Republic Airways, and the aviation industry at large, is facing a severe pilot shortage: a shortfall of a projected 637,000 by 2036. To meet this demand for commercial pilots, Republic created an innovative, technologically driven training academy designed to provide a direct pipeline of well-trained commercial pilots to its ranks. After identifying this need, they became the only regional airline to create and operate their own training academy based on a classroom-to-cockpit model. Republic approached CVR to help them name, brand and launch the flight training academy.
Discovery sessions with Republic staff, competitive reviews and detailed industry research enabled CVR to develop a strong brand recommendation that uniquely positioned the flight academy’s vision in the marketplace. Embracing hands-on learning and this new model for flight training, CVR named the program LIFT Academy, for Leadership In Flight Training. CVR geared the new brand toward LIFT’s primary audiences: high school graduates, military veterans and career changers. The positioning focused on the exploration and adventure aspects of being a pilot, showcasing a career that allows for world travel and a healthy work/life balance at an affordable price. CVR developed strong, consistent creative with the theme “Explorers Wanted” and deployed media tactics from outdoor boards and social media to digital banners and paid search.
LIFT Academy was launched less than two months after initial conversations began. In the first year after launch, the LIFT Academy website received over 2,800 applications. Combined with one-to-one recruiting efforts, LIFT has seen full cohorts since inception. LIFT and CVR continue to fine tune messaging and media tactics to reduce cost-to-lead ratios.