Cameron Balloons: History

Cameron Balloons: History Essay Sample

Don Cameron studied aeronautical engineering in Glasgow and later at Cornell in the USA. Don received his gold, silver and bronze medals of the British Royal Aero Club for his ballooning achievements.

In 1966 Don Cameron was leader of the small team that built the very first modern hot-air balloon in Europe. In 1971 five years later, he founded Cameron Balloon Ltd. Don Cameron’s company is now the world’s largest manufacturer of hot-air balloons. In Bristol in the UK it has become the Ballooning capital of the world.

Don Cameron built the first greatest balloon in 1975 and the company is especially famous for these creative designs, which are in total more than 300. The shapes include Disney’s fantasia castle, a dragon, a space shuttle, several cows and other cans, houses and bottles (coca cola).

In 1990 Don Cameron made the first flight between the UK and what was then the USSR. In 1978 Don Cameron flew his first balloon to cross the Atlantic but it ended because of bad weather, the weather forced his helium-heated balloon down after a 2,000-mile flight from Canada.

In 1992 Don’s dream came true when he flew a balloon of his own design from Bangor, Maine, USA, to Portugal and made it second place in the first ever transatlantic balloon race.

In 1996 Don Cameron balloons US, the company, made on average more then one balloon a day and every day of the year making it by far the world’s largest manufacturer, the company’s turnover was almost �7,000,000. In 1997 Cameron Balloons built four out of five balloons that took part in a race to fly around the world with out stopping in November.

Cameron Balloons: Accounts Department

At Cameron balloons the accounts department is quite a small one. The manger is Jenny Smythe, and also in the department are Stuart Hopkins, Ann Rozario and Melanie Booth.

Their main roles are:

Jenny: She looks after the wages and other wages and also personnel functions.

Stuart: He looks after the Purchase ledger and the reception area.

Ann: She is the head of accounts, sales and cash.

Melanie: She looks after the petty cash, accounts administration and post and reception.

A Company of accountants does all of the other accounts work. Don Cameron wrote the computer software that deals with all the accounts work and also other software in the firm. All the software was written for the firms needs.

The Managing Director and production manager looks after the employment of accounts staff. They do the advertising, interviewing and all other selection procedures.

The accounts department also does all of the invoicing. Most of Cameron balloons are large and expensive so not many invoices are issued for them. Small parts sales make up 20% of turnover. With orders a 30% deposit is required and full payment is required before delivery. If customers do not pay within 1 month of the invoice, interest is charged.

Cameron Balloons: Production Department

Cameron balloons production department has a number of stages. Production starts with the design team passing on the detailed design of all panels. This will often be in the form of templates that have been cut on the plotter.

The cutters then cut the cloth according to the templates. This is done on the cutting tables and also the cutters pull the cloth from the reels, so it is drawn in front of the large lights. This is to try to spot any holes in the cloth.

The cut panels are then passed on to team of sewers. The team of sewers are made up of around 5 machinists with a team leader. The sewer team usually follow through the production of the whole envelope. They sew all the panels together and sew in the tapes that carry the loads of the balloon down to the stainless steel frame around the basket.

The artwork will now be put onto the balloon either before or after this stage. Sometimes the artwork might be dyed into fabric before sewing the balloon together. The artwork department at Cameron’s does all this.

The rest of the balloon has to be produced as well. There is the basket, the burners and all the rigging to be done. The baskets are made by an outside contractor but finished by Cameron’s. This means that they put all the padding and fittings to complete the basket.

Cameron Balloons: Marketing Department

Cameron Balloon’s marketing section handles all sales of Cameron Balloons. The marketing department has two separate departments:

* one for Cameron Balloons; and

* one for Thunder and Colt.

These two brands of balloon are sold separately although Cameron’s took over Thunder and Colt in 1996. The following is a list all the resources available in this section:

* Explanation: This section explains how the balloons are sold and the nature of customers to whom they are selling.

* Theories: This section looks at the marketing, business studies theories which includes the marketing mix; products life cycle; and the market segmentation.

