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At Yachting Pages Media Group we are passionate about marketing – we love to help businesses flourish and fulfil their potential. It’s what we do. It makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside.
However, we understand the predicament businesses currently find themselves in. The world is in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic and economies are grinding to a halt. It’s a difficult time and careful decisions are being made by business owners to ensure they can begin operations again as quickly as possible now that lockdowns are being lifted.
In these uncertain times one thing remains sure, however: Marketing is key – even in a crisis. With this in mind, we’ve decided to share some key marketing tips and advice in a new series of articles, specifically designed to help you help your business during these challenging times.
In the seventh article of the series, we delve into the powerful world of business branding. Does your brand communicate the right message to your customers, or is it a dated representation of what your business looked like 10 years ago? We tell Yachting Pages’ rebranding story and explain why now might be the perfect time for your business to consider a refresh as the world emerges from the coronavirus lockdown and into a new era.
It’s a good question. Simply put, branding is a way of defining your business – to yourself, your team and the outside world. It is your identity and communicates everything your business stands for.
The misconception is that it only converses with individuals on a superficial level, but the power of branding runs much, much deeper than that. Underestimate it at your peril.
The new generation of customers, who have grown up immersed in the digital world, are not easy bait. They know what’s good and what isn’t – and this means they know exactly what they’re looking for. They won’t look twice at a business with tired branding, but similarly they won’t buy into a brand that goes OTT on gloss and charm either.
That’s why your branding needs to be authentic and true to your business’s values. Yes, it needs to look good and feel contemporary, but ultimately there has to be substance behind the style. Customers will look straight through you otherwise.
A brand needs to evolve over time, in line with the ever-changing landscape in which it operates. There’s no such thing as standing still in any industry – if you aren’t continuously developing, you’re going backwards. In the superyacht industry in particular, the demand for perfection is high and unrelenting.
With lockdowns beginning to ease across the world, the industry will soon be operational once again. The question is, is your business primed to standout in what is a saturated marketplace?
If the honest answer is ‘no’, now is the perfect time to consider your options and pursue a rebrand. The next few months will be vitally important for everyone in the industry, and it’s essential that your business maximises its opportunities and makes the right noises to the right audiences.
To help you decide the best plan of action for your business and to give you a feel for the process, we thought we’d give you an insight into Yachting Pages’ most recent rebranding.
Our production manager, Lisa Ferron, was instrumental in the implementation of ‘new’ Yachting Pages. We interviewed her to ascertain how the business knew it was the right time to rebrand in 2016/2017 – and how the company set about achieving it.
“Late in 2016 Yachting Pages were in the final stages of preparation to launch our new app. Months of research and planning had bought us to the point where we were almost ready. However, just as we were think-tanking our marketing approach, I noted that our logo – our original branding for Yachting Pages created by our CEO back in 2003 – was actually no longer going to be fit-for-purpose.
“The logo had stood the test of time quite well but it suddenly no longer represented our brand in the way that it had upon conception. The original logo depicted the directory, and whilst that publication was still at the heart of our business, it was failing to illustrate our digital dominance in the marketplace. Since the logo was designed the company had grown and launched an industry-leading website and we were about to launch an app. It was immediately apparent that our old logo when viewed on digital platforms was going to all but disappear and so our design and marketing services team set to work to create mood boards and visuals for a new brand identity that reflected the company’s evolution.”
The team worked hard to develop a series of ideas, keeping in mind the essence of what branding is all about. It had worked with dozens of businesses to help them achieve new branding as part of Yachting Pages’ Marketing Services, but this represented the first time they were needing to utilise their knowledge and stylistic eye for Yachting Pages.
“A brand identity is the personality of your business and a promise to your customers. The idea or image people have in mind when thinking about products, services and activities of a company, in a practical and emotional way. This combination of physical and emotional cues is triggered primarily by your logo, which becomes your main tool to graphically reflect your brand name, values and personality to the audience you communicate with.
“A well designed logo therefore allows people to quickly identify and recall your brand. It will help them to detect your brand instantly, across different channels and touch points. It must be consistent over the different communication channels and it should promote a professional image, raising expectations and inspiring trust. It will also distinguish your brand from your competition, facilitating an emotional connection and boosting brand loyalty. In essence, designing a logo is vital to the company identity and successful communication with your audience especially in these days where so much business and promotion is done online.
The next step saw Yachting Pages’ senior designer come up with a number of visuals that the team poured over and examined. After rejecting some and further developing others, there was one design everyone kept returning to. It was ‘strikingly simple enough to be viewed and recognised in a vast array of situations’, whether it was a three-metre banner hanging above the Monaco Yacht Show, a tiny favicon on the home page of our social media channel, an app icon on a phone home screen or on the back of a t-shirt worn by our field operations manager as he delivers the directory to the superyachts around the Mediterranean.
“We were, in essence, looking for the simplicity of some of the most successful logos in the world, i.e. the Nike swoosh and the McDonald’s M.
“Having narrowed down a number of options we finally arrived at the YP logo almost as you see it today. The last piece of the design puzzle for us was the shape of the logo, with its simple square with rounded corners echoing the shape of the app icons on the home page of your phone - immediately identifying the company’s digital presence and allowing it to be equally visible on the spine of the directory (as it sits proudly in many a capitanerie on the French Riviera), or on the corner of our social media platforms. In short, it was a carefully crafted, bold, easily identifiable modern logo suitable for all uses, giving us the ability to use it consistently across all applications.
“Can all businesses say that about their silent brand ambassador?”
At Yachting Pages we had the internal skillset in-house to deliver the project, though most companies would likely have to hire an external design agency should they want to undergo a professional, strategy-driven rebranding.
Interestingly, there is seemingly no direct correlation between budget and the creation of a successful logo design. In 1971, Nike paid just $35 (c. £28) to graphic design student Carolyn Davidson for the now iconic swoosh, whereas the divisive logo for the 2012 Olympic games in London cost a hefty $625,000 (c. £400,000).
Not all companies are in a position to hire agencies like Wolff Olins, creators of the aforementioned London Olympics logo, nor for that matter will most have the budget to drop an eye-watering $211,000,000 (c. £170,000,000) like BP did when it re-branded in 2000. It needs to be an affordable and viable option – something Yachting Pages provides.
“Yachting Pages offers bespoke, flexible, scalable and affordable brand and logo design packages to suit client needs. Whether you’re a start-up looking to enter the market and make an impact, or an established business in need of a refresh, our team of experienced brand specialists will be able to help.
“As your creative brand partners, we are with you every step of the way. From initial research and strategic direction, through to brand development, websites and the roll out of marketing collateral, we can help you deliver effective and original communication, achieving results that can be measured.”
While you undoubtedly understand your business better than anyone else, you won’t get the best results from a design agency unless you give them the freedom to be creative and think outside the box.
“You may have to step outside your comfort zone and trust us when we make suggestions during the development stages. This is our area of expertise, and our extensive industry knowledge and wealth of experience will ensure your new branding works for you, just as we did with our own new identity.
“It’s worth remembering that Nike executives did not like the swoosh design at first glance. When Davidson presented the sketches, they diplomatically asked if she had some more designs to show! Fortunately they were persuaded to allow the logo to ‘grow on them’. And the rest as they say, is history.”
It’s a big decision to rebrand your business; it’s not a journey to embark on lightly. However, if you’re certain that your business requires a new identity in order to make its mark within the industry, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team will be delighted to talk you through your options.
For more marketing tips and insight, explore our Marketing During COVID-19 library of articles and guides.
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