San Francisco
International
Airport

Brand Strategy

Explore Fuseideas

The Challenge

As a major international gateway with nonstop flights to more than 100 destinations worldwide, SFO is the 7th busiest airport in the U.S. and is a massive and complex institution. The challenge in front of Fuseideas was to differentiate the airport in a way that was meaningful to all its audiences, including customers, employees and the people who live in the surrounding Bay Area communities. Our brand strategy would need to apply effectively across all SFO marketing communications.

The Insight

From our interviews with SFO leadership and staff, including our review of SFO’s planning documents, Fuseideas quickly learned that this airport places a high level of focus on people and the experiences they have at SFO. We observed the drive and dedication of the airport to attract and retain more airlines with more nonstops to more destinations across the globe. It was this mission to connect the people of the Bay Area to people around the world that stood out. The fact is, SFO exists to bring people together.

The Solution

We began by developing a brand manifesto to capture the spirit of SFO. Then over time we worked to assure that SFO would always be more than just concrete and glass. It would be about people. People connecting with other people, in beautiful places all over the world. For Bay Area residents, it meant their gateway to the entire world was right at SFO. For employees of the airport, it meant their role was to help people have an exceptional experience in every aspect of their travel to and from SFO. It meant taking something as mundane as construction projects and communicating to travelers what inspiring new things were being created for them. It meant having a bit of holiday fun with the SFO Wag Brigade and allowing SFO’s brand personality to shine through. And most recently, it has meant sharing appreciation and reassurance through communications about the COVID-19 pandemic. Through it all, SFO is: Your Airport. Your World.

For the period 2015 through 2019, SFO traffic increased from 50.1 million passengers in 2015 to 57.5 million in 2019 at an average of 4% annually. Flight operations increased by just over 6% in the same period. The 2018 brand campaign was recognized with a DotComm Gold Award in Marketing and Communications. A 2019 quantitative survey of Bay Area air travelers found that SFO was rated 3.86 on a five-point scale for excellence across the top-most important factors of performance for airport selection.

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