Redefining flight in an experience economy

In this episode of Brand Junkies, Dave and Kenn had the honor of sitting down with Bridget Hall, the Director of Brand Engagement from, formerly Bell Helicopter, and now Bell. Redefining an 80-year-old brand is in her words, “a marathon.” What does it look like to re-establish a corporate identity in an experience economy? Read on to hear from Bridget in her own words. 

Engagement is more than communications and it’s more than just marketing. It’s really about brand because brand, as we know, is not just a logo and signs but it’s all about how you make people feel. It’s what gets said about you when you’re not in the room and all of the interactions and experiences that people have with you.

As we look at the economy that we’re in today, I think there’s no arguing that we’re in the experience economy. There are a multitude of choices consumers can make in any given industry, in any given product category. The thing about our products is that – yes our products do stand on their own and they stand for quality, reliability, safety, and now pioneering innovative technology – and a lot of other people can say the same thing. What sets you apart in the experience economy is how you make people feel, how you build a relationship with them, and if you’re in it for the long haul. Are you building their long-term business success as a partner? Or are you just somebody who wants to sell a product to them?

“Are you building their long-term business success as a partner? — Or are you just somebody who wants to sell them a product?” 

That “experience” word is so important because it’s not just about the product. You can develop the best product that’s out there, but if you don’t have all of the intangible and the emotional aspects of why consumers buy, they won’t select your product, even if it’s the best on the market. 

At Bell, we have an iconic brand. We’ve been around for 80 plus years and so as we set out to shift our brand identity and build experience into our core, it was really important that as we went through this process we were intentional, we were deliberate, and we took the time and the care to make sure that we were taking into account all of the feedback, not just from our employees and our customers, but our stakeholders and our potential customers. We really needed a brand that was going to recognize our past, talk to where we sit today, and give a vision for the future. 

We used to be Bell Helicopters, but actually, helicopters aren’t our primary focus anymore. That reality was part of the impetus for this brand transformation that we’ve been on. The fact that when we look, we are not a helicopter company, we’re not a tilt-rotor company, we are a technology company that’s redefining flight. We realized our name was sort of holding us back from achieving that full potential and so we dropped the “Helicopter” so that we could really envision our true growth of where we were going as an organization. 

Then we started the heavy lifting. We needed to clarify our experience so that everyone internal and external to the company would know, “This is who Bell is, this is what we stand for, and this is how we want people to experience our company, whether you’re an employee or a customer who’s using our product.” 

Check back in next week to hear Bridget’s insights on her process for redefining Bell from the ground up. You can follow Bell on social media at @bellflight and catch the full interview with Bridget here!