On deck


A behind the scenes collection of news, thoughts and articles from our journal.

Taking the time to learn luxury

The superyacht industry could take notes from the watch world when it comes to luxury branding. Yesterday’s opening of IWC Schaffhausen’s ‘Timeless Portfofino’ exhibition in London’s Battersea Park set a new benchmark in luxury events as the brand delved into the making of its newest campaign. The Superyacht Agency was invited to mingle with special guests, actors Emily Blunt and Christoph Waltz, stars of the new campaign driving the brand’s launch of the new Portofino Midsize collection for women.

The campaign also features international actors Cate Blanchett, Ewan McGregor and Zhou Xun, and supermodels Adriana Lima and Karolina Kurkova. The dream team was flown from Cannes Film Festival to the beautiful Italian coastal resort of Portofino where photographer Peter Lindbergh, globally renowned for his magnificent sense of beauty and attention to detail, shot more than 21,000 images over three days. “To work together with Peter Lindbergh allowed us cast members to truly transcend space and time.” These really show the difference between a photograph, and a moment,” said Blunt to the gathered media.

The selection process involved 2,100 images being sent to the head of IWC, CEO Georges Kern, who said it took two months to select the final images used in the campaign. The stars were chauffeured through the exhibition to observe the beautifully shot photography for the first time. Waltz reflected: “Portofino is one of the most magical places on the planet. Being dressed in a tuxedo, wearing these amazing pieces of art while speeding along the Italian Riviera, I wished for nothing more than to stop time and linger just a little longer.”

One of the world’s leading brands in the luxury watch seg­ment, IWC crafts masterpieces of haute horlogerie at their finest, combining supreme precision with exclusive de­sign. And this campaign certainly reflects that.

To see the story behind the campaign, go to http://www.iwc.com/en/collection/portofino/

Stay connected and relevant with social media

We all know that we should be keeping up-to-date with social media and harnessing the online power that social networking sites are cited as having, but how to approach it in a truly effective way can be tricky.

The need for regular updates is time-consuming, and for brands to generate engaging ideas that don’t smack of sales talk is harder than it sounds. And, of course, you need to have built up a big enough audience for your updates to even be read, and that in itself takes a lot of effort. More often than not you’ll find yourself asking the question, “Is it all really worth it?”.

In short, yes it is. The fact that people are spending so much time on social media presents incredible opportunities for marketers. By connecting social listening and insights to social publishing and campaign creation, your company can grab the attention of those most likely to act on your content. The key to all this is simple — take what you’ve learned from listening to others on the social web and use it to get others to listen to you.

According to an Econsultancy report, almost 74 per cent of companies are planning to increase their spending in online activities in 2014. Carlsberg is one such brand that is increasing its investment in content marketing over the next 12 months as marketers boost the amount of material distributed via online channels.

In the process of setting up best-practice guidelines for distributing the content, Carlsberg is looking closely at what works and what doesn’t. For example, what the most popular topics associated with brands are and where content performs best on a page, as well as what time of day works better for video and picture-based posts and the optimum length of a message.

But for smaller companies with smaller budgets, it’s the simple things that can be most effective. Keeping up with everyone else’s digital lives across multiple platforms, acknowledging them with a ‘like’ or a retweet — this simple act lets that person or company know they’ve crossed your mind, it flatters them, and, as an organisation, you want that same approval.

Why a brand is much more than a logo.

A logo = a business’ identification via a recognisable symbol or mark.

A brand = the emotional experience that someone feels, sees and tastes when they interact with your company on any level.

A memorable logo is important. It paves the way for effective branding, and gives your company instant recognition. For this reason many companies often make the mistake of choosing to create a logo before anything else, and from there they move on to a website, brochure and stationery. But a brand is so much more than just a logo.

Your logo is a symbol that can provide consumers with immediate and powerful brand recognition. But your brand is the image behind what your business believes and strives to accomplish. As a result, your brand becomes your personality and along with that personality come numerous associations. Therefore a brand bears far more responsibility than a logo, and requires much strategic thought if it is to be communicated successfully. Research by McKinsey & Company showed that, in 2012, strong brands within the B2B space outperformed weak brands by 20%.

Although a designer lays the foundation of a brand visually by helping to shape the brand identity – such as letterheads, marketing collateral, business cards, etc. – the brand’s audience is what truly shapes it. Therefore, it is imperative that the foundation is laid correctly by falling in line with your business’ chosen image and goals. How do you do this? Be sure to develop your brand strategy.

Brand strategy = a long-term plan for the development of a successful brand in order to achieve specific goals.

While many businesses choose to engage the expertise of an agency to guide them through this important process, it is of course possible to work methodically through it internally. But it helps to have an outside and honest perspective rather than an inward focus. Often a company’s perception of itself differs from the public or industry-wide one.

For small businesses effective branding comes down to creating a positive perception through clear, concise and consistent communication. If you can marry that with a timeless, simple, memorable, versatile and appropriate logo, then congratulations – you’ve got it.

Julia Zaltzman

Comments: julia@thesuperyachtagency.com

Time to press play

It’s no secret that video content is an increasingly powerful tool at the disposal of marketers. Driven by the increasing ease with which we can watch on smart phones and tablets, it’s estimated that two thirds of the world’s mobile data will be video by 2017.

