A Fly-In With Heart
07.29.11 · Sonia Greteman
Oshkosh is where the true disciples of aviation gather. The show is grounded in experimental and homebuilt aircraft, but business aviation has been smart to grow its presence here. Just as businesses have started flocking to Facebook because that’s where the people are, our corporate aviation clients see this as an increasingly important show. They offer the high-end of what can be flown by a pilot. It’s aspirational.
You may see the CEO of a Fortune 500 company walking the grounds with his grandkids – all dressed in shorts, T-shirts and ball caps. People seem to check their egos at the gate. It’s all about flying here. The love of what can be achieved in the sky starts young and stays with you. Families camping by their planes. Kids napping in the shade of an aircraft wing. Seniors in wheelchairs zipping about the crowded walkways. Tykes watching the airshows wide-eyed from their strollers.
The big OEMs are here along with the guy selling a widget for an obscure aircraft that only has a small number still in existence.
People have been very willing to talk business. It’s such a relaxed, casual atmosphere. We’ve had a number of people give us their business cards with the instruction, ‘Let’s talk.’ One marketing director must have talked to us for 45 minutes. At NBAA, the pace is so hectic, we’d be lucky to get 10 minutes of his time.
The sheer size of the grounds takes you back. Always full trams mean you walk and walk and walk. Like an oasis, your destination always feels a bit out of reach. We quickly downscaled our ambitious plans to do numerous intercept interviews, making ourselves content with quality over quantity of conversations.
As an aviation marketing firm, we pay special attention to how people promote their aircraft and services. But, at Oshkosh, it’s less about sales and more about hearts and minds. Inspiring people to fly. To build things with their hands. To dream big. And to keep their eyes lifted.