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Airborne Brands Podcast and Transcript

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Marketing Insights Podcast

April 11, 2023


Shanita Akintonde:

Hi, this is Shanita Akintonde, educator, author, career coach and marketing sheroe. I invite you to join me for this very special edition of my Marketing Insights podcast series. This one is entitled Airborne Brands.

Many of y'all know, marketing maestros, that I'm president of my own company, Shanita Speaks, LLC. It is a global media enterprise that works with leaders around the globe to help them connect to their brands and their business that they are trying to utilize to move themselves and their missions forward. Because of the fact that it's global in scope, I travel a lot, primarily by airplane. So, when I thought about it on my last flight, what topics I want to talk about in upcoming podcast, I thought, "Well, Shanita, why don't you share some of the insights you've gathered from your travels?"

I've been everywhere, as I like to say, from San Francisco to South Africa, from Ottawa, Canada to California, to Houston and Hawaii, The Bahamas and Boston. So, I have gone both internationally, locally, villages, towns, cities, et cetera. But the common denominator, the common thread that is woven throughout those experiences, are my airplane flights. So, what I'm going to do is talk to you today about some of my experiences gleaned from those travel travails, as well as some research I've done on what I'm calling Airborne Brands, those brands that are needed and necessary for travelers, whether you're like me and on an airplane almost once a week, or if you just want to know before you begin to travel, what things you can look out for and what brands can support you in that process. So, here we go.

Welcome, travelers and adventure seekers, to another exciting episode of my Marketing Insights podcast series entitled, Airborne Brands. Whether you're a frequent flyer or just someone who loves the thrill of exploration, honey, I've got a treat for you today. So, let's go. In this special edition of my Marketing Insights podcast, we're going to explore the brands that make travel not only more convenient but pleasurable as well as unforgettable. Fasten your seat belts and get ready for a journey through the world of airborne brands.

Airborne brand point number one, elevating the in-flight experience. Let's take off our oxygen masks, marketing maestros, and begin by talking about the brands that elevate the in-flight experience, those products, goods, and services that make our long journeys a breeze. Think about the last time you were on an airplane, and if you've never been on one, imagine that you have been, and you were pleasantly surprised by the amenities provided by the airline.

Now, let me tell y'all what I mean by amenities. I travel primarily locally by way of Southwest Airlines. I love the fact that their brand campaign slogan is love. They just spell it, L-U-V. They give out peanuts usually and those little cracker things, which are the same as the peanuts. Now that I think about it, it's all the same thing. It's in one little packet and they give it to you. Can I just tell you when you are hungry or you're in need of something crunchy, that thing is life?

Anyway, my second airline that I favor is United. I take United generally when I'm traveling internationally. I'm not being braggadocious, but I'm going to say this little point here, when I travel First Class, that's a whole different experience that probably could have its own podcast. So, let me just say you are not getting those little peanut snack baggies, you're getting full meals, champagne, the whole works. Regardless of whether we're talking about the peanut pack or the champagne toast, the amenities provided by the airline can make a difference. It's called the magic of flight. So, brands like Emirates and Qatar Airways are also specifically designed because they redefine luxury in the skies. They do this by offering spacious seats, which is also important.

If you travel Southwest, for example, and you board on the A class group, you can get on the plane first, and that's after they call all the people who need assistance getting on the planes, the people who have children, military. There are a whole bunch of folks that go in front of you, even if you are Class A. But once you get in boarding group A and you get on the flight, I suggest you try to pick those seats, if you need more legroom, that are close to the plane exit space. That will give you a little more space. But back to the podcast, the two brands I just mentioned, Emirates and Qatar, do this by offering you, as I just said, the spacious seating, gourmet meals, and top-notch entertainment. That's the other thing.

When I fly internationally and my longest is 23 hours, that's how long it took me to get from Chicago to Johannesburg. That's a day, but because I had access to films, I had access to music, I had access to games, I'm staying in my seat, on my screen in front of me, it didn't really feel that long. It was long, y'all, but it felt a lot better, let me say that. So, if you can look at your personal travel to utilize brands such as these, that would be great. But even if you're on the marketing side of this and you just want to be the voice of what you know consumers want to hear, use me as an example. When you travel in these spaces where you have luxurious accommodations on a flight, it's like traveling in a 5-star hotel, except you're just thousands of feet above the ground. Make sense?

Here is airborne brand flight piece number two, staycation heaven. Not all travel adventures require you to hop on a plane, and I want to make that clear. Staycations are all the rage and brands like Airbnb have revolutionized the way we explore our own cities or nearby destinations. With brands like Airbnb, you can choose from unique and cozy accommodations, and they really [inaudible 00:06:45] get jiggy with it. I personally have never stayed in an Airbnb, but I know folks who have. My son stayed in Airbnbs a lot, and I know a lot of people, especially my college students, do that as well.

Let me just say this, the money you're able to save in lieu of the accommodations that you're able to choose from is really a great price value, correlation example. The value in many cases, from what I know from people, again, who've stayed in these accommodations, far exceed the price that you pay, which is always a great deal. We always love deals, do we not, marketing maestros? From tree houses to castles, the choice is out there. It's not just a place to stay, it's an experience in itself. Wonderful.

Now, I'm just going to call this airborne brand point number three, I was getting a little creative with the last one, streamlining your journey, just like I'm streamlining what I'm calling this portion of the podcast, which by the way is called Airborne Brands. If you didn't catch that last example I gave you, Airbnb is an "airborne brand." Get it? In quotation marks, even if it doesn't require travel on the plane. So, I want you to be aware that I'm giving you a continuum of examples in this podcast, so that you can select what applies to you, which is what we know is important for us to do as marketers.

