• Natalia Langsdale

The Big Bang Arena for the Yachting Movers & Shakers

Drawing on its 25 years of experience, The Superyacht Group introduced a brand new event this year comprising of SuperyachtDESIGN Week, the Superyacht Management Meetings, The Superyacht Owner's Summit, Make Your Mark and the Global Superyacht Forum.





The Global Superyacht Forum 2017 in Amsterdam Having attended the inspirational Make Your Mark and SuperyachtDESIGN week in the past I was intrigued to come along and find out more as well as touch on METS TRADE for the very first time. As the art of networking goes, I was invited to come along under the Studio Delta - naval architecture for yachts hat, having met at the Monaco Yacht Show and discussed different strategic ways to drive their already hugely successful business forward. So after a short sleep on Sunday, off I hopped on to Air France operated KLM flight to 'the Dam' to experience what turned out to be a powerful meeting for all sectors of the superyacht market. The Superyacht Forum - an event worth attending, was for sure in my mind the most valuable event worth attending in the calendar, after the Monaco Yacht Show in terms of winning networking opportunities but nowhere to compare as much more accessible and informative. Not only that but it first and foremost successfully managed to fill me to the brim with ideas and a futuristic outlook of the industry where I got to dabble with every single pertinent aspect of the yachting industry to allow an outsiders and insiders overview of what has been going on, what can be changed today and what the future will bring. Movers and shakers, designers, lawyers, naval architects, marketers, techies, engineers you name it, the 880 delegates that attended were an eclectic mix of open-minded individuals from all walks of life of the yachting industry who came together to spar on ideas, debate and generally rub shoulders at one of the most successful networking platforms outside of the shows. Kudos to The Superyacht Group! Topics like the 10-year Blueprint, Future Trends: Yacht Management, SY Intelligence, Changing the Face of Yachting or Activate-Innovate drew the more traditional debates together but then there were other sessions that truly made you go - wowsers! 





Speaker and management thinker professor,Alf Rehn, TED Speaker/Cofounder and Editorial Director ofContagious, Paul Kemp-Robertson, jet suit inventor ofGravityand TED Speaker, Richard Browning were just a few presenters who took the stage away. They certainly inspired me to keep at the 'day job' ie my own Marketing/PR/Strategy Consultancywww.bright-creativity.com and never forget to use a hint of imagination to spice up my projects and client strategies. Do not be afraid to dream, go for it and stand out from the rest is the key to keeping dreamers alive.





The massively entertaining 10 branding commandments by Kemp-Robertson got everyone smiling and recognising that the yachting industry is far too concerned with the old and copying each other, rather than embracing new and standing up to be bold, instead of italic and regular like the industry has done for the past 25 odd years.

Two influential industry experts with years of wisdom and marketing whizz and who made valid points when it came to the Yacht Marketing conundrum were Farouk Nefzi, Marketing & Brand Director of Feadship as well as Mark Duncan, Commercial & Marketing Director, Luxury Yachting, and former YPI Group Marketing Director.

During their panel marketing think tank on Superyacht Marketing - Life or Death it was clear from the audience’s input that we all agree that marketing is one of the biggest problems in yachting as we are not touching people the way it should.

Holistic experiences, meeting expectations and models that allow for the target audience to give it a go are all insights to be considered on all levels so that we give it back to the end user instead of hard selling something that the other end are not even remotely interested in or are forced to believe is the way.

Three core things to take away was to pay attention to 1/value proposition 2/ company DNA 3/ branding. There is a desperate need to focus on marketing training, which, as Young Professionals in Yachting Monaco are keen to implement with the likes of the International University of Monaco for example and the monthly talks and seminars honing in on education, promoting ethical business practices and ultimately facilitating success for young professionals wishing the worldwide yachting business community.

"Marketing is the solution to everything" it was said and referral marketing is the way forward where the power of the word of mouth sets the wheels in motion to positive ROI. How to set out getting this is through customised activities and events that create a buzz and are specifically tailored to the target audience.





Take for example Bright Creativity which orchestrated one of the most talked about private events during the past Monaco Yacht Show with a PGA pro golfer, biodegradable golf balls, floating targets and 50 UHNWI out at sea on a 70m+ yacht for a private aviation client. This is a testament of how communication is had directly to the client and a technique that both Nefzi and Duncan agreed was the best form of marketing.