* Staff: This section looks at the role of a key member of the marketing team.


Marketing hot-air balloon is completely different from marketing a mass-market consumer product. For example:

* balloons are very expensive; and

* the balloons market is very particular.

When customers make such a large purchase they will carefully way-up their options. About 60-70% business of Cameron balloons is return business. These are customers who have bought from Cameron balloons before and are now upgrading. These customers get close personal attention from Cameron balloons. There are different segments to the market:

* private individuals who’s hobby is ballooning;

* semi-professional pilots that have been sponsored to fly the balloons;

* professional operators, this carry passengers who pay for the services; and

* Commercial customers who require different shaped balloons.

Purchasing a balloon is dependent on the individuals income level. As it is an expensive item to buy, the purchase is must likely to be made when income levels are high and growing. This is usually in a period of high economic growth. Therefore demand for balloons is income elastic. This means that when there is economic growth there will be an increase in demand for balloons.

This means that advertising and marketing techniques become ineffective. As there are only a few company’s that produce balloons, customers will be aware of them all. Word of mouth is therefore seen as most powerful tool in marketing. Therefore to market balloons you need a mixture of marketing techniques;

* different styles of product;

* flexibility;

* good technical knowledge;

* a network of agents; and

* knowledge on the market.

Cameron balloons have seen growth recently as they have used a subtle marketing mix. The export market is very important to Cameron balloons as this accounts for 75% of sales which are sold through dealers and agents.


The marketing mix techniques are required for selling their products. The marketing mix consists of the four Ps:

* Price – the price of the product – the price compared to competitors – is a vital part of marketing. There are two pricing techniques:

1. Market skimming – pricing high but selling few.

2. Market penetration – pricing lower to secure a higher volume of sales.

* Product – targeting the market and making the product appropriate to the market segment you are to sell into.

* Promotion – this may take the form of point of sale promotion, advertising, sponsorship or other promotions.

* Place – this part of the marketing is all about how the product is distributed. Current trends are towards shortening the chain of distributed.

In the past many businesses have been described as product oriented. They produced a product and have spent their energy in marketing their product. There was little flexibility for individual customers or segments of the market. Companies now tend to be market orientated. The companies change their products to satisfy customer needs.

Markets can be segmented in different ways. These include:

* Demographically – according to the age structure of the population

* Geographically – by country or region or area

* Behaviouristically – according to the nature of the purchase, the product is put to, the loyalty to the brand and so on

* Benefit – according to the use and satisfaction gained by the consumer

* Socio-economically – according to social class and income levels

The firm can then use this information to draw up a segmentation map. This is a tool for analysing the market and helping to identify market opportunities. Any one of the criteria above could be used to draw up a map. For example, Cameron’s may want to look at the behaviouristic split of their market. They could draw up a segmentation map:


Amateur Professional


On this map they could plot where their various groups of customers tend to be. The amateur balloonists who buy balloons just for the enjoyment of flying would appear in the top left-hand segment of the map. Professional operators who take fare-paying passengers would be opposite them in the top right-hand segment. For more details on the nature of the customers and their different demands, have a look at the marketing explanation.


Alan Noble has worked for Cameron balloons for many years in the marketing department as a full time marketing director. Julia Linfield the sales co-ordinator and several other sales staff also work in the marketing department. Alan’s main job is to focus on the marketing and publicity side of balloons. The keys skill required in marketing balloons as seen by Alan are as follows:

* detailed and up to date knowledge on the balloon market and its products;

* good personal skills;

* ballooning or aeronautical background;

* have a flexible approach; and

* have a good relationship with customers.

Alan and Nick, mainly Nick, do a lot of travelling and attend ballooning events all around the world. This gives them the opportunity to get new business and meet with customers and maintain a good relationship with them.

They also spend a lot of time on the phone talking to customers about the type of balloon they want. Because customers are spending a lot of money for their balloons, they will expect to receive personal attention.

