Hatteras Yachts, the US-based superyacht manufacturer, has recently announced the appointment of Kelly Grindle, formerly president of outdoor products at Vista Outdoor, as its chief executive officer. Grindle brings to Hatteras his extensive experience in the recreational marine and manufacturing sectors.
“I’m excited to join an iconic American brand and I am entering Hatteras at a fantastic time as it has it has already made a number of fundamental and beneficial changes to improve its efficiencies and productivity at the facility,” starts Grindle. “I don’t see a great need for changes to personnel or brand direction, much of that has already been done.”
After four weeks as CEO of Hatteras, Grindle identifies communication and transparency as being central to his target areas of improvement, bringing with him the sharp focus on brand equity - the commercial value that derives from a brand’s consumer perception - that pervaded his earlier career.
“We want a degree of transparency with our customers. They need to know what’s going on and, when they visit the factory or contact us, we have to be communicating the right message and ensuring that the experience is as good as it can be,” continues Grindle.
“I think there is a tendency [in the superyacht industry] to hold cards close to your chest in case you fall behind or if there is an issue. But, I believe, ultimately, this works against you. We want the customer to be involved in what we are doing, the greater the involvement and the closer they are to the process, the happier they should be.”
Grindle concedes that owners are not all the same. Not all owners want to be kept abreast of every decision that is being made, or the intricacies of the various stages of a superyacht build. However, he explains that it is necessary to be able to cater to the most discerning owner as well as the most relaxed.
“Brand equity, the trust in a brand, can carry a company and account for a number of sins,” Grindle continues. “It can carry you the long-term by ensuring that peoples views of the brand are always high and, more importantly, that they understand what the brand stands for.”
When asked whether or not Hatteras will be looking to extend its superyacht range, Grindle explains that Hatteras will be reviewing its five-year product roadmap and engaging in an extensive market research period in order to ascertain which potential growth areas are likely to prove most lucrative for Hatteras and beneficial for its clients.