It is events that create a buzz and where relationship building is focused on rather than ‘just’ selling the product. Making sure that the product is wanted is key - the desirability, the story, the experience.

Move away from the yacht shows as the only platforms to showcase - there are far more innovative, targeted ways to utilise your marketing spend cleverly resulting in speaking to the direct target group than holding yourself hostage, as was referred to, the industry yacht shows that we know and take place every year and that are getting more expensive and more diluted with the years that go by.

Another element that was pitched high on the ‘to do’ list was to start getting more organised. Automated systems, looking at the existing sales and marketing tools and ensuring that the two departments talk to one another and understand each other is key. Understanding your client with profiling and a direct line of communication within the organisation were elements to improve on so as to improve efficiency. With that comes the importance of setting goals to measure success.

Go the extra mile for your clients and create customer journeys as in the end of the day, as Martin Redmayne, Chairman & Editor in Chief of The Superyacht Group rightly concluded, “We must focus on the client. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, every single one of you has one responsibility: to make every single owner you know happy. Every owner we know is an ambassador.”

It is about "selling the sizzle, not the stake" - using your imagination, doing your homework and allowing creativity to go lose and to not be afraid to step away from what all the others have been repeatedly doing. Be the brainchild of a new way of standing tall in front of competition in ways such as Bright Creativity offers its clients be it yachting, private aviation, private banking, tech or fashion.





Events during the four days were perfect examples of how customer retention can be improved and the power of word of mouth plays a large part in gaining new leads such as the case of the Red Ensign Party with competition cards, photo booths encouraging posts and reposts on social media to entice others to join in on the fun. We all left marked with memories of some kind wanting to come back next year for more!

Then there was the most EPIC Superyacht Company party powered by Feadship where over 1,000 people got together to let their hair down and network in a nightclub setting right in the heart of Amsterdam. Lending to a more innovative touch was also the VriThink’s Night Out Powered by Pecha Kucha and their 20x20 speed presentations in quirky settings. If formal was more your affair then the Boat Builder Awards Gala at the National Maritime Museum was one to consider or if you were lucky enough to be invited, the super exclusive, Luxury Hospitality Academy dinner.

For this to come into play though, marketing needs to be seen as investment. Having a team of two to cover a multi global campaign on all inbound marketing simply is not enough. You are selling a dream. You are selling an experience. Look around you and assess what other luxury brands have in terms of marketing teams and creativity power houses. Agencies, external consultants all help and are positive expenses to consider. We know what it takes to bring in wise innovative imagination to help make your brand shine even brighter.

Summarising the talks that had taken place over the course of the four days, Redmayne additionally suggested wisely that, “We need to look internally in order to enact change. We only change this market if we stop saying ‘yes’ and start thinking differently.”





Certainly the future proves to hold exciting times ahead with the many new ways to enjoy the sea like explorer yachts for example, aspects of environmentally friendly concepts (zero emission) with the likes of luxury expedition mega yacht, 181.6m REV designed by Espen Øino and philanthropy driven projects sneaking into the industry. The new owner is seeking experiences and less the actual acquisition so the way we sell to a potential owner is evolving. Charter is no longer just merely for the elite - new yacht builds and cheaper builds lead to making the charter experience more accessible to a new audience.

With it is the imminent need of good quality brokers who offer integrity, transparency and where the breach of trust is patched up again. As referred to by Redmayne, “yachting is a virus - can we clean up our act?” Only with combined efforts and that will only be possible if we open up the communication streams and start to act together with associations, laws realigning processes and the right minded people who are in this for the better good of the industry as a whole.





And for those who don’t know what I do, I am a serial networker, editor at large and bloggerwww.lifethroughalensblog.com. But first and foremost, a strategist who helps the likes of private banks, luxury, yachting and aviation companies stand out in the crowd with tried and tested imaginative campaigns and strategic partnerships for guaranteed ROI. Want to have a chat, see how Bright Creativity can help you or simply just say hi and enjoy a good coffee of glass of wine if you are in the South of France?


Then let me know on www.bright-creativity.com 


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