods, rides, animals, concerts, competitions, vendors, daily entertainers and many agricultural and educational displays. Now think of the people, resources and coordination needed to keep those activities running all day for 10 straight days. It’s an amazing effort, and I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to experience it from the inside.

Descending upon Hutchinson

Working in the publicity office, I experienced firsthand an impressive and critical component of the fair’s success: the media. Reporters and photographers descend upon Hutchinson in search of tantalizing stories. They pound the pavement for hours toting tools of the storytelling trade – cameras, lighting equipment, notebooks, computers, microphones and more. We read and see the results of their often-arduous efforts in newspapers, magazines, television, radio and online.

The media often gets a bad rap as just wanting to dish the dirt, make a politician squirm or chase the proverbial ambulance. My experience was exactly the opposite. I saw reporters who attended the fair daily. Who were up with the roosters and walking in the gates as they opened. Who dove deep into the full fair experience, participating in activities, getting to know people and doing all they could to vividly translate that to the outside world.

Diving Deep

Kansas State Fair General Manager Susan Sankey sat down with KSN's Katie Taube for a live interview prior to the fair.

Their coverage took us on agricultural adventures and brought us stories recognizing the work of farmers (#ThankAFarmer). They highlighted the role of veterinarians at the birthing center who not only educate but enthrall a new generation. They inspired us with a heartwarming story of an arm-wrestling champion overcoming his disabilities and made us smile watching kids meet troopers on a train. They kept us laughing with lessons on everything from butter sculpting to poop scooping.

Just like most things, I guess, once you delve deeper you discover complexities under the surface. A realm where the Fourth Estate shines a light on the world around us in its valued and needed role as watchdog. But it also acts as a builder of community. Bringing experiences to us we might not know otherwise. Connecting us. Educating us. And inspiring us to dive into the wonders (and fairs) around us. The fair wouldn’t be what it is without the media’s priceless support.

We Bow to The King: Remembering Arnold Palmer

The world mourns a great man this week with the passing of The King. Lovers of golf rightly revere Arnold Palmer for what he did for the game. Making it not just a pastime for the elite but a sport where talent reigned. When he played, millions watched. It didn’t matter that he was the son of a greenskeeper. Only that his brawny, full-out power blasted balls far down the fairway. That guts smacked them out of the rough. And that Palmer won. Again and again and again. Sixty-two PGA Tour tournaments plus another 33 titles over a 52-year career.

This superstar’s superstar made his mark in business aviation, too. In fact, he often said if he hadn’t been a golfer, he’d have been a pilot. He loved the left seat. In 55 years he amassed more than 18,000 hours in it. Private aviation transformed his life. He called its winged magic “something out of science fiction.” Letting him travel not just to tournaments, but to building his kingdom. He and partner Ed Seay designed more than 200 courses around the world.

But rather than my telling you about this much-loved icon, I thought you might like to read the foreward he penned in 1998 for my father Paul Bowen’s first book, Air to Air. Palmer cared for this industry and fought to advance it. He gave voice to NBAA’s “No Plane, No Gain” advocacy campaign, giving personal testimony to private aviation’s vital role. NBAA is dedicating its upcoming 2016 Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (BACE) in Orlando, Florida, to Palmer. A gracious nod to a guiding star.

by Arnold Palmer

I take great pleasure in contributing the foreword to Air to Air, the definitive collection of Paul Bowen’s stunning aircraft photographs. I’ve been flying for more than four decades, and Paul has taken aviation-related pictures of me since the early 1980s. Many of us who love airplanes have come to know him as a professional and admire his work for its artistic quality and precision. I personally know him as a gentleman and a friend.

Obviously, flying is a big part of Paul’s life.

Likewise, it’s a big part of mine, and it has been since 1958 when I started taking flying lessons. By then I’d begun winning on the tour, and my daughters had been born. While making a living was important, I was looking for a way to reduce the time I was spending away from my family, and that meant avoiding airlines and road trips.

Private aviation was really the only answer, and it proved a good one. Private airplanes are fast, they avoid traffic and terrain, they can land closer to most destinations than airliners can, and they reduce or eliminate the need for overnight stays.

