Success in Branding

Rationale and Preview:

Small businesses are the heart and soul of America.  They give a personal feel to a very impersonal society.  Small businesses create and sustain character in many towns, large and small.  In Fayetteville, NC, there is a small business called Air Born Aerial Fitness. Air Born Aerial Fitness offers a unique service.  Think, Cirque du Soleil or circus arts, where you see acrobats flying high in the air demonstrating strength and grace.  This is happening in the humble military town of Fayetteville.

Being a small business has its challenges, and the biggest one faced is recognition.  Recently, Air Born Aerial Fitness has purchased their own space.  When the group first started, it rented space from a climbing gym.  As the group became more popular, they were able to justify this expense.

Success in branding can lead to success in a business.  Air Born Aerial Fitness has achieved this by employing great branding skills and setting themselves apart from other businesses.  This is important to understand because it shows that any business can be fruitful with the right communication to its varied audiences.  Understanding how branding can help a business (or self) can help others achieve their goals in business or personal settings.

Air Born Aerial Fitness began in 2009 with one instructor and two students.  Now, in 2016 Air Born has five instructors and hundreds of students.  They have been featured in many local publications, and have performed for the public since 2010.  Their success has much to do with branding and their balance of creativity and constraint.

For this project, I will analyze Air Born Aerial Fitness’s use of branding and how their organizational communication has made them successful for nearly 7 years.  In an ever changing world with technological advances and opportunities, small businesses struggle to maintain momentum.  Air Born has and continues to keep their momentum going.  Modeling a prosperous business will serve as an example for other potential small business owners in the 21st century.

Literature Review:

According to a Forbes article, “How Important is Small Business Branding Really?”, brand recognition is vital.  This article goes on to explain five tips for establishing a strong brand.  These tips will be used to support my argument of Air Born Aerial Fitness as a model for good small business branding.  These tips include, “Choose a name that’s relevant and meaningful, develop a voice, create a strong logo and use it, respond to feedback, and be consistent” ( Bosari, 2012, p. 1). Looking at businesses, such as Coca Cola or Charmin, branding has made these businesses strong.  Recognition is easy with these brands by the first note of a jingle or by simply seeing a red can.

The uniqueness of this group is the fact that some customers can also be seen as “employees”.  Air Born has a group of aerialist that do special appearances and performance. These aerialists have these positions because they auditioned, and therefore became representatives of Air Born.  While still students and “customers”, they act as employees representing the business while out in the town.  These aerialists, or “employees, transform brands into reality in terms of the customer’s experience” (Boone, 2000, p.36).  Having good internal branding, will project the ideals and product to the customers.  Air Born has a benefit here because their “employees” are also “customers”, so they get the insider experience.  The aerialists act as brand ambassadors that promote the product of aerial classes while demonstrating skills to the public.  Another important aspect of internal branding is digital brand management.  Being able to use social media effectively to build a brand is essential, especially for a small business. Using the social media as a platform to communicate with the public for “breaking down barriers, creating synergies, and opening lines of communication” (Boone, 2000, p.38).

Once the brand has a place, the customers need to understand the strategy of the business.  Air Born advertises their service to military, moms, fitness gurus, and the average joe.  The customer needs to understand the “value proposition, and prefer it over the value propositions of your competitors” (Marren, 2011, p.54).  When Air Born Aerial Fitness started, there was no other place like it in Fayetteville, or the surrounding areas.  However, since popularity of aerial arts spiked, there has been a few places that have popped up over the last five to six years.  Having clear branding and strategy help the customers stay with Air Born Aerial Fitness.

Please view the following link to understand the framework and methodology I used to conduct my analysis of Air Born Aerial Fitness.

mitchellbrenda_week4assignment_092516

 

References:

Boone, M. (2000). The importance of internal branding. Sales and Marketing Management, 152(9), 36-38. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.queens.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/211860438?accountid=38688

Bosari, J. (2012, February). How important is Small Business Branding Really? Retrieved September 20, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneywisewomen/2012/02/21/how-important-is-small-business-branding-really/#420264a37ee9

Marren, P. (2011). Brand spanking. Journal of Business Strategy, 32(2), 53-55. doi:10.1108/02756661111109789

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COM 610 Reflection Blog 2

Human Resources are the “heart and soul” of an organization.  This particular department takes the “machine” element and makes it more…well…human.  Why do we have Human Resources?  Well, to not only protect the company interests, but to also protect the employees interests as well.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the U.S. saw a vast change in laws because of the Civil Rights movement.  One of the most recognizable statements we see as we apply for jobs is from the EEOC, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which prohibits discrimination in employment (Heathfield, 2016). At the beginning of this movement, the HR department was seen as a protector of these rights; as time moves on, HR is this and more. As we continue on in the 21st century, companies are faced with globalization, technological advances, and more competition.  As I said before, HR is the “heart and soul”.  While the “heart” may be hiring/firing, the “soul” is what they deal with on a daily basis.  These 21st century challenges create unique problems for HR.  Their job now is much different than in was in the 1960s.  According to Dave Ulrich, HR will be more of a business strategic partner that works to establish effective organizational processes.  They will also serve as an employee champion which will answer questions and concerns by the staff (May, 2016).

