Bell

Bell

Creating a pioneering brand for an aviation pioneer

For more than 80 years, Bell Helicopter has been reimagining the experience of flight to solve real-world challenges. They’re also true aviation pioneers. They were the first to break the sound barrier and to certify a commercial helicopter. They were aboard NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market. They’ve partnered with the US military for decades to help them achieve their missions. And today, they’re defining the future of on demand aviation mobility. In January 2018, they were the first aviation company to debut at CES (Consumer Electronics Show), demonstrating their urban air taxi concept aircraft—an innovation closer to reality than science fiction.

Bell’s long history of breakthrough innovations reflects a commitment to deliver more to their customers. More value. More mobility. More access to experiences that will make flight an affordable, accessible part of their everyday lives.

Challenge

The reality is Bell is a helicopter company and much more. Nearly half of their business and innovation pipeline lies in tiltrotors and new technologies that go beyond the standard helicopter.

Bell still wanted recognition for their strength in rotorcraft, but also wanted to expand their brand to include these new innovations. Over the past few years, Bell’s business and vision for the company have been evolving. With this shift, they realized that their brand needed to evolve as well to reflect changing market conditions, and customer needs. They didn’t want to be perceived as a helicopter company anymore. Going forward, Bell wanted to be known as a technology company that’s redefining the experience of flight.

Bell needed to change their narrative externally, and also needed to shift perceptions internally. The organization was dogged by silos—military versus commercial, legacy employees versus newbies. And it was a ripe opportunity to bring all of Bell together.

Solution

We started by simplifying the company name to just “Bell” and shifted its focus away from individual products to the value of the masterbrand offering. But to clarify the change, and avoid confusion with legacy brands like Ma Bell, we added a brand signature to crystallize their vision for the future: “Above and beyond flight.”

Heavily siloed between commercial, military and specialty aircraft segments—along with deep-seeded allegiances to individual departments—Bell needed more than just a name change to unify the organization….it demanded a new set of values to rally everyone around. Our work helped them embrace the past and future equally, while delivering a differentiating proposition that uniquely aligns with what their customers want. By bridging Bell’s past and future innovations and acknowledging the value of its entire workforce—from the boardroom to the shop floor—we created a new set of values more akin to a progressive Silicon Valley startup than a company founded in 1935.

But it's this rich heritage that truly sets Bell apart. Rooted in a new personality—pioneering, nimble, tenacious and reliable—the brand’s expression reinforces the “One Bell” mantra while supporting future growth initiatives and creating an aspirational target for all employees to strive towards, every day. Most important, it clearly articulates—to employees, customers and partners—why Bell exists, how they’re different from the competition, what value they provide and where they intend to go moving forward.