Skip to main content

NBAA Regional Forum: The Family Comes Together

Sonia Greteman - Aviation Marketing Expert

Static displays give you an unrivaled opportunity to kick some tires. Or admire some interiors.

Old friends and Kansas-like, blow-you-over winds made us feel right at home at the NBAA Regional Forum in Fort Worth last week. So did all the talk about the value of business aviation. We live it daily in the Air Capital.

Keep Public Skies Public

Air traffic control (ATC) privatization generated significant buzz from both NBAA leadership and attendees. It’s no wonder. This passionate group needs to have a united voice on this pivotal issue. General aviation deserves access to airports and airspace. When not only NBAA, but AOPA, AAAE, GAMA, HAI and NATA all come out against privatization, the federal government should listen. Closely.

Public airspace should belong to the public, not a special-interest board driven by a profit motive. Business aviation helps cover ATC funding through fuel taxes, so it’s not that it’s getting off without paying its fair share. General aviation also serves up a critical pool of pilots who may go on to work for the airlines. Privatization and its added operational expenses will shrink general aviation and this pilot pool.

Sonia Greteman and Ashley Bowen Cook TeslaThe evening before the forum, Executive AirShare’s meet and greet included test rides in a Tesla, which serves a similar market: people focused on innovation and state-of-the-art transportation solutions. Colleague Ashley Bowen Cook loves this sweet ride as much as me.

Share Knowledge and Support

Conversations gained broader audiences on social media with the hashtag #BizAvWorks. NBAA President Ed Bolen and his team championed their new campaign with leaders talking about how Business Aviation Works for their communities.

How business aviation…

  • Creates jobs – more than a million.
  • Generates as much as $219 billion in economic activity annually.
  • Transports people into 5,000 airports versus the 500 airlines can access.
  • Provides unrivaled humanitarian support, doing good day in and day out.
  • Is used by companies in all 50 U.S. states, with 55 percent of those having fewer than 500 employees.

Bolen reminded us that NBAA was founded by 19 companies coming together to foster community and provide support. Seven decades later, that mission remains unchanged. I’m hoping U.S. ATC privatization does not come to pass and business aviation can continue progressing.

Help Prevent Privatization

Take action. Visit NBAA’s No Plane No Gain website for information and quick links to reach out to Congress.

American Aero FTW

American Aero FTW served as the NBAA Regional Forum host FBO at Fort Worth Meacham International Airport. It opened a couple of months ago and now bustles with activity. The forum was held in two of American Aero’s hangars and on its 11-acre ramp, the largest on the field. It provided a world-class experience for the 1,700 attendees and 27 aircraft on display. Commercial aircraft stopped flying out of Meacham in 1953; today it serves business and general aviation. American Aero, with the city of Fort Worth, renovated American Airlines’ 1933 hangar (still the oldest building at Meacham) and administration building. American Aero VP Bob Agostino, an old friend from his days at Bombardier, gave colleague Ashley Bowen Cook and me a tour of their new, 85,000-square-foot administration building. American Aero FTW is the prime tenant and only FBO. Agostino and American Aero CEO Robert Bass are committed to making visitors first impression memorable. They’ve succeeded.

Executive AirShare at NBAA

Executive AirShare kicked off the NBAA Regional Forum with a mix-and-mingle event that got things off to a great start.

SmartSky Networks booth at NBAA

A key benefit of the forum, having the opportunity to talk to in-the-know exhibitors, such as SmartSky Networks. Especially when it’s a long-needed product like in-flight, business-grade Wi-Fi.

This column ran in the March 30th issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.

Eisenhower AIR Named Best Online Travel Newsletter

WICHITA, Kansas – The Web Marketing Association has named Eisenhower AIR Best Travel Online Newsletter in its 2017 Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) Awards. Greteman Group produces the award-winning publication for Wichita Eisenhower National Airport (ICT), the largest and busiest airport in Kansas.

Eisenhower AIR marks a departure for the airport’s external communications. Greteman Group worked with the airport’s marketing team to change the former enews’ name, format, look and, most importantly, the vibe.

“AIR alludes to the adventure of travel, and ICT is the catalyst that makes those adventures possible,” says Sonia Greteman, agency creative director and president. “It connects ICT in a subliminal way with something positive and exciting. The stories make the readers want to travel.