While I feel that HR has many jobs, a very important job is recruitment.  Without recruitment, the jobs would not get filled as efficiently.  Recruiters screen applicants and start the hiring process.  This makes for a much easier hiring process.  When I was about to graduate college, I was on the hunt for a teaching job.  I attended a Teacher Fair and was introduced to a recruiter for Cumberland County Schools in North Carolina.  I was just about to leave to finish my studies in Australia, but this recruiter kept in contact with me throughout the rest of my studies.  When I was back in the states, she got me three interviews with schools and I ended up with a job right after I graduated.  This part of HR is so important.  I felt wanted and cared about, not just another number.  I had value which made me excited to start my career with Cumberland County Schools.

Human Resources really means, Human Connection.

Heathfield, S. M. (2016). Want to Understand the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Retrieved September 18, 2016, from https://www.thebalance.com/civil-rights-act-employment-1917922
May, K. E. (2016). What is I-O? Retrieved September 18, 2016, from http://www.siop.org/tip/backissues/tipjan98/may.aspx

COM 610 Reflection Blog 1

In Poor Richard’s Almanac, Benjamin Franklin cleverly writes “There are no Gains without Pains”.  What does this mean in today’s organizational landscape?  Is the classic management model still a viable way to run business?  Looking at my life and my current job, I’d say that the classic management model is still alive and well.  I work in education. Public education’s model hasn’t changed much.  Its “efficient machine” like model shows that the classic management is at play (Eisenbuerg, Goodhall and Trethewey, 2014, p.65).  Technically, education is not supposed to be a business, but it is.  Education provides a service to its “customers” aka students; an education.  The teachers are not the managers, but the workers. I could even go as far as saying the teachers are better suited to the “doing work” instead of the “thinking work” (Eisenbuerg, Goodhall and Trethewey, 2014, p. 71). Anyone in education would argue that teachers have to do plenty of thinking, and that’s true, but we think in the guidelines that are given to us by our leaders.  Going back to Franklin’s quote, representatives and government officials that create these mandates, curriculums, and laws on education create the “pain” for teachers.  They feel that with these pains, comes gains.  Even with my negative intonation, I think there is a place for the classic management model.  The previous high school I worked at was very successful.  We were one of three high schools in North Carolina that earned an “A” for test scores and improvements in the school.  Teachers did the work to acquire the excellent results, and it worked.

Education, specifically at a high school level, shows Taylor’s assumptions of this model clearly between the ranks of superintendent, principal, assistant principal, department chair, and teacher. For example, as a teacher I would never go directly to the superintendent; I’d have to use the “chain of command” to voice my issue or opinion.  Looking at Fayol’s ideas, it connects well with the teacher evaluation process.  The management principles are planning, organizing, goal setting, coordinating, and evaluating (Eisenbuerg, Goodhall and Trethewey, 2014, p. 72).  Teachers go through a yearly evaluation process by their administration.  Teachers have to follow a plan and are ranked on how well they execute this plan.

Personally, I think the classic management model works well for education. Sure, like any company there are parts that could be changed and improved.  However, education needs to run like a well oiled machine.  There needs to be order to help create responsible, intelligent citizens.  The pros for both administration and teachers are that there are clear goals that need to be met each year, not only by the teachers, but by the students as well.  The cons are that it leaves no wiggle room.  I taught high school English, and there were some books I couldn’t read with my students because they weren’t on the “list”.  This list was created by “management” that had no real connection with my students. There were books on my own list that could have helped poor readers succeed, but I wasn’t given that chance.

This model is viable today not only in education, but also in the commercial world.  In the article, “Renovating Home Depot”, the classic management model is seen from a more military standpoint.  The military mindset helps employees operate well in a high pressure  environment and “follow orders”.  This has made Home Depot more successful over the years.

Do I think that the classic management model still has a place?  Absolutely.  Would Benjamin Franklin agree? Probably.

Eisenberg, E. M., Goodall, H. L., Jr., & Tretheway, A. (2014). Organizational Communication Balancing Creativity and Constraint (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford

Renovating Home Depot. (2006, March 6). Retrieved September 11, 2016, from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2006-03-05/renovating-home-depot