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Hollywood Burbank Airport’s Nerissa Sugars explains how winning ACI-NA’s prestigious 2018 Peggy G Hereford Award has shown the value of formulating a strategic marketing and communications plan.   

In Hollywood Burbank Airport’s namesake community, winning an award is always cause for big celebrations – red carpets, spotlights, and champagne. But for the airport, the celebration was decidedly more low-key when its marketing programme received ACI-NA’s 2018 Peggy G Hereford Award.

The award is given to the airport that receives the most first-place wins and honourable mentions across all categories in the annual Excellence in Airport, Marketing, Communications and Customer Service Awards.

Hollywood Burbank Airport took first place honours for Print Communications, Digital Advertising, Brand Identity, and Overall Marketing Program (medium airport).  The awards were especially meaningful as they were decided by our peers in the airport industry.

The recognition also capped off hundreds of hours of intensive planning and collaboration with a local branding agency whose original task was to help the airport come up with its new name and subsequent rebrand.

Any organisation that’s gone through the exercise will tell you that activating a rebrand is exciting, but challenging. That was certainly the case for Hollywood Burbank Airport, which had been widely known as Bob Hope Airport for 13 years.

When the airport introduced its new name and logo in 2017, a priority was to devise a cohesive overall marketing programme to make people aware of the change, then develop brand loyalty and recognition of the new identity.

The airport commissioned South Pasadena’s Anyone™ Collective to help navigate the process. It designed a comprehensive marketing campaign to communicate a fresh brand message to both locals and those who have never heard of Hollywood Burbank Airport.

For locals, the messaging was direct and simple: “New Look, New Name, Same Great Service.” For those unfamiliar with the airport’s brand, the message focused on superior service, convenience, and proximity to the best Los Angeles has to offer.

The marketing programme included digital and print advertising, social media content strategy, updating physical branded collateral, and internal brand training workshops. As the airport’s new brand gained traction, marketing efforts continued to grow, with messaging remaining focused on service and convenience for all travellers.

Through earned, owned, and paid media, airport staff and Anyone™ laid the groundwork for Hollywood Burbank Airport to become widely visible on a national level across all platforms. The marketing programme had multiple goals, including:

• Communicate to travellers the service and convenience of the airport compared to other Southern California airports

• Introduce a new brand identity system that shows an updated look and feel to the airport, while maintaining the same great service customers are familiar with

• Increase number of revenue passengers for the airport annually

So far, the returns look promising. Since the official launch of the airport’s new name and logo in December 2017, Hollywood Burbank Airport has seen significant passenger growth. Comparing calendar years 2017 to 2018, it saw an 11% increase in total revenue passengers.

In 2018, in OAG’s North America’s Fastest Growing Airports report, out of 43 medium size airports, Hollywood Burbank Airport ranked fourth. Passenger numbers for first quarter of this calendar year continued the climb.

It’s too early to tell how much of that growth can be attributed to our marketing efforts. But, between increased passenger traffic, the attention we’re getting from airline partners with the addition of several new non-stop services, and of course, the ACI-NA honours, we are grateful to be part of such an exciting time at Hollywood Burbank Airport.

Our adventures in marketing and branding have all the makings of a ‘feel-good movie’, and we can’t wait for the sequel.

About the author

Nerissa Sugars is Hollywood Burbank Airport’s marketing communications and air service manager.


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