Also, being a pilot is just plain fun. Fun –– now that’s a cure for both stress and fatigue.

Back when I was a regular airline passenger, traveling wore me out. Now that I’m my own pilot, flying energizes me. I invariably get out of the cockpit feeling refreshed.

As I read Air to Air the first time, the fun Paul had in creating it came through clearly. The people with whom he works are fun, his unique job in aviation is fun, and the story he tells in this book is full of fun. I certainly understand why, and so will all of you who fly or who’ve ever considered learning.

The more I’ve flown, the more I’ve enjoyed it, the more necessary it is to me, and the more sophisticated my needs have become.

I bought my first aircraft, an Aero Commander 500, in 1961. A couple of years later, I had become so busy that I moved up to a 560F Commander and hired a part-time pilot to fly with me. Over the years, flying became so essential to me and my business interests that I continued to buy faster aircraft with increased range and more versatile capabilities. I even flew an MD500 helicopter for a while. Thanks to my airplanes and to having the excellent and modern Westmoreland County Airport close to my home in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, I’ve accomplished more than twice as much in my golf and business careers as I’d have been able to do with lesser means of transportation.

I’m not alone in this assertion. Business jets have become essential tools throughout the global village, and today’s airplanes are better and safer than ever. My own first jet was a Jet Commander in 1966. It opened up a whole new range of speed and versatility. Since then I’ve owned and flown a Learjet and five Citations including my current Citation X, the fastest corporate aircraft ever built.

Since I began flying them, jets have multiplied my productivity beyond my wildest dreams. They have turned trips that would take three days on the airlines into matters of a few hours. They have shrunk the world to a manageable size and have enabled me to get to several sites, all hundreds of miles apart, in a single day. They have let me go where I needed to be, fulfill my commitments, and then fly back to have dinner with my wife that same night.

I look back at 1955 when I started out on the pro tour, back when Winnie and I had to drive from tournament to tournament. In those days we lived in a trailer and towed it behind a car barely powerful enough to pull it. On some of the longer trips, particularly the ones in which we had to cross the country, when I got into a tournament town I literally got out of the car and stepped onto the first tee. This is a big country, 3,000 miles across, and exhaustion didn’t do my golf any good.

© Paul Bowen Photography

© Paul Bowen Photography
© Paul Bowen Photography

© Paul Bowen Photography
© Paul Bowen Photography

But now, more than 40 years later, I can cross the country in four hours and arrive refreshed.

Back in the 50s, I certainly didn’t foresee this capability. It’s made Winnie’s and my lives much more livable. It’s like something out of science fiction.

And you’ll think you’re looking at machines out of science fiction when you see the aircraft Paul has put into this book. But everything in here is real, and Paul has captured each airplane’s beauty the way only he can.

Paul’s wife, Gail, has done us all a favor by supporting her husband’s efforts and making it possible for him to go get these images. And Paul himself has done us a favor by assembling this collection of his favorites. He’s letting us share the sights he sees nearly every day through his lens.

Paul shows us today’s most beautiful, high-tech sculptures, sleek works of art designed to slice through the sky and serve all mankind.  His views of these wonderful machines showcase their beauty and bring to mind the freedom they bestow upon their masters, the operators who guide them from point to point on our globe, a planet which they and their sky steeds continue to make smaller and more accessible.

Go ahead. Envy them.

And envy Paul.

He has a great job.

Best regards,

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

Wichita Eagle; Have You Heard?

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-9-26-40-am Have You Heard – 9.9.16

Get Mobile: Make the most of your site on any device

In a time when all you hear or read about is mobile first, it took the aviation industry a bit longer to get on board. While there are still some non-­mobile-friendly sites that exist, that’s changing. Today more than half of all website traffic views content on a mobile device. Providing website accessibility for all screens lets you reach the largest audience possible.

If you’ve decided it’s high time to make your site mobile friendly, have a clear direction of what you want the site to do and what messages you want to convey. Keeping your company’s look and feel consistent through all channels builds your brand and fosters greater engagement. Consider the following when creating or redesigning your site for a better user experience (UX).


