Amelia Earhart was a hustler. Well, maybe hustler isn’t the best word to describe it. Amelia Earhart was a grinder. Yeah, that sounds better. Let me explain.
Back in the golden age of aviation, there weren’t a lot of ways for pilots to get their name out there. And if you happened to be a woman pilot, there were even fewer ways to make a name for yourself. So then why was Amelia Earhart so well known for her time? Why was she a worldwide name?
The answer is simple. Tenacity.
Amelia Earhart was tenacious when it came to her brand. That’s right; Amelia Earhart was not only a person, she was also a brand. She was a brand before brands were a thing. Amelia’s intelligence and business savvy was a breath of fresh air during a time that sorely needed it. Once she became famous for breaking aviation records, she became a household name.
And when she became a household name, she put that name to good use. Attaching her name to airlines, luggage, a clothing line, tomato juice was only the beginning. Working with groundbreaking companies like Beach Nut to test their revolutionary auto gyro aircraft, and launching the Essex Terraplane were just some of the places that you could catch a glimpse of Amelia Earhart doing what she did best; using her natural gift of promoting revolutionary products and ideas to the masses.
And the masses loved every second of it.
Of course, she wasn’t alone in promoting her name and image. She had help. Some would say she had the very best help that one could have at that time. George Palmer Putnam was a powerhouse in the publishing world. Having five years earlier, published the revolutionary book “The Spirit of St. Louis” by legendary pilot Charles Lindbergh, Mr. Putnam was looking for the next big thing.
He was a “think outside the box” publisher and a visionary when it came to promotion. It seemed that he met his match when he met Amelia. In more ways than one.
Perhaps Putnam saw in Amelia what we all see today. Someone that knew how to walk that fine line between rugged midwestern girl and daring adventurer with a good heart and a strong will. Perhaps Putnam knew a star when he saw one.
It turned out to be a phenomenal marriage of business. Until it became a marriage of … well… marriage. Amelia and George were an incredible power couple; working tirelessly to synonymously pair Amelia’s name with aviation.
Amelia’s work ethic was put on display: flying, breaking records, speaking on an increasingly popular lecture circuit, promoting products and services, mingling with the Hollywood and political elite and even planting the seeds in president Franklin Roosevelt’s ear for an idea that would become modern day Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program, better known today as Social Security. We uncovered that little detail in the ongoing research for the Chasing Earhart project.
Part of the reason why we all think of Amelia Earhart today is her never ending drive to become more than just an aviatrix. She wanted to be more.
I like to think that in today’s modern age of social media and self-promotion, Amelia and George would thrive. After all, some would say, they helped pioneer the industry way back before it was an industry.
Amelia Earhart. Social media pioneer. Add that to the list.
Original editorial by Chris Williamson @ The Atchison Globe