Transforming a contract aviation brand through strategic design

Between March 2017 – April 2021 I became part of an ambitious plan to make a pivotal shift towards a digitally-driven user experience and marketing strategy for the fastest growing aviation start-up in Africa. KEA wanted to boost its brand awareness and engage with target consumers in a more meaningful way.

Our high level goals were:

  • To design consistent brand identity that would bring clarity to the core business
  • To use design as a tool for growth and engagement through user-focussed inbound marketing
  • To craft a digitally driven customer experience and marketing strategy
  • To implement a Customer Relationship Management system that would provide visibility into the sales pipelines and support the UX and marketing efforts

Understanding The Target Consumer

The contract aviation industry is very broad but niche at the same time. The target market at a glance seems like one big group, but within it has lots of variations and differences. Understanding what each group needs was critical in determining which communication/marketing strategies would be relevant. For example, the tourism segment did very well on digital marketing, promos and ads. The humanitarian, energy and government sectors however focused more on networking and personal relations with digital marketing serving as a support to keep us in their faces. The lifecycle in the humanitarian and B2B world typically was longer and required consist patience, and not chasing an immediate ROI. In some cases the design solutions for those B2B segments did not involve visual design at all, but focussed primarily on experience design and product development. Understanding these different shifting dynamics took time and was invaluable to placing attention in the right places at the right time. This understanding gave us a good foundation for things like designing the look and feel of the brand, but even more for relevant long term content strategies for each segment.

Brand Personas
Brand Persona

Corporate Identity Design

The corporate identity played a crucial role in KEA’s brand image and was continuously shaped by insights gained through frequent brainstorming and brand development workshops. These inform the visual design decisions we made. I was working as the design lead on a cross disciplinary team of aviation specialists who became part of the design process and decisions. Balancing their expectations, industry insights and actual user insights was exciting and there was always an opportunity to learn, pivot and grow. During our early steps we made minor refinements to the existing logo and focussed on developing visual language, graphic elements and layouts. I designed various layouts and templates for presentations, proposals, in-house communications, print and digital marketing content and the brand guidelines.

The corporate identity aims to convey authenticity, ambition, professionalism and dependability.

Square Brochure Design
Booklet Design Layout
Booklet Design Layout
PowerPoint Presentation Design

Crafting the Experience and Communication Strategy

How would we communicate with the target consumer effectively to give a relevant experience? We determined that this would be a longterm strategy that focussed on building trust and positioning KEA as a though leader in the contract aviation industry. We evaluated which core platforms worked best for each segment and our content strategy focused on curating quality editorial content from the field. Sharing our experiences and offering guidance. Answering questions and building a community.

Once we had a well formed outline of the key categories of content and the target segments they would address, we got more granular in designing the topics, scheduling and planning for distribution.


Introducing CRM to optimize the UX strategy

A digitally driven marketing and experience strategy and a pivotal shift like the one we were making would not be possible without proper Customer Relationship Management.

Introducing CRM was an invaluable part of what we did to house business intelligence and keep the sales and marketing cycle visible to the whole team and management. It streamlined communications and was a practical tool for improving our sales and marketing. Picking up a tool was probably the easy part – managing the organizational change after years of using Microsoft Excel and traditions set with deep roots was more challenging. Over the course of the first year, I conducted multiple needs analysis for the CRM to create ownership over the new tool within the teams, introduced a leading CRM tool which I administrated and carried out trainings for the marketing and sales team. Change management took a while but we eventually began to see one of our most valuable marketing assets take shape and begin to guide our steps forward.

CRM Project
CRM for better UX
CRM for better UX

Social Media

The social media strategy was simple and effective. We stayed away from gimmicky and sales content and instead focussed on a consistent stream of quality editorial content from our projects in the field. This called for quality photography on each project, quality video coverage and sharing realtime activity where relevant. Building channels for different departments within the organization to participate in the content generation was important to maintain quality content. Facilitating this content coming in and then editing and distributing it in relevant channels.

Frequency of posting varied based on the target segment and platform. We used a lot of blog and news content to drive traffic from the social pages to the website.

For the B2B side of business we focussed on LinkedIn which was surprisingly our fastest growing and most meaningful community. We were able to maintain the integrity of our following and engagement by sharing industry knowledge that would attract the right personas, staying away from vanity metrics and auditing our community regularly against our brand personas.

Kea Linkedin

Website Analytics to improve User experience.

Analytics has been a key part of maintaining a relevant and optimal online experience for our users. By understanding better their behavior when using the website, I could optimize and plan accordingly. To some extent it’s been possible to measure the design performance, and influence design and content decisions.

Analytics Kea

New Product Development

I worked with the team to ideate and design new service lines that would differentiate the business segments, build new revenue streams and tap into additional niche market segments. For example, I designed the EmpireJet© concept; a luxury travel jet card, and re-branded FlyUganda; the tourism aviation arm of the business. Previously all the business had operated under the KEA brand but for more targeted marketing we separated them.

Analytics Kea

The Results

  • Since we started the UX and marketing efforts in 2017, KEA has seen growing awareness and engagement from consumers through social media, website traffic, increased SEO ranking, email and phone enquiries, newsletter and campaign response.
  • Visibility of client engagement through the CRM and lead nurturing has provided necessary insights to make better business decisions
  • A measurable improvement in brand clarity and recognition has been recorded through client feedback. We continue to position KEA as a global specialist aviation solutions provider to major industries. Onward and upward!

What the Client Says

Isabella was originally contracted to provide web design and brand modernisation services, but quickly became part of our marketing efforts on a much broader level. She integrated seamlessly into our commercial department and quickly started to identify and strengthen our areas of weakness to boost our overall market image and presence. Some example of the projects completed during our time together with her are as follows: Website design and implementation,Website management, Corporate and marketing materials, Social media, Subsidiary naming and branding, Customer Relationship management program implementation (Hubspot). Isabella always guided these processes in an independent but inclusive manner and could not fail to bring an atmosphere of creativity in and structured manner to our commercial department. KEA highly recommends Isabella without hesitation or condition.


Philip Gill, Co-Founder and Ceo

Kampala Executive Aviation (KEA)

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