As head of global corporate communications at Gulfstream Aerospace, David Henderson and his team were given a short window of opportunity to (1) position the then-private company for an initial public offering (IPO), and (2) introduce the new ultra-long-range Gulfstream to a broad and diverse audience of business decision-makers and wealthy individuals worldwide.
David’s strategic approach was to favorably and quickly capture the attention of the global business news media. He found that while most business reporters hadn’t been interested for years in a stereotypical story pitch about the merits of business aircraft, they were attracted to a skillfully crafted story pitch about the hot trend among corporations of buying ultra-expensive, ultra-long-range business aircraft.
Jetting to nearly every world capital, David invited select groups of top-level mainstream journalists from around the world to experience a flight aboard the $40 million Gulfstream V at 50,000 feet, far above all other aircraft traffic, and at a speed faster than most commercial airliners, it always guaranteed a great story, sometimes on the front page.
They always mentioned one of our key selling points: The Gulfstream V is the world’s longest range, high-performance business jet. The same story angle about the Gulfstream V appeared in every major publication and television news outlet around the world, and during that time, orders for the new aircraft increased 443 percent. The IPO was over-subscribed and wildly successful. And, the strategic news approach established Gulfstream as the hallmark of corporate aviation worldwide.