Aviation Education - The Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing

I was asked the other day by a client "Jason, what makes your aircraft leasing company unique compared to other financial institutions and can you help us understand your value-add." What a great question! Unfortunately, most in our beloved aviation education industry do not take the time to learn about value....its purely about price. The irony is that we are all in the same boat.  Educators are being forced to do more with less while attempting to convince kids to enter into aviation regardless of the price point.

SO WHAT IS VALUE?  

Value comes from what your product/service does, not what it is. Value is an outcome, as such, understanding your customers (student/parent) perspective helps form a solution to maximize the value in their eyes.

Price is different - Price is the number at the bottom of the invoice. Price is what your customer spends; value is what is received.

To put it in perspective, a sure sign of a dying industry is one that mistakes the product they are selling with the value they are creating. For example, the horse carriage makers mistakenly thought they were in the horse carriage business (product) rather than the transportation business (value). Enter Henry Ford!

When we are focused exclusively on price and product, we delete everything else. People who focus on value look beyond short-term, viewing the results of the acquisition/purchase far beyond bottom-line price.

So what is the relative worth of Brown Aviation Lease to our customer base? The answer: It depends. It depends on what our clients value and find worth. For some clients, they receive extreme value in having Brown take on all the transition/residual risk of the aircraft fleet upon lease termination. Others enjoy our flexibility in which they can add or subtract aircraft, components,etc. Most rely on our market knowledge and data that keeps their programs relavent among the larger educational ecosystem. Many see value in our broad network of schools which enables us to assume higher residual values since Brown does not look to sell aircraft. And everyone of our clients enjoys the service level that spans every department from maintenance, operations to the executive suite. In the end, Brown is not in the money business but in the solutions business.

For the educators selling to students (yes, I used the dirty selling word), value goes far beyond becoming a high seniority numbered captain. It is also about life skills learned through the flight training process that every company, big or start-up, for or non-profit, yearn for in employees. In fact, Brown Aviation Lease commissioned a survey in which we interviewed over 150 pilots covering a broad range of topics. Within the survey, we asked pilots to list the top 5 life skills learned in flight training/piloting.  

The top 5 were:

  1. Confidence in uncertain situations

  2. Multi-tasking

  3. Prioritization

  4. Problem solving

  5. Adaptable to different situations

Now here is the difference, in flight training, you CANNOT fake these skills. If you try, you die (a little dramatic but you get the point).

From an economic persepctive, every employer/entreprenuer is looking for employees/CEO's/management types that embody the above 5 skills.  

So the next time you are talking to a young person about aviation or working with a vendor to solve a problem, take the time to understand the overall value offered, not just the price to play.