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.
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.
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