Time is also spend in meetings where they discuss technical requirements and new product ranges. Also in meetings they discuss long term plans of the company. The marketing departments views are very important here because they are more close to customers and know what the customers want.

Alan is the one who has developed Cameron balloons Internet marketing strategy. The web site has full details of their product range, regular newsletter, and details of how to get involved get in hot-air ballooning.

The Launch Director for the recent around the world by balloon was Alan. The attempt broke the world record and balloon was a Cameron Balloons Roziere.

The Human Resources Function

The human resources department within a business is responsible for making sure that employees can work effectively and safely, but the company that this assignment is on, Cameron Balloons, hasn’t got a human resources department but there are people who have got status to do Human Resources. Cameron Balloons also fights for the right of there employees in the company the persons who are in charge of this are Alan Noble and Ann Linfield . Human Resources cover the following areas:

* Recruitment, Retention and Dismissal

* Health and Safety

* Training, Development and Promotion

* Maintaining staff records

* Employee Organisations and Unions


It is important for Cameron Balloons to recruit the right people. If the right people are recruited, they are likely to stay with the company. If the wrong people are recruited, they will either leave (and the company will have to go through the expensive recruitment process again) or they will stay, but do their job badly.

The recruitment system should have three main features they are: –

* Be effective in choosing the right candidates

* Cheap to operate

* Fair to all candidates

Retention and Dismissal

The rules for retention and dismissing employees have become quite complex. The heart of the matter lies in the difference between what the courts regard to be “Fair” and “Unfair” retention and dismissal. Even Cameron Balloons have fair retention or dismissed employees, if the employee can be shown guilty of:

* Wilful destruction of company property

* Sexual or racial harassment

* Continuous bad

* Timekeeping

* A negative attitude at work

* In ability to do the job

* Sleeping on the job

Healthy and Safety

Cameron Balloons also have a direct effect on the health and safety of the employees in their workplace. One of the main functions of the human resources department is to provide the best possible working conditions for employees, and to ensure they work in a healthy and safety environment. Many companies now make sure that the work environment is made as safe as possible.


It is important to the company to Train and activities employees in teaching them the skill, attitude and knowledge required for a job. It involves guiding employees to do something by providing them with a planned programme of exercises and activities. Training should involve employees before they actually start the job, during the first few weeks of employment (induction) and though out their careers.

Training benefits and develops skills and knowledge of employees to help them to do their jobs better, and prepares them for more demanding jobs in the future. It should be a rewarding process, if employees can do their job well, they will feel confident in their abilities and enjoy their work more, this can lead to a greater job satisfaction.

Training benefits those being trained and can therefore be one the most effective ways for a company to add value, benefits to individuals include:

* Greater skills

* More knowledge

* More confidence

* Better career prospects

* Better opportunities for promotion

Development and Promotion

Development and Promotion is slightly different from training, it is concerned with identifying the abilities of employees and providing them with training opportunities that will prepare them for promotion. In improving the performance of the employees or staff, the company uses an appraisal system for employees and staff this means that employees standards of work are assessed by the employee and his/her company manager.

Maintaining Staff records

The human resources department will keep a record of every employee, past and present. This is usually kept on a computer database. The record will include details of each employees name and address, date of birth, current job title and salary, starting and leaving date, qualifications and experience and payroll number. There is usually a place for the personnel section to record additional training courses and qualifications that are obtained.

Employees organisations

One of the main functions of the human resources department is to resolve conflicts between employees and staff in order create stability and ensure the smooth running of the company. These days employees take a more active role in a company. Employers are generally keen to inform, consult or involve employees decision-making through different channels of communication.


A trade union is an organisation that represents employees at work. The Employment Act gives employees the right to either join or not join a trade union. Whether or not an employer must recognise a trade union is being debated at the moment. Trade unions mainly exist in large companies where communication between employer and employees is more remote. The trade union’s main role is to negotiate with employer, on behalf of employees, to improve working conditions and wages.