Typically, video is used to help tell the story of a specific product in order to drive interest and ultimately sales. Forward-thinking brands also use the medium to create compelling, entertaining content communicating brand values and driving a sense of aspiration in their audience.

Whichever route, video is now widely considered essential to any well-structured marketing campaign. Given this, why is it that much of the superyacht market is not producing appropriate video content?

For the past five years, the phrase ‘video is the future of marketing’ was continually bandied around client meetings, boat shows and conferences. Having talked about it for so long, we are yet again lagging behind the more mainstream luxury industries when it comes to producing genuinely interesting, engaging, branded video content.

I understand that superyacht brands are not aiming to match the luxury content behemoths like Burberry, Jaguar and Rolex; their content spend is prohibitively high (although proportional to the size of their audience) and beyond the reach of most yacht companies’ marketing budgets. However, even with more modest production budgets, we must elevate the quality of our video content beyond that of the ubiquitous lone model aimlessly wandering around an empty yacht.

Who does this speak to? Not the owner, not their partner, or their family. I believe it speaks to an outdated, glamour and excess-seeking audience that hasn’t existed since before the financial collapse of 2008. Superyachts continue to be marketed in a similar style to designer fragrances, which rely on manufactured, aspirational glamour in order to drive desire for what is fundamentally a scented liquid in a bottle.

But yachting is different.

You don’t need to tell the audience it’s glamorous, they know it. People don’t buy or charter yachts because they are glamorous; they do it because yachts enhance their personal lives, be it through increased privacy or unique, shared experiences.

If we consider a potential owner, which is a more compelling sales message? One of a nameless, albeit glamorous, woman wandering around a yacht off the Cote d’Azur, or the exciting tale of how one yacht owner managed to fish with his grandchildren, heli-ski with his oldest son and sit down to dine with his entire family, all in one day, in complete privacy and on his terms, aboard his yacht.

So to use an old marketing adage: let’s focus on selling the sizzle, rather than the steak. Video offers an opportunity to tell a story, so let’s leave the models on the docks and tell authentic stories that make yachting what it is; a unique adventure, an unforgettable experience.

Luke Sprague
Comments: luke@thesuperyachtagency.com

Monaco 2013 outtake: is superyacht marketing doing the product justice?

The past few weeks have provided a chance to reflect on the 2013 edition of the Monaco Yacht Show. Being my first visit, it’s been interesting to contemplate an event I’d heard so much about and which is clearly considered of such importance to the global superyacht industry.

I came away with two overriding impressions:

1. The yachts are magnificent and their marketing does not do them justice

The chance to spend time visiting some of the yachts in attendance was something I was really looking forward to, and it had a significant impact on my opinion of the industry. I was lucky enough to be given a tour of a newly launched yacht that had received a lot of coverage in the superyacht media ahead of the show. However, I was blown away by seeing her in the flesh. Her scale, innate quality, attention to detail and genuine beauty was something I was not prepared for.

How to recreate my experience for a potential customer on the other side of the globe is a challenge. The tools available to tell the story and create the sense of wonder are copywriting, video and photography. And it’s with the latter that I feel superyacht marketing is most obviously under delivering.

The car images above demonstrate how BMW approached the photography for their recent collaboration with Pininfarina.

These photographs succeed in eliciting an emotional response. Looking at them we can almost feel the smooth metal of the car’s exterior, the grain of the leather under our fingers. We can imagine ourselves experiencing this vehicle.

The same can be achieved for the larger interiors of prime residential property. The spaces look real, and they have a very human scale. They are aspirational but also inviting.  The way the light falls is authentic, providing a tactile appearance to the carefully crafted surfaces and materials. Again, just as with the BMW, we aspire to experience these spaces for ourselves.

Superyachts boast exteriors and interiors on a par with anything created in the automotive and residential sectors. However, this fact will continue to elude much of the audience for superyacht marketing until the standard of photography catches up.

2. Brands need to plan very carefully to ensure the significant investment in their presence at MYS provides meaningful return on investment.

The marketing director of a high profile superyacht firm recently commented to me that he could fly his entire sales team to New York for a fortnight of dedicated face-to-face meetings with strong client leads, all whilst staying in Manhattan’s finest hotel, for the same investment his firm makes in their annual presence at MYS.

Whilst I am certain that his team will be found on the piers of Port Hercules next September, not on the avenues of the Upper East Side, it was an interesting comparison on the perceived value derived from MYS.

The lavish nature of some exhibitor’s presence was evident to me as a first time visitor. And whilst I’m sure many were very happy with the results (not least Superyacht UK after the hugely successful Red Arrows display), companies need to plan carefully to ensure Monaco is one element of a clearly structured, targeted marketing plan that delivers value across all 12 months of the year.

James Shepherd
Comments: james@thesuperyachtagency.com

The hangover from the weekend

If Marissa Mayer’s high profile oversight of Yahoo!’s new logo design, carried out over a single weekend, was cunningly intended to generate publicity for the struggling internet company, it has proved a resounding success. If, however, it was intended as a serious attempt at creating a compelling identity to help consumers see Yahoo! in a new light, it appears to have failed. Spectacularly.

Updating your brand identity as a considered part of your business strategy is a rewarding and beneficial process. However, if you want the end result to be effective it’s unlikely to be achieved in two days. We enjoyed this passionate take on the controversy from Information Architects Inc. Please note that their passion extends to their choice of language:

Read the blog post here.