The team crowdsources stories by running contests, reaching out through digital channels or hitting the phones. It provides updates about new connections, amenities and travel tips. To reach new audiences, it works social-media channels and runs Facebook and Google banner ads. eBlasts let current enews subscribers know about the upcoming travel hot spots. Social-sharing icons encourage readers to spread articles and help make the airport even more vital, continuing to build its tribe.

People spend twice as long with AIR than any other section on

Readers have come from 49 of the 50 states. “Features showcase the air service at ICT and frequently highlight well-known travelers with a wide social network, which capitalizes on engagement and boosts AIR’s profile,” says Valerie Wise, Air Service & Business Development Manager for the Wichita Airport Authority.

Keeping AIR mobile-friendly has also been a priority. More than 88 percent of its readers enjoy AIR on their mobile devices, easily navigating through the varied articles with vibrant photos, playful illustrations and engaging copy. A dynamic masthead keeps each issue fresh and teases season-appropriate content.

Wings in the Wind Campaign Honored by HOW Magazine

(WICHITA) — Greteman Group’s Wings in the Wind initiative earned recognition as one of 101 winning designs in the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards. The competition recognizes outstanding creative work produced by individuals and agencies from around the world.

HOW’s editorial and design team, along with Breakaway’s Chief Creative Officer Scott Maney, Designlore’s Laurie Churchman, and The Davis Group’s Principal Douglas Davis, evaluated nearly 1,000 entries and selected winning projects based on concept, strategy and execution. Entries were judged by the work type and by how effectively the design achieved the stated business goals.

Greteman Group’s Wings in the Wind campaign was part of the agency’s holiday outreach to celebrate clients, benefit a worthy cause and provide a creative showcase. The nonprofit featured: the Eagle Valley Raptor Center, which helps injured raptors fly again. Clients couldn’t miss the agency’s wishes for a new year distinguished by free, unfettered flight. Beautiful script font Wings in the Wind promised something special. Tucked inside: a 10” x 12” card holding ready-to-color owl and eagle masks plus a large set of colored pencils (renewable, recyclable materials). Original illustrations played off the stress-relieving adult coloring books that are all the rage. The masks reinforced Greteman Group’s aviation market niche while communicating the agency’s choice for the nonprofit gift. Recipients were encouraged to bring the black-and-white creations to life with color and to share them by posting photos on social media and tagging them with #MyWings. People who didn’t receive the mailing could still join in by downloading online versions at

“It was fun to find a creative way to convey our niche as aviation-marketing specialists while also helping injured raptors regain their wings,” says Sonia Greteman, agency president and creative director. “This continues to be one of my favorite campaigns; I still have my mask and a number of clients have told us they do, too.”


Workplace Wellness Lowers Healthcare Costs, Boosts Productivity

Pardon me while I jump on my wellness soapbox. Our agency just celebrated 10 years of working with the Wichita YMCA’s corporate wellness team, and it’s making a difference. Our pocketbooks certainly feel more fit. Our health insurance premiums just went down 15%, which is almost unheard of. That makes us want to kick up our heels.

Muscle Pump with YMCAThe YMCA’s twice a week muscle pump keeps us fit – and happy.
It’s Been Easy and FunTrainers come to our office at noon twice a week and lead us through muscle-building, heart-strengthening, stress-relieving exercises. And once a year, the Y’s wellness pros conduct comprehensive, individual onsite wellness assessments with anyone on our teams who opts in. They say measure what matters. And what matters more than your health? Participation in our recent assessment came in at 65%, above the YMCA’s 60% corporate-wellness program average. An online portal lets team members compare their year-over-year changes and serves as a trusted resource for information and recommendations to reduce specific health risks

Our team members appreciate the lower insurance premiums, and I have to think they feel good about seeing overall improvements in their health. Collectively, we ranked 78 out of a possible 100 points, which gets us a doing-well designation. Two more points and we’d be in the excellent category. You now know one of my goals for next year.

Why Do I Care So Much About Wellness?

I haven’t always. People who know me might be surprised that early in my career I worked all hours and consumed whatever was at hand – usually pop, chips, candy bars or something equally packed with sugar, caffeine and empty calories.