Now, let's talk about brands that made the journey itself more convenient, like Uber and Lyft. These two brands in particular have changed the game. They change the way we move around cities. They make transportation easy, and with just a few taps on your smartphone, [inaudible 00:08:30], someone's pulling up. I use Uber personally more than I do Lyft just because that app's on my phone and I can access it. No shade against Lyft. I know Lyft and Uber are equally yoked, so to speak, from what I know. I tend to choose the black car option for Uber.

I know y'all saying, "Professor Akintonde, you're showing us your bougie-boo side on this podcast." I'm just telling y'all what I do because I have a lot of stuff I carry with me. I have a lot of bags and I also have a lot of room needs. So, because Uber Black gives you spacious accommodations, like I was talking about earlier on the flight example, that's my choice. Plus, those guys, different from general Uber when I travel, they help me take the bags out of their vehicles and there's a little more personal attention.

But that aside, regardless to whether you're doing Uber Comfort, Uber Black, they have Uber Pet, they have so many examples, choose what's best for you. Same with Lyft. The deal is there's no more waiting in long taxi lines, or hailing a cab on the street. Putting on my DEI hat, which you know, marketing maestros, I always like to do on these podcasts, many people, especially people from marginalized groups, have reported that the idea of Uber and Lyft has democratized travel to and from where we're going in life because they don't have to deal with the biases that were often present with the former category in which cabs would pass folk up, wouldn't pick them up for whatever reasons.

Same with taxis and other things. So, you couldn't get to where you were going because they wouldn't stop to take you there. Uber and Lyft have totally turned that all upside down as well. So, kudos and [inaudible 00:10:16] to them. If you can't hear me, I'm clapping. Let me do that louder. Clap, clap, clap, clap. Similarly to me saying earlier about having your own personal 5-star hotel in the air, when you have these types of front door service vehicles that pull up for you, it's like having a personal chauffeur wherever you go. So, that's wonderful.

Next is airborne brand segment piece number four. There I go, forgetting what I'm calling this. Marketing maestros, for those of you who've been hanging around with me throughout this journey, this is year five for me doing the podcast series with McGraw Hill. If this is your first time listening to me, welcome and thank you for joining. If you've been riding along with me, pun intended, throughout this five-year journey, I'll say that word again, then you know a little bit about my personality.

What I try to do in most of my podcasts, although I don't do it always, is give you not only the big marketing picture perspective that I bring to the table as a retired professor, as a marketing consultant, as a professional speaker, et cetera, I also try to give you a perspective that I think is applicable to your daily life personally and of course professionally as marketers. When I come up with these topics, and I'm going to do this even more in 2024, I also try to think of it and, as I said, put myself in the shoes of the consumer, put myself in the shoes of you as listeners, put myself into the mindset of what is future facing things that brands may not have considered or even be aware of.

So, this last piece that I'm going to talk about is how we are traveling with peace of mind and the importance of that. The one thing that can make or break not only a travel experience, but a brand as a whole, is peace of mind that consumers feel is connected to your product, good, or service. In the case of travel, that would be insurance. Travel insurance brands like Allianz and World Nomads provide consumers with peace of mind because if a flight is canceled, if your luggage is lost, if there's unfortunately a medical emergency that you have to deal with aboard a plane, you need someone or something to have your back. That would be those brands because they're going to ensure you can explore the world worry-free.

Actually, I said that was the last one, but here's a bonus, booking engines and the power behind them. Last point, we cannot forget about booking engines that bring all elements of your trip together. When I say booking engines, that means these personal concierge services, in other words, that can help you plan your trip, like Expedia and These brands offer one-stop shop for flights, accommodations, and even things you want to do, i.e., excursions. I went scuba diving recently, y'all. It was so scary. So, it's like having a travel agent also in your pocket, helping you plan the perfect getaway.

As we wrap up this episode, marketing maestros, of Airborne Brands, I hope I've inspired you to not only embark on your next adventure with a renewed sense of excitement, but also think about ways you can communicate this to consumers. Back to travel, now that we can do that, has never been more accessible and enjoyable and I think for many of us, it's because we had to take a little bit of a hiatus before. So, we're all happy to be back up in the air. Thanks to all those incredible brands that make it possible.

In closing, again, [inaudible 00:14:03] to you, whether you're jetting off to an exotic destination or just going back in your backyard to have some BBQ. Remember that the world is full of airborne brands that are ready to enhance your travel experience, just like I seek to do with you personally, marketing maestros, in each and every one of my Marketing Insights podcasts. Until next time, safe travels. Bye-bye.

If you enjoy listening to these podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Stitcher, iTunes, or Google Play and like them wherever you hear them. Connect with me on LinkedIn at Professor Shanita Akintonde, or follow me on Twitter, @_ShanitaSpeaks.

About the Author

Marketing Maven Shanita Akintonde personifies passion and purpose. With over two decades of strategically-honed leadership experience as a professor and marketing executive, Shanita has transitioned over 10,000 students from her classroom to the boardroom. She is an author, newspaper columnist, and certified professional speaker who serves as President of ShanitaSpeaks, LLC, a company that energizes clients to predict marketing trends, identify niche audiences, and effectively communicate measurable outcomes, all of which she spotlights as host of the #1-ranked Marketing Insights podcast series. Learn more about Shanita at:

Profile Photo of Shanita Baraka Akintonde