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Aero-Marketing 101: Using Synergy To Rejuvenate Aviation

Reaching Out To The Non-Aviation Community To Draw Them In

By Dave Juwel

One of the best ways to rejuvenate general aviation is to reach out to the non-aviation community and draw non-aviators into an introductory relationship with you. There are a lot of people out there that have always wanted to fly, but don’t know the variety of opportunities that are available to them. Synergy is a key to effectively introducing aviation to them.

The word “synergy” has the meaning of collaboration, interaction, working together, and a combined effort which produces a greater result than the parts do by themselves. Synergy is what you hope to get when two companies or events merge. In this case, it’s a $25 word that simply means that aviators and non-aviators are working together to accomplish something greater than they might normally be able to do by themselves. Synergy gives a non-aviator a reason to attend your event with more to do and experience than just aviation. I’ve watched synergy in action at several different fly-in’s.

Synergy was the theme at these fly-in’s. At a minimal expense, people from many different non-aviation fields worked in collaboration with general aviation to introduce their independent and combined values to the local community. How much synergy? Usually about 25 sponsors and vendors involved in the event were not aviation organizations. These non-aviators worked closely with about approximately 25 aviation organizations.

The non-flying aspect of the fly-in is usually a car show, but it could be any other field of endeavor that’s attractive to the general public. The value of synergy is it brings the non-flying general public into a relationship with a broad spectrum of aviators. They come for the car show and are introduced to aviation. It is a mutual relationship, because aviators are introduced to customized or antique cars.  At these shows, people can watch various aircraft fly, and then walk around and touch them, talk to the pilots, and even take flight in a bi-plane or helicopter for about $20-$45. Skydivers are usually jumping. Unique aircraft and award winning cars are on display. Live entertainment and activities for children are available.

But planes, cars, food and fun were not the only things you found on the menu. You could have met some pretty interesting people at these events, as well. I’ve met backyard mechanics, millionaires, and famous aviators, all fraternizing together as equals and experts in their field.

The displays are remarkable too. At one synergistic fly-in I saw a $1,430,000.00 Ferrari Enzo (pictured) on display.

At another I saw an American Airlines DC-3. The DC-3 aircraft was introduced to the airlines in 1935.

Most important of all, you could have met with the owners and pilots of what may be your favorite type of aircraft, whether it be a biplane, helicopter, trike, motorized sailplane, aerobatic aircraft, or a warbird.

A smart airport operator will no longer put on a pure airshow or fly-in. They will do everything they can to make it a community affair, and create a vortex of synergy that creates greater public magnetism for the event. Everyone involved will win.

FMI: http://millionairdallas.com/events/wingswheels-2012/index.htm, www.flagshipdetroit.org

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