I wised up. And I liked how I felt once I started taking better care of myself. As a business owner for 28 years, I’ve seen how careers and lives can be wrecked by chronic illness, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression and more.

You Can’t Fly Without a Flight PlanThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s recent publication “Winning with Wellness” reports that 80% of people aren’t ready to change their health behaviors. Yet it also reports that 96% of Medicare expenditures go toward chronic conditions associated with lifestyle choices. It identifies five behaviors to combat chronic disease and notes that following all five leads to an average reduction in health-care spending of 33-50%. Think what you could do what that added energy and moolah.

  • Eat healthy.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Walk 30 minutes a day.
  • Only drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Keep waist less than half your height.

So why are people resistant to change that can so clearly be beneficial? In this information-packed age, it can’t just be a lack of knowledge. We like our routines, our habits. Exerting control and discipline, well, that’s tough. But it goes beyond that. Especially in a creative agency full of rebel types, no one wants to be told what to do. Support, yes. Groupthink, no.

Wellness Chart
When it comes to solutions, one size does not fit all. In addition to our noontime aerobics, we offer Wednesday-evening yoga classes and we have an exercise area with an elliptical machine, balance balls, small trampoline, small weights, even hula hoops.
Lori Heinz - Muscle Pump in the Park

Our nearby pocket park provides an excellent green space for lunchtime workouts when weather permits (which is often).
Creating a Culture of WellnessWe’ve offered monthly challenges to mix things up, even winning the YMCA’s Eight a Day Water Challenge some years back. It’s time to renew our efforts. To help our agency rise to that coveted excellent ranking, we’re launching some fun new initiatives. Maybe they’re something you’d like to try.

  • Meditation Mondays 10-minute afternoon mindfulness break
  • Tryday Fridays twice a month showcasing different healthy foods and activities

And we’re making subtle little changes, too. Some less-than-healthy treats have snuck into our Snack Attack bar. We’re resolving to do better by stocking its shelves with snacks high on yum and low on junk. We have a pocket park nearby and whenever possible, we’re encouraging team members to take their meetings outside and on the go. I think better when I’m moving and bet you do, too. Walk and talk, baby. And breathe deep. It feels good.

How 10 Design Champions Benefited from HOW Awards

When the HOW team thinks of all the brilliant work that’s been entered in our competitions over the years—and all the talented people behind those projects—we can’t help but smile. Celebrating exemplary work is one of the best parts of our jobs. That’s why it’s so easy for us to go on all day about all the reasons you should enter our competitions, like the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards (which has a deadline of April 10!).

But we want you to hear from the design champions themselves. So we talked with the freelance designers, in-house teams, design firms and students behind some of last year’s winning entries.

Below, you’ll find their work, see their faces, and discover firsthand how entering the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards helped their businesses and graphic design careers.

Sonia Greteman, Greteman Group President/Creative Director:

Why did you enter the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards?

HOW provides a valued, vetted platform for creative excellence. Our agency only enters competitions that we find meaningful. Which is why we enter every year.

We study the work of the other winners. Their choices undoubtedly seep into and elevate our own creative problem solving. Why not learn from the best?

What do you see as the benefits of winning the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards?

We’re well past the days of simply wanting more Lucite or plaques. We care about critique from proven professionals whose opinions we trust. It helps us get better.

People like to work with winners. That goes for clients and staff. Winning serves as both new business and recruitment tools.

There’s a fun element, too. When we win, it provides another cause for celebration.

Has winning the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards had any impact on your business or career?

Winning HOW awards has affected my career, our agency’s global reputation and our team of move-the-needle pros. A thumbs-up from HOW equates to a creative greenlight. We find it hugely motivating. Our clients find it validating, too.

Published at March 20th, 2017. 

Simplify Your Website in 8 Easy Steps

You have a website, but it doesn’t work as hard or as well as you want. You don’t have the budget to start from scratch. There are some things you can do, though, to improve your site incrementally over time.