Hamburgers, circles or labels? Dropdown, slide­out or footer nav? With so many options available, deciding what navigation technique to use can be a little daunting.

The default button has become the hamburger. You know, the nondescript icon in the upper right corner what has three lines stacked on top of each other. But, is it the right solution? Testing each option is the only way to know for sure. We’ve found most people interact with the word “menu” more than the hamburger icon. Even adding a box around the word increases its use.

The way users interact with the navigation is critical. The list of links can drop from the top of the page, slide out from the right or left or push you down to an anchored list. Our agency has used all three. We’ve abandoned the anchored list and suggest you do, too. Being pushed to the bottom of the page disorients users and makes it difficult for them to know where they are. The slide out navigation works well and looks good, but on older phones, you can run into page scrolling issues, since there are a lot of moving parts. The dropdown navigation is easy to use, lightweight and familiar to users. ­Be sure to provide ample thumb space between links to avoid the frustration of bad clicks.

Use Labels not Icons

What’s not to love about the pretty illustrations representing areas on your site? Turns out, plenty. Sure, they’re fun, but are they effective for navigation? Not really. They end up confusing the user rather than being helpful. If you must use an icon, label it. So why not just use the label? Earlier I discussed the hamburger as a navigation icon, when the word “menu” works much better. Don’t get fancy with your page names; keep them simple and easy to understand. Users aren’t going to stick around if they can’t find what they want quickly.

Make Type Readable

This doesn’t mean make headlines as large as possible and you’re good to go. Large headlines can be harder to read and create bad line breaks. With the improvement of current screen resolutions, smaller type is crisper and easily read. Type still needs to be larger, but not as much as you think. Experiment with type sizes, line spacing and line lengths. A good base size for body copy is 16 pixels. Anything under that is too small. Headlines need to be noticeably larger to provide contrast; 24 pixels is a good size to start with. Longer line lengths require more line space, whereas shorter ones need to be tighter.

Mobile Navigation

Use Labels Not Icons

Make type Readable

Do Not Exclude

Include everything on mobile that’s on your desktop site. If there’s too much content for mobile, then it’s safe to assume you have too much content overall. Paring down the information you provide is a good thing. This piques interest and gives users a reason to take an action. Whether it’s requesting more information through a contact form or subscribing to a newsletter. Give them more information upon request.

Calm Down on the Scrolling

Everyone is used to scrolling on a mobile device, but let’s not make it a marathon for your thumb. Scrolling down the page is the easy part, scrolling back up to revisit a point of interest is a pain. Sure, “back to top” links work, but they only do that one thing: shoot you back to the very top of the page. And infinite scroll is terrible on mobile, since there’s no indication where you are on the page or if there’s an end in sight. It delivers a bad user experience.

Test, Test and Test Again

Before you launch your final product, test it on as many devices as possible. New phones, old phones, tablets, all operating systems and within all browsers. Check load time, how it renders, how the images are cropped, type size and page length. Have a variety of people from different locations test. Remain patient and diligent when testing. While there’s no foolproof method to catch every possible issue, eliminate as many glitches as possible before taking the site live.

One recent study reveals that since the year 2000, the average attention span has dropped from 12 to 8 seconds. That doesn’t give you much time to make your case, to build a relationship or to evoke a desired action. Offering the best possible user experience helps. Good luck. This column ran in the September 15th issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News

Test and Test again

Smartphone Cinema: Think Like a Filmmaker  

You want your video to be great so you type into the Google search bar “How can I make my video look more like a film?” and results appear, going on and on down the page in a way that reminds you of the long credits at the end of the movie and you get discouraged, because you’ve read those before, and they have not been illuminating. What’s a best boy?

You click a few of the links and learn a few things about frame rates and color grading and how to slap black bars at the top and bottom of the frame to give the appearance of widescreen cinema. Fine. But that’s not really a start, that’s more of a finish.

All you really want to know is how to make videos that will make your CEO look good, your company stand out, your products shine. A video that looks professional. That pops on social media. That looks like a million bucks but was made on a smartphone. Is that too much to ask?

It’s not. But you have to reframe the question. Stop asking how to make your videos look like film and start asking how to make your videos like a filmmaker.

