InterConnect Wiring has been in business now for over 22 years. During that time, I remember when we got our first fax machine. That was a big day for us. I also remember when we started using email. We were so happy! When we launched our first website, we were all so proud. A few years ago, we started using social media without acclamation; a “non-significant” event in the life InterConnect Wiring. Why? The answer to that question is the same answer to the question “Why Aerospace Companies Do Not Use Social Media?”
When you look at a business card for a person who works at one of our main customers such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Sikorsky, Bell Helicopter, BAE, L3, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, or Honeywell, you never see logos for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, or other social media websites. Additionally, most of these companies do not invest much time or effort to use social media to improve their brand or for marketing and sales. Why is that? Most large corporations do the opposite. Social media is extremely important to their company’s longevity, market position, and financial stability. The answer is three fold: (1) average age of employees at aerospace companies (dinosaur mentalities), (2) target audience or marketing of aerospace companies, and (3) ITAR and security clearance issues.
Average Age of Employees at Aerospace Companies (Dinosaur Mentality)
Many aerospace companies have a common problem; the average age of their employees is more than 40 years old. Most employees have worked at the same place (or in the same industry) for over 20 years. When a person is hired into an aerospace company they rarely get out of the industry unless they are forced out thus the average employee’s age tends to be much more than other industries. Since social media has only really taken off approximately ten years ago, many aerospace employees have not embraced social media like younger generations. They did not grow up with social media and thus are hesitant to use it. Additionally, most executives at aerospace companies are more than fifty years old and are so busy in their jobs that they neither have time nor the desire to use social media. Because of this type of attitude, they do not see a reason why their company should spend much time or effort on social media. This attitude is a dinosaur mentality.
Target Audience or Marketing of Aerospace Companies
The second reason why aerospace companies do not use social media is based on their marketing or target audience. Aerospace companies want to sell their aircraft or aircraft systems and components to airlines, governments, armed forces throughout the world, wealthy individuals or companies, or companies who need aircraft for task accomplishment. Generally speaking, there are very few of these large aerospace OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers). Most individuals who want to purchase products from these companies are well known. A person who wants to purchase a commercial airliner or fighter jet or combat helicopter does not normally go to social media to find out what their options are. They already know their options and that list is very small. Because aerospace companies know this fact, they do not go out of their way social media wise to attract potential customers.
ITAR and Security Clearance Issues
The final reason why aerospace companies do not use social media is due to ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) and security clearance issues. The United States government puts restrictions on aerospace companies who deal with military hardware, systems, and technology. Access to most the data and technology is restricted. Many OEMs limit the websites that their employees can access to reduce the risk that their information may somehow be infiltrated by other individuals (hackers) or groups throughout the world. In most cases, OEMs choose to restrict social media access in the confines of their facilities. This philosophy is very understandable and a wise option.
Why Does InterConnect Use Social Media?
So now after reading this blog ask yourself a question, “Why does InterConnect Wiring choose to use social media?” Well, the answer to this question is because unlike our large OEM customers, InterConnect is not widely known in the aerospace industry. InterConnect is a small business located in Fort Worth, Texas that specializes in rewiring military aircraft. InterConnect markets itself not only through its website, literature, tradeshows, and face to face meetings, but also through the extensive use of social media. Our attitude is “somewhere out there is: (a) a buyer who has a problem with one of their wiring harness suppliers, (b) a program manager who needs an aircraft power distribution panel manufactured, or (c) an engineer who needs advice on how to design an aircraft modification kit”. If one of these individuals searches the internet or uses social media, we want InterConnect’s name to be one of their choices.
InterConnect Wiring is the global leader in rewiring aircraft as well as manufacturing key electrical products including wiring harnesses, cockpit panels, power distribution panels, and relay assemblies. Customers include the US Army, Air Force and Coast Guard, as well as Lockheed, L-3, Sikorsky, BAE, and Bell. Platforms we support include the F-16, C-130, F-15, F-2, F-35, UH-60, H-92, MH-60, and V-22.
John Ashour is the President and Founder of InterConnect Wiring.