  1. Make a clear sitemap. If it’s a mess, your navigation is a mess. You want a clear path available for the user, not a keep-you-guessing maze.
  2. Make your contact information and social media easily found. There’s nothing more frustrating than combing a site and finding no human’s name, phone number or email. That’s no way to build relationships, which is what you want, right?
  3. Use calls to action (CTAs) that make a user want to engage further. Place them strategically throughout the site asking thoughtful and provoking questions. Set up a formula. Point out a challenge or an issue your customer may have. Provide a solution. Then offer your help.
  4. Be visually deliberate. Ensure graphics add interest to the website and don’t simply fill space. Remove images that serve no true purpose. This saves load time and helps visitors focus on what’s important, rather than being distracted by an empty, shiny thing.
  5. Be purposeful in your messaging. Ask yourself: Why does this page exist? What do people need to know to make an informed decision? Focus on one topic (as a bonus make it your focused keyword), and write content that supports that idea.
  6. Guide the user. Use negative space, balance, padding and image proximity to direct users through content. Navigation is so critical, yet often isn’t thought through completely during the website planning stage.
  7. Deliver feedback. For example, when they sign up for your enews, have an animation play while it’s submitting. Then have a check mark or thank-you message come up to confirm their email was accepted. If it wasn’t, the animation could shake and request a valid email.
  8. Test user interactivity (UI) and user experience (UX). Observe people interacting with your website for the first time. See where they get hung up. Ask their opinion. Listen. Then act on what you learn.

I hope these suggestions help. Your website’s worth your investment in energy and resources. It’s there round-the-clock, answering questions, serving up information, advancing your brand. Lend it a hand so it can work smarter not harder.

Clear SitemapBe visually deliberate

Deliver Feedback

This column ran in the March 8th issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.

Put your website to the test
Would you like to put your website to the test? We’ve built a scorecard that addresses SEO, analytics, content, functionality and digital marketing. Answer five quick questions for each category, and see how you score. You have the option to request a review of your site by our digital team. Check it out here.

A Foundation Built on Prayer – and Work

Saint Francis Community Services has been helping children and families since 1945. But it’s never had a dedicated giving arm. That changed in 2016 with the creation of The Saint Francis Foundation.We kicked off our support by meeting with members of the executive leadership, development, marketing and digital teams. A responsive website with a content-management system (CMS) became our immediate priority, quickly followed by a video to announce the opening of Saint Francis’s new home for survivors of sex trafficking (Clover House), and support for Saint Francis’s role in the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes (CEEP) 2017 conference. Saint Francis’s leadership gave us a great gift – encouraging us to raise the bar and tell their story in powerful, new ways.

Tools That Do the Job

We developed and launched a content-managed, responsive website in two months – in time to tap into end-of-year charitable giving. We moved directly into phase two, which included use of new fundraising software for donor management, grant and gift tracking. The website makes giving easy. Every page has a donate button and call to action placed on a large, can’t-miss-it banner image. Confidentially keeps us from featuring actual children within the Saint Francis adoption and foster system, so we searched high and low to find distinctive, compelling stock photography. Close-ups and environmental shots of people interacting and engaging in various activities convey emotion and foster connection. Language is kept simple and brief, with deeper content available as you drill down. Clear top-tier navigation is supported by clickable homepage visuals that show you how to give, volunteer and help. Another homepage feature highlights areas of greatest need. The CMS lets you quickly switch out or reprioritize highlighted programs as needed.

Working the System, Starting in Our Nation’s Capital

The 2017 Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes Conference provided a powerful national platform for introducing Saint Francis to a select, valued audience. Saint Francis kicked off this prestigious event with a 15-minute presentation at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. We assisted Saint Francis’s CEO, president and a board member with their presentations and created a video that communicates how Saint Francis puts the gospel in action. How it works the system to make the impossible possible.

When the Very Reverend Robert Nelson Smith called on the audience of priests to pray and then get their hands dirty – he handed out gloves to reinforce the let’s-get-to-work message. The glove wrap-around did double duty as a brochure, with program and contact information. Bold booth graphics further reinforced the pray-work message throughout the three-day event.After the presentations, attendees came up to the Saint Francis team with overwhelmingly positive comments. Some had tears in their eyes. A common comment: “I had no idea about the amazing work you do or your impact.”

That’s what we were praying for.

A Home for Healing

One of Saint Francis’s most life-changing efforts is the opening of Clover House. Before the girls – ages 12 to 17 – moved in, it was blessed as a sacred space. We captured the event on video to use in donor outreach. We created nature-inspired notecards, available with a donation or as donor leavebehinds, to generate funds and awareness for Clover House. We love new beginnings.