Calling all luxury brands: Uber of the sky wants to partner

Private jet company Wheels Up announces a new marketing strategy and chief partnership officer.

You’re looking at how the other half live.

The 5,000-plus members of private jet firm Wheels Up clock in an average annual spend of $80,000 -- a mere drop in the bucket for the 45 to 65-year-olds who boast a minimum liquid net worth of $10M.

At five years, the company is still very much in its infancy. But the appointment of Jim Pyne as chief partnership officer and the unveiling of new marketing model is a sure sign of its growth.

Now Wheels Up is on a mission to woo the world’s leading luxury brands in a bid to launch exclusive partnership offerings for its members.

"A lot of brands trying to reach this high-net-worth audience will have to spend millions of dollars to try to connect on a deeper emotional level," Pyne told Campaign US.  "It becomes a strategic and efficient buy for luxury brands to partner directly with Wheels Up to connect with a qualified audience in an authentic manner.

"Rather than spending marketing dollars on a campaign that will reach millions just to target what might be one percent of that, they can leverage our platform for exposure to our 5,000-plus existing qualified members. We can create something special for these brands that is truly customizable."

Pyne, a founding partner at Wheels Up, has a long history in the partnership space. Before Wheels Up, he served as the chief partnership officer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers were ranked number one in the NFL for new business under Pyne’s leadership. Prior to that, he was with IMG as vice president of national sales. He’s credited with selling the largest sponsorship in college sports history to UPS while at IMG.

At one time in his life, Pyne was an NFL starting offensive lineman for nine seasons, the team captain for the Cleveland Browns and its Walter Payton Man of The Year recipient in 1999.

He continued: "I am excited for this opportunity to partner with other great brands and present them with opportunities on our platforms that will benefit members while helping these brands achieve their business goals.

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Speaking of his marketing strategy, Pyne said: "You need to connect with your core base on an emotional level and market the product in a way that showcases how it can truly transform their lives. For our discerning membership, this boils down to time-savings, convenience, flexibility and of course unrivaled service. We offer people something they simply can’t get anywhere else.

"We will also be carefully vetting partners as it has to be beneficial to our members. Brand partners need to align with the ethos of Wheels Up and offer added value our membership experience."

Co-Founder and CEO Kenny Dichter praised the appointment.

He said: "We are thrilled to officially announce that Jim, who’s been a mainstay and leading contributor to our sales organization over these past five years, will take on this additional responsibility for us.

"Jim’s extensive experience and expertise in the sponsorship and partnership world make him an ideal choice to lead our efforts in this growing area to support the Wheels Up brand and our business objectives."

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