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How being a Military Pilot in Afghanistan optimized us to create effective Commercial Real Estate Marketing Videos…

Picture the scene, it’s 2006 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.  A small tent stands alone on the outskirts of an austere desert Airfield.  The constant flow of Land rovers and logistic trucks has built a layer of dust as fine as talcum powder.  Anyone who walks through it sends a plume into the air that drifts across the makeshift tent village that is slowly growing as the military buildup continues.  Inside the small tent stands 20 aircrew from a variety of British and American Air Force and Army Squadrons.  Through the hum of generators, vehicles and aircraft noise, the mission commander is trying to brief those gathered using nothing but a whiteboard, 3 colored pens and a notepad. He’s going over the Mission for a third time; a resupply and casualty evacuation mission for a 3 ship of Chinook Helicopters supported by Apache Attack Helicopters.  A remote Patrol Base in the Sangin Valley is being held by a Company of British Paratroopers, surrounded on all sides by the Taliban, who take shelter in the houses of the surrounding village, taking shots at any UK soldier who is exposed for too long.  These troops are low on water, ammunition and have several wounded men in need of urgent medical attention.  The ground picture is complex, with a multitude of enemy firing points surrounding the base.  There appears to be a safe avenue of approach from the west over the river, but the sector is too narrow and exposed to bring in 3 Chinooks at once.  The plan will require each aircraft to approach from a slightly separate direction with a time separation precise enough to allow them to maneuver to avoid enemy fire, while still arriving at the landing site in one go so as to avoid giving the Taliban enough time to get into a position to bring them down with a Rocket Propelled Grenade….

But what has this got to do with Drone Films for Commercial Real Estate projects in Phoenix, Arizona you may ask?  It’s simple really, but first let me elaborate on what defines an effective military aviator.

An effective military pilot is not just defined by his skill at the controls of an aircraft.  I mean we’ve all seen the movies where the hero deftly maneuvers his aircraft to overcome his aerial opponent, but the reality is rather less glamorous.  A truly effective military pilot can look at a target, a piece of ground, a building, a vehicle.  He can then work back from it, recognize the complexities of the environment that surrounds it, then identify the most important factors needed to overcome the problem.  So far so good?  Yes, but what then makes the task really hard is how he uses his teammates to help him overcome the problems, and achieve the missions aim.  And that requires one key skill.  Effective communication and presentation skills. And what might surprise you is that this skill is most often practiced on the ground, in planning and briefing the mission.

So back to the question.  How is this relevant to CRE?  Well an environment such as Afghanistan breeds the effective presentation and communication skills needed to convey a marketing message.  Yup, that’s right. Using a whiteboard and 3 pens to brief a complicated ground picture to aircrew, is directly transferable to using video and graphics to convey a marketing opportunity.  Instead of enemy firepoints, it’s anchor features, instead of artillery firelines it’s nearby roads and their VPD counts!  Of course, a background in military aviation is not a prerequisite for appreciating the value aerial video brings to marketing, but those who have been in the situation where they are desperate to convey a message to their fellow airman and soldiers understand the privileged amount of information that an aerial video brings. For example, later in our campaign in Afghanistan my fellow Helicopter Pilots and I would brief missions directly from a video feed of the battlefield provided by a Drone.  Out went the whiteboard and pens, and we all gained a far better understanding of the environment and how we could survive it.  It left us with a passion for the technology and what it can do, so when we make CRE Drone Videos we never pass an opportunity to convey key information that may help your sale.  We will always work with you, just as we did with ground commanders in Afghanistan, until your mission is achieved. We would also go as far to say that when you chose us to support your marketing mission, you are investing in people who will go the extra mile to build the product you need. For example, if it requires a service that hasn’t yet been imagined, we will conceive the solution, refine it and deliver it to your satisfaction.  That’s what choosing a company operated by Veterans brings.  When others where playing with Drones and crashing them into their Garage doors, we were flying them on operations in foreign lands to support the mission.




Adam Watts

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