Farouk Nefzi, CMO of Feadship, discusses the perception problem
The Chief Marketing Officer wants to turn Feadship into a true 'lovemark'...…
The superyacht industry rarely becomes a part of public discussion because of its triumphs in green technology, the amount of wealth it distributes among blue-collar workers, or for being one of the last bastions of artisanal craftsmanship. Instead, the industry finds itself thrust under the limelight every couple of years whenever there is reason to scorn the financial elite or comment on the necessity of luxury assets. A lot of the time, it is deserved, and media scrutiny and public opinion offer the industry a reality check and a chance to right their wrongs. But Farouk Nefzi, Chief Marketing Officer at Feadship, is on a mission to change the perception of the industry from within, in a bid to showcase to the world that it's more about substance than it is about superficiality.
Farouk Nefzi is possibly the most vocal and candid Chief Marketing Officer in the entire superyacht industry. There are few in his niche line of work who are willing to be such open market commentators, and, during such unusual and difficult times as these, the perspective of a stakeholder of the highest ilk can prove to be invaluable. His role is a unique one, to say the least, Feadship is a company with a spotless reputation, innovative and exciting clients, and most likely quite an enviable marketing budget. And so, the challenges facing Nefzi are far beyond just ‘making the brand look good’. He must educate the wider market, champion the best initiatives, and uplift the entire industry's general image.
At Feadship, Nefzi has been working on building a level of trust and loyalty that goes beyond reason. Nefzi’s speciality lies in the art of storytelling, and it was at the latest Superyacht Forum where he outlined just why it was such an important part of his marketing philosophy. Speaking to SuperyachtNews, Nefzi explained, “I have previously stated that when I started at Feadship, it was already a well-respected brand. My mission was and is to let it evolve into a true ‘Lovemark’ - (A marketing term to describe a brand that has a high degree of love and respect from its target audience). We have brought the element of storytelling, target audience engagement, and the market positioning of Feadship to new heights. We also execute image surveys every few years to check if we are still on course.”
This time last year, when Nefzi was interviewed for The Superyacht Owners Report, he stated that the most frustrating thing about the industry was the amount of misconception and greenwashing. But one year on, Nefzi’s main concern is now more to do with the external perception of superyachting,
“My main concern was, and still is, the stigma that the industry has to deal with. It is incorrect and pictures a very narrow view of this highly innovative and complex industry that we are in.”
With the recent sanction fallout, the industry has, once again, been thrust under the limelight for all the wrong reasons. From a pure marketing perspective, there is plenty of work that needs to be done in order to repair and heal its image. Nefzi is of the opinion that this will not be a quick fix and that not speaking up on the issue will only cause more damage. Nefzi suggests, “Stop being silent and start acting as an industry with a long-term campaign. Wait for Monaco Yacht Show this September, we (Superyachtlife) will be announcing news to address this.”
Feadship have the third-highest number of Facebook followers of any yacht building company
On top of this impending news, Feadship also released a 45-word statement less than two weeks after the initial invasion of Ukraine on the 24th of Febraury…
We are deeply concerned by the dramatic developments in Ukraine and our thoughts are with all the victims. Feadship meticulously follows all national and international laws & regulations and operates a stringent client-acceptance system. A dedicated team is closely monitoring the situation on a daily basis.
Probably the best way to improve the perception of the superyacht industry, is to offer people a look behind the curtain so that they can see beyond the opulence and cosmetics. Interestingly, the most viewed video ever released by Feadship is the youtube video entitled ‘4K Time-lapse of 87m /285ft Superyacht Lonian’ (7.8 mill views) which showcases the intricacies and complexity of the new build process at Feadship. It throws a spanner in the works, why isn’t the industry feeding this obvious public appetite for informative ‘behind the scenes’ insight? If anything, it is a refreshing piece of content that provides something slightly meatier on our timelines instead of dramatic drone shots, good-looking models, and frolicking dolphins.
Speaking on this, Nefzi explained, “There is always an appetite for our industry. I think there is more to tell, even behind the scenes. Unfortunately, we are also an industry that is surrounded by confidentiality agreements etc. This limits the possibilities, but with creativity, we are well on our way. We have aired episodes like Uniq and other storytelling videos to combat this.”
Nefzi continued, “The whole digital transformation trend that we are in is highly exciting. But the industry is too quick to jump into the whole ‘NFT and Metaverse’ type of media. I see a kind of immediate reaction to this without thinking through the impact on the brand. There are many ways we can address all these new developments. Also, Feadship will eventually unveil its own unique approach to this.”
Nefzi is clearly meticulous and calculated when planning for the future. His degree of engagement with the wider industry and ability to think outside of the box when the market is under pressure is what makes him such a valuable asset to not only Feadship, but the entire yachting community. It would do the industry well to have a few more stakeholders at the very elite end of the new-build sector who are as candid and vocal about trends and challenges facing the Superyacht world.
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