15 Jul Helping new ideas take off
The coronavirus pandemic changed everything. The way we live our lives and the way we work. With borders closed and aircraft fleets grounded, the aviation industry has been hit particularly hard – and remains on the brink. With job losses and government bailouts looming, one positive thing to come out of the crisis has been the wealth of new ideas to reshape aircraft cabin design and make air travel more hygienic.
Hope on the horizon
From mixing forward and backward facing seats to anti-microbial seat dividers and UV-C cleaning robots, there have been a raft of creative new aviation concepts launched since lockdown began. These tend to be divided into two camps: those with evidenced benefits and commercial viability, and those ideas which are released for their PR value.
When Seattle-based design and innovation company, Teague, approached us with its AirShield concept we knew we had both. Not only does the design offer passenger’s individual protection from viral transmission in the cabin but it also gave us an opportunity to open the debate about how we enhance protection from airborne viruses in wider society.
Planning and executing a PR launch amid a global pandemic had its challenges. Not only was our team working remotely but so too were the media – which meant our media relations had to be even more tenacious than normal. We were also very conscious to position the design as a long-term solution to enhanced hygiene onboard and not a knee-jerk reaction with a limited shelf life. The AirShield design is the result of months of research and dynamic modelling and we were careful to develop messaging that showcased this was not another concept ‘piggy-backing’ on the impact of the covid-19 outbreak.
Media relations is so much more than simply selling a story – it involves understanding and monitoring the changing news agenda and ensuring you know the types of stories journalists are looking for (and how to frame them). The best PR practitioners have their finger on the pulse. We knew from the outset there would be media interest in a story about a design with the potential to protect travellers and support the aviation industry, so we planned our campaign and collateral with that in mind.
A means to an end
After agreeing a UK exclusive with the Daily Mail, we also secured national coverage for the campaign (which also included social media activity) in The Telegraph, CNN, Seattle Times, RTE and several of the world’s biggest aviation trade publications. In total the campaign reached more than one billion people across the world, drove increased awareness and of Teague and AirShield amongst new, global audiences, as well as shining a light on its research whitepaper.
Not only was the coverage book overflowing but – and this is where PR has true value – the campaign has led to a huge surge in real measurable interest in the product from within the airline industry, helping drive sales leads and revenue for our client at an important time.
To discover more about AirShield, click here.