Aviation branding is often misunderstood – and therefore a lot more expensive (and less effective) than it could be.


Definition – Branding
Entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (good or service) in the consumers’ mind, through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.

From BusinessDictionary.com

Continuing our series of Jay Conrad Levinson’s Sixteen Monumental Secrets of Guerilla Marketing
Secret Number Five – Your format: the spirit of consistency

Imagine your company’s reputation and identity carrying such a weight of credibility that people stop and pay attention when they realize  a product, website, tweet, postcard or book came from you.

That’s the objective you should be shooting for with consistency, the practice of which is sometimes referred to as branding. (They didn’t use the term as much in Levinson’s classic book.)

Brands were symbols initially used to keep track of your cattle in the midst of everyone else’s on the open range.  That analogy holds true today.  We use brands to identify which messages, products, websites, and marketing materials belong to which company in the vast herd of information ranging across the vast plains of the open internet.  And direct mail, And even products people wear.  With the vast amount of information we all process every day, we have to filter most of it out. We pay attention only to things that interest us, messages that come from people we trust. Brands are the shorthand that help potential customers get past those filters.

Aviation Branding – It’s a new brand world.

That cross-trainer you’re wearing — one look at the distinctive swoosh on the side tells everyone who’s got you branded. That coffee travel mug you’re carrying — ah, you’re a Starbucks woman! Your T-shirt with the distinctive Champion “C” on the sleeve, the blue jeans with the prominent Levi’s rivets, the watch with the hey-this-certifies-I-made-it icon on the face, your fountain pen with the maker’s symbol crafted into the end …
You’re branded, branded, branded, branded.
It’s time for me — and you — to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that’s true for anyone who’s interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work.
–    Tom Peters, “the Brand Called You” Fast Company

Building a successful and strong brand is more than just constructing a logo based on your initials and choosing your favorite color, although that is sometimes a good start. (As long as you are consistent in their use, that’s still a step ahead of not branding at all.)

First, decide whether you should be branding your company or your product.  Is it most important for people to know, trust and like your company, or your product?  It’s not always the same thing.

Many companies decide that their products should be the star of the show and concentrate their branding efforts on their main product.

Spend some time thinking about your company or products’ key advantages or benefits from a customer’s point of view.  What do your customers love about you?  Speed?  Dependability? Personalized service?  The latest technology?

Whatever it is, capture it in a statement or two. Then work on a symbol, colors, fonts, and other visual elements that are shorthand for those benefits.  Work with a great graphic artist if you’re not an expert on visual cues and symbols.

Create a design brief.

Your design brief is a document you can hand to anyone who works any kind of materials for your company. You could hand it to a trade show booth designer, a desktop publisher, a printer, or anyone else who works with your company and expect to get consistent results that support your objectives and key messages.

Your branding strategy and design brief could include:

  • Key marketing messages, taglines and advertising headlines
  • Your logo and any other graphic images used to represent your company
  • Photos of your key people (especially in a trust industry like insurance or law)
  • Colors (including those in your logo, background colors, etc.)  Include RGB and hex codes, as well as printed swatches for matching materials at press checks to ensure consistent colors.
  • Fonts
  • Corporate letterhead
  • Preferences for writing – do you prefer first person narrative? Lots of bullets?  Newspaper style? Informal?
  • Style sheet – how your company name, product name, etc. are spelled, how they should be used grammatically, etc.
  • Website header/other common graphics
  • Any other “standards” like preferences for “signature ” stationery

You can even have this available electronically on an intranet or secured website with downloadable fonts and graphics.  (Great for companies have offices in several cities that want to do printing locally.)

Use your brand everywhere.

Ensure that your brand is clear and used consistently everywhere your company has a presence, including:


  • Trade shows
  • Web sites, blogs and social media profiles
  • Printed materials
  • Product packaging
  • Invoices, statements and other forms
  • Anything else that customers see
  • Customer service – even telephone scripts (have guidelines for how the phone is answered, questions you ask to ensure a customer is satisfied with the outcome of the call.)

Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to extend (or harm) your branding image.  Consistency is the key.
In what other ways do you extend your company’s brand?

Extra – How to Create a Powerful Aviation Brand for $1000 or Less!

“How do I create a brand for less than $1000?”


Bootstrapping is a completely respectable way of doing business!

We do our Brand Refresh – $5979, but here’s the do-it-yourself version.
You can spend money, or you can spend time.

– Download our Free Design Brief template. 
What do you want to communicate? Who do you need to compete with? 
Logo, colors, fonts, stationery, signature lines, business cards, ways of answering the phone, etc. 
– Join our Insider Circle. 
Least expensive way of getting consulting.  ($279)
– Use 99 Designs to create your logo. 
Starting at $399

No Random Acts of Marketing –

For personal attention on your own campaigns – schedule a free 30 minute consultation!


More About Aviation Branding Topics:

Branding Mishaps – and the Insider Circle

Brand Advertising versus Direct Response Advertising

Aviation Marketing Master Class – Genaro Sanchez, Cutter Aviation talks about images, video and branding.

Use Your Company (Or Product’s) Core Story to Build Your Brand

I’m not Boeing, Coca-Cola or NetJets. Can I Afford a “Brand?”

Building Reputation and Credibility with Aviation Branding