Customer service

It is essential that a business looks after its customers if it wants to remain in business. Although all of the functional areas are concerned with customer service, most companies also have a special department, which looks after the customers after they have bought something from the company. The customer services department provides an after sales service and deals with customer inquiries. The reception department is the first point of contact with customers. When someone contacts the company, the receptionists provide a very important customer service function.

Customer service means that the company is concerned with keeping the customer happy and satisfied. It is the job of all of the functional areas (departments) to make sure the company’s customers are satisfied. For example, the Production Department must produce goods, which are not faulty, and the Marketing Department needs to give customers the correct information. If the Marketing Department put the wrong prices in a catalogue, for instance, customers would get upset. All of the functional areas in a business work together to provide good customer service, because without customers there would not be a business.

Most companies also have a department dedicated especially to customer service, which provides an after-sales service once a customer has bought a product from the company. The term customer service is used here to describe the way in which all functions of a business work together to ensure good customer service. Once the company has sold a product to the customer, the customer services department must see that the consumer is content with the product.

A dissatisfied customer may be a future sale lost and bad publicity. A customer service department should be aware that all customers have the following rights:

* To find out information about the product

* To choose a product

* To buy a product

* To get value for money

* To be satisfied and well looked after once the product has been purchased.

Reasons for good customer service in a Business are constantly trying to improve customer service for the following reasons:

* To attract more customers

* To improve a business reputation

* To be able to compete.

Quality customer service means the FIVE C’S:

* Courtesy

* Care

* Communication Co-operation

* Compliment.

Effects of bad customer service

Businesses realise that bad customer service means a dissatisfied customer and this could lead to:

* A future sale lost

* Bad publicity

* Bad business image and reputation.

* Inability to cope with the competition.

Customer service describes and covers different areas of dealing with customers during and after the purchase of the product. These include:

* The way a customer is treat by sales staff on the telephone

* The way queries and complaints are handled

* Refunds and replacement of goods

* Providing information about the products

* Assisting customers with special needs

After-sales service. This relates to the help and assistance that is given to customers after the sale has been completed. Customer service does not end with the selling of the product. It is extended after sale to provide the best possible service for the customer.

Cameron Balloon: Communication

Cameron balloons main sources of communication are telephone, fax, e-mail, and by letter. Cameron balloons has two different forms of communication processes for example external and internal.

Internal communications means communicating between colleagues/departments within the same company.

External communications means communicating with outsiders such as customers and suppliers (stakeholders).

There are a number of way in, which a messages can be passes on for example Oral communications include:

* Meeting

* Face-to-face communication

* Telephone conversation

Written Communication:

This has the advantages that the message is permanent and can be referred to any time. Written methods are also more appropriate when a business wants a message to be received by a lot of people.

Written methods of communication:

* Letters

* Fax

* E-mail

* Memo

* Text

* Circular

* Notices

* Hand books manuals

* Annual reports

* Advertisements

Advantages of oral communication:

* Quick immediate

* Response

* Relatively cheap

Disadvantages of oral communication

* Can be interrupted

* No record of conversation

* Long message can be forgotten

* Misinterpreted

* Misunderstood not clear

Advantages of written communication

* Formal authority

* Provides permanent record

* Can be retained for future reference

* Can be studied at leisure

* Can be copied for other people

* Can contain images

* Create distance in case of problems

Disadvantages of written communication

* Takes time to produce

* Accuracy needed

* Must by legible

* Delivery may take time/lost in post

Cameron Balloons: How Departments Within an Organisation Work Together

Functions within Cameron balloons are interdependent, for example, it is pointless to have an efficient finance and accounts function when the firm’s marketing function is extremely inefficient. Cameron balloon also needs a motivated workforce that is willing to work hard. Therefore it is important that human resources department liases with all the other departments to ensure that all the employees are happy and motivated.

Here are some examples of how departments work together: –

1. The marketing director liaises with the sales director to identify the skills and experience of his team members.

2. The production director should liaises with the marketing and sales directors to determine a selling price for a new product.

3. The human resources director liaises with the finance, marketing, sales and production directors to ensure that all company members are motivated and adequately trained for the job they are expected to do.

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