You’ll find there is no single answer to that one, either, but at least now you are down the path of process, best practices and proven techniques that anyone from the marketing department to the maintenance crew can follow.

Here are a few to get you started.
Use a tripod

A mini desktop tripod will do, or you can go in for the full size (clips for smartphones are available at any electronics store). Don’t have any of those? Use a selfie stick and turn it the other way. The idea is to use something, anything, that will yield a steady shot.Your hand is shakier than you think.

Set up your shot and lock it down. Don’t move, or pan, or zoom. Leave it alone until the scene is over. Need a different angle? Set up somewhere else and shoot the scene again. Repeat as necessary.

Use a microphone

Use a real microphone. Again, these are available at any electronics store. Doesn’t have to be high end to get the job done. But you’ll need something more than what that little one on the back of your phone can handle. Put the mic on a stand, just out of the shot. Or have someone hold it above. Lapel mics are also available. Use something. Bad audio will ruin a good video.

Use lights

You could spend thousands of dollars on these, or just grab a lamp. A Chinese paper lantern with a bulb inside works great. Hang it somewhere near your subject for soft light. For now, anything will do. Don’t overthink it. Use what is at hand, but use something to light your star. It’s your job to make them look good. Or, shoot outside. The sun is the best light. A cloudy day’s filtered light is even better.


Use your head

This is the most important tip. If you want to shoot like a filmmaker, you first have to think like one. That starts with story. Find one for every project. Your CEO wants you to shoot his elevator pitch and put it online? Great idea. Give it a storyline. Shoot it in an actual elevator. Have him make the pitch to a “stranger” you’ve cast. Then to another “stranger” you’ve cast. Make it appear as if he is riding the elevator all day long giving the pitch to people. That’s kind of funny and a little humor goes a long way.

Look, we’ve only just touched the surface here. That tiny lens on the back of your phone can record the world around you in high-resolution widescreen. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Sure, sometimes your big idea calls for a big production, and you’ll need a director and a budget. But with practice and planning you can get professional results on a shoestring using the tools that are already at your fingertips.

This column ran in the September 7th issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News. It was also published by WorldNews (WN) Network. 

Deploying Creative Across Multiple Platforms

Let that campaign sing

A strong bass drum is the booming and resounding beat of a marching band’s foundation. But unless balanced by a blast of brass and chorus of woodwinds, all that glorious cadence falls flat. Rhythm and melody must be in sync.

It’s the same with your marketing. You’ve got a campaign and completed creative assets. Real success won’t be enjoyed, however, without a solid strategy for your website, social media, print and other traditional media. By planning ahead and creating assets that perform well across multiple platforms, you can reach your target audience and utilize your budget efficiently.

Begin with a strong beat

We’re not just humming some random tune here. Take for example the Allegiant Florida Fun Contest for the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. Greteman Group was challenged with increasing awareness for Allegiant’s seasonal flights to Orlando-Sanford from Wichita. The winner of the campaign received round-trip airfare for the entire family to Orlando-Sanford, a $500 Visa gift card and free parking up to a week at Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.

To register, individuals were asked to visit the Florida Fun landing page, upload a photo of themselves or their child, and place a Florida Fun sticker on top. From there, users were able to share their photo on social media to extend the contest to their network of friends. These individual, shared photos were the focal point as they developed a steady rhythm for this campaign.

Add a creative melody

As the graphics for the stickers and the landing page grew into assets, the creative elements began to resonate. The same Florida Fun graphic utilized on photos posted by individuals could be found on digital banner ads, social media ads, the airport’s homepage and social media posts.

The result? A beautiful marketing melody — thanks to a consistent message and identifiable look due to the recognition gained by those stickers shared on social postings. The campaign resulted in 600 contest entries for Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, with 45 percent of the traffic delivered to the website coming from new visitors. And new individuals generate more potential for full flights on a limited-time, seasonal flight.


Just as a gorgeous melody can be created with a few of the right instrumental elements, the same can be said for your creative campaign. You don’t need to overdo it on the creative assets. Just make sure you’ve got the right ones – all playing together in harmony.

This article was published by WorldNews (WN) Network on September 6.