Like a mosey round the entomology halls at the Natural History Museum, around every corner at DSEI this year you’d encounter a new species of drone.

There were LOTS of them. Big ones, small ones, massive ones, teeny tiny little itty bitty ones. ISR, EO, SAR, weapons capable. Some looked little more than a length of carbon fibre waste pipe with a motor on each end, and others like the Christmas gifts that buzz you outside The Entertainer. Some high-alt lone vultures, some mosquito-like swarmers.

But without taking the time for closer interrogation, it was very difficult to get a sense of the value proposition each presented.

Most were displayed in stark fashion – sat on the floor, poised on a plinth or slung from the ceiling like a teenager’s Airfix collection. This would be fine if their designs were particularly remarkable. But the genus ‘Drone’ has seen rapid evolution to what is now a more stabilised family of recognisable species: some have four arms and eight props; others look like planes and others like helicopters.

While their planforms hinted towards their mission, they largely failed to engage with why they were more relevant than the one round the corner.

Individual capabilities of many of them were fascinating – some boasted impressive load carrying, range, endurance, or high wind capability. Others were simply more affordable. But we only got that information from talking to those working at the stands.

If you’d become a bit drone-blind, it was difficult to get excited based on visual characteristics alone.

Demonstrating a distinct and relevant value proposition is key to effective engagement. The outward design of the product itself is not enough to do that job for you, especially when the air is thick with competition. It often comes back to the basics: don’t tell me a story, show me why I should care. Easier said than done though.

In a market as hot as the Excel last Wednesday, you need a cool engagement strategy. We can help you stand out with a distinct proposition, elegantly articulated and compellingly illustrated. Do get in touch if you’d like to discuss.

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