Branding Lessons from Embraer

Unless you’re a commercial aviation buff like I am, you’ve probably not heard of Embraer. Airbus and Boeing may come to mind, but the Brazil-based company isn’t as familiar – or as big. But, chances are good that if you don’t live in a major hub (Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco), then you’ve been on one of their jets. These smaller regional jets carry folks on nearly every major airline each day. And this short profile on details some of their success, a lot of which I think comes down to brand positioning:

Carve out a market

While Embraer (after privatization) could have gone for the big boys, they stayed small and focused. As such, they’re now the envy of the big boys.

Diversify your revenue streams

Embraer doesn’t just make commercial regional jets. They also make private planes and military aircraft. This gives them three solid markets to tap into, so if one goes sour, the company doesn’t crash.

Build for the future

As the piece details, Embraer’s main play for the long haul is China. Smart. Your industry may not have a chance in an emerging market, but there always is a “next” for what you do. Be sure to find it and you’ll succeed well into the future.

Know your competition

Most telling quote of the piece? It’s this:

Silva said the company would not follow in the footsteps of its competitor, Bombardier, who is developing a CS300 model with a range of 3,400 nautical miles, which puts it into direct competition with the Airbus A320neo. “We believe the [Bombardier] C Series proposition, in terms of range, is too much. Airlines won’t pay for something they will not use. I think the sweet spot is about 2,400 nautical miles. Some 95 percent of the narrowbody flying in the world is within 1,800 nautical miles.”

Knowing where your competition is going (and what your potential customers are likely to pay for) means you’ll be better able to make something the market actually wants and beat your competitors in the process.

The next time you hop on a jet built for 40, think about the smart company decisions being made to get you where you’re going. Then, on board, when you have to shut off your electronics, diagram out how you can apply the above lessons to what you make.

What lessons did you take away from the Embraer article that can help your business?

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