The Liberty Gazette
April 28, 2015Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: Thanks to Andrea’s involvement in her community as an assistant superintendent of a school district in Southern California and the president of her local Rotary club, a small group of U.S. military veterans dressed in smiles earlier this month when her club sponsored a special day at the local airport to honor the WWII vets with free rides in a Stearman biplane. The Stearman is an open cockpit airplane, but I’m willing to bet not a one of the men minded if they had to pick bugs off their teeth – just more proof of a good time.
Something like that could be done here, just maybe not during love bug season.
Goodness does good for everyone, and in this case doing something nice for people who have served our country, and using our local airport in the way it was meant to be used – to give back to the community – would be a fabulous use of the Liberty Municipal Airport.
Airports are for people who don’t fly.
Small community airports are a door for products and services, including emergency services, and for business people to travel, and maybe even to invest in a forward-thinking community. Overseers of any airport, big or small, can launch a progressive campaign to advance its purpose, increase revenue, and further branding, both of the community and of the airport.
Mike: Branding is something Cutter Aviation does well. A small family owned company that offers fueling services, maintenance, hangars, and aircraft sales, Cutter stands out in the industry with impressively low turnover for key positions. What one sees in Cutter, what can be learned, can be applied to any airport or aviation company.
Take for instance, how their transparency turns the face of a stranger into a friend, and how careful attention to detail means in every space where they have a presence their logo and colors are easily spotted.
Think of the Buccee’s character. That’s successful branding. They have developed a following of loyal customers, and even non-customers associate the friendly chipmunk in the ball cap with clean restrooms, good fuel prices, and fun shopping.
When a pilot visits the Cutter Aviation website he or she is treated to the faces of real people who work for Cutter, along with all their contact information and a bit about them. It’s personal, and it gives the customer a feeling that they will receive personalized, not automated service. People like that.
Cutter creates an enjoyable experience and everywhere they are, there’s their brand – the red color and the arrow that has been in their logo since the beginning – and customers see that and it triggers the emotions formed from positive experiences and personal service.
Recently, Cutter employees have been dressing in Western garb for industry trade shows and events. Since the company got its start in the Southwest, Albuquerque to be precise, the Cutter folks began showing up with boots, hats, and Western wear, and now the Cutter Cowboys are becoming as much a part of the company’s branding as the 85-year logo.
Linda: Some municipal airports use their city’s logo, while others create their own identity, understanding that they are reaching a unique market – one full of people drawn to images that exude aviation friendliness. Combining an airplane with parts of the current City of Liberty logo image, something inviting, saying this community welcomes aviators, could be the beginning of better branding for the Liberty Municipal Airport.