Getting It Right for the Right Airport
Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB)
“Right Airport. Right Here.” Campaign
In the summer of 2019, following a highly contested RFP process, Aqua won the contract to become the agency of record for Volusia County, Florida (Daytona Beach area). This made us responsible for providing integrated marketing services for the planning and implementation of traditional media advertising, social media, public relations, and creative programs for services provided by various Volusia County Government departments.
Additionally, we would examine the brands for the destination’s key facilities, such as the Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB). Through Aqua’s tried and true branding process, utilized with several other clients to produce exceptional results, we determined the airport lacked a strong, cohesive brand and identified ways it could refresh its branding and make a bigger impact in the local and national marketplace. Therefore, a complete brand refresh was required.
Everything We Needed was Right Here
Before the brand refresh could take place, we had to determine what perception problems, if any, the current brand faced. After speaking to key destination stakeholders and airport leadership, as well as studying the results of research looking at the travel behavior of those in and around the market, it was clear DAB had a leakage problem. Local Volusia County residents were ignoring DAB and driving over an hour to Orlando’s two airports, Orlando International Airport and Orlando Sanford International Airport, because they believed they could only get direct flights, for a cheaper price, in Orlando. However, the research revealed this rationale was wrong.
Considering the gas and time it takes to drive to Orlando, the long lines of the much larger Orlando airports, and the risk of I-4 traffic forcing travelers to miss flights entirely, the cost-saving benefit of using an out-of-market airport was simply not worth it. Plus with DAB offering flights through Delta and American Airlines, travelers could reach any destination from DAB.
However, even if it was better to fly directly from DAB for Volusia County residents, it wouldn’t matter because DAB lacked the branding and marketing strategy to communicate effectively with its audience. For years, DAB had tried communicating this idea to the public, but struggled with long, convoluted arguments. Audiences learned to tune them out because advertising was too information heavy, hard to follow, and not engaging. Therefore, in order to regain credibility with its local audience, and reach potential travelers, DAB needed clear, concise, and impactful messaging to support its refreshed brand.
By reviewing past and present DAB messaging strategies (or lack thereof), studying competing airport branding, and assessing DAB’s strengths, Aqua condensed the airport’s message of not driving to a distant airport into a concise tagline: “Right Airport. Right Here.”
Rounding out the Brand
But claiming to be the “Right Airport. Right Here.” wouldn’t be enough. Aqua developed a brief list of succinct central campaign lines to challenge the most likely held perceptions of DAB. These lines would be used throughout advertising, PR, web, and more:
- Skip the trip before the trip.
- It’s only a cheaper flight if you make the flight.
- I-4 doesn’t fly.
- The longer the drive, the more expensive the flight.
- That Non-Stop isn’t Worth the Stop and Go.
- Trade the highway for the runway.
- Time flies. Will you?
In addition to the central campaign lines, a definitive tone was established to capture the confident, light-hearted, but intelligent attitude of the DAB brand. The refreshed brand palette consisted of colors found throughout Volusia county, reflecting the Florida beach community with a range of bold and bright colors inspired by the water, sky, and land. And the new visual design for DAB advertising would feature bold headlines, clean line-drawn illustrations, easy to read body copy font, and balanced layouts that allowed for enough space so it didn’t look crowded.
Given that Aqua is a full service agency, the refreshed brand also changed DAB’s approach to media buying and Public Relations. By placing emphasis on out-of-home, digital media, and utilizing geo-targeting, DAB could generate broad reach and frequency to stimulate the consumer’s perception by promoting reasons/benefits to choose DAB over other airports. Select digital billboards displayed travel times to DAB vs Orlando airports, and highlighted the extra time it took to fly anywhere else but DAB. Aqua PR would supplement marketing efforts and campaign concepts with crafted initiatives that heighten awareness and engagement between consumers and DAB to generate and share key airport messaging through earned media channels.
The best benchmark of success for the new branding is that in August 2020, during the COVID-19 global pandemic, DAB was ranked the busiest airport in Florida. Meaning that at a time when less people are flying than ever before, and airlines and airports around the country are struggling to stay open, DAB not only was recording record-breaking numbers the entire summer, but even saw more people than any other airport in the state.