Kiran Haslam of Princess Yachts offers his final musings
The chief marketing officer shares his proudest achievements and desires as he bids farewell to superyachting …
In Kiran Haslam’s seven year tenure at Princess Yachts, he and his team have transformed the image of the company from a boat brand to a true luxury brand. The terms dither and delay do not seem to exist in his vocabulary and one would do well to catch him sitting on the fence of an important topic. He is sure about many things, not least the fact that he is more of an ‘anthropologist’, than a marketeer. That ‘content is king’ is undisputedly the worst phrase in existence. And the absolute certainty that he has, hands down, the best marketing team in the entire industry.
When asked about his greatest achievement in an exclusive interview with SuperyachtNews, Haslam replied,
“The fact that we never looked left, nor right. We had the bravery to do something in this industry that was really unique, really different. I am extremely proud to have worked with some of the greatest minds in marketing, not only in the form of my core team, but our agencies as well. We have raised the bar in how content is captured, composed and adapted for the industry.”
He labels himself ‘abnormally focused’ on film and music. Which is why Princess was the first yacht brand to appear in a marketing campaign on connected TV. Princess featured in the first ad break of Sky Atlantic's Game of Thrones (Season 8). It was also the first yacht brand to appear in the trailer reel for cinemas across the UK for the debut of Quentin Tarantinos ‘Once upon a time in Hollywood’.
Since his arrival, Princess Yachts have gone from strength to strength and Haslam is sure that success will continue after his departure. “The 3200 employees that we have now, don't be surprised if we are several hundred more within a year.” Haslam stated in a LinkedIN post that the brand had grown an order book out past 2024 at a value in excess of US $1 billion.
Haslam has championed sustainability throughout his career and confirmed that the company was ‘well on track’ with their goal to decrease CO2 emissions by 25% within two years. “The whole industry can get better at the manufacturing process, at managing waste. We need to work together, we can’t be precious about this stuff. It can’t be all this green peacocking stuff. If we find something that works we need to say ‘look guys, we’ve found this that works really well, you need to get on board.’”
“We need to get braver, and I think that will be the next wave in the industry.” Haslam explained his gripe with the inefficiency of boat shows, "We don't need to build all these enormous great structures and move all of our boats to them. The cost of that on the environment is huge, and is it really honestly what the customer wants? We should be going to them. We all need to realise, hang on, we’re not doing this circus of shows anymore. We are all staying in hotels and putting stuff on trucks and boats and organising these massive mega displays which all end up in a skip at the end of the day.”
Even during the pandemic, when boat shows ceased to exist for a brief period of time, Haslam lambasted the use of modern systems for antiquated methods,
“Don’t be gimmicky with technology, don’t make an artificial digital boat show in a marina and all the rest of it. That doesn't add any value to anybody's life. Use technology to connect with customers in the most compassionate and sensitive way that you possibly can. And certainly be subservient with it.”
What Kiran Haslam has done most successfully at Princess Yachts, is portray yachting as a passion that has texture and substance. Where most would use dramatic shots of scantily clad women accompanied by generic operatic house music to film a superyacht. Haslam opted to do something different and became the first to capture continuous motion onboard a yacht. Although almost five years old, the clip below is a refreshingly candid piece of advertising which is rarely found in the superyacht industry. The marketing for the Princess M Class is an impressively executed example of Haslam ‘bringing superyachts into the real world’.
The former Head of Marketing & Innovation at Bentley, children's author, musician/composer, automotive journalist and college governor stated that although he is embarking on a new venture outside of the superyacht industry, he will always remain an ambassador to the Princess brand. He still relentlessly argues the case for the company being the most unique manufacturing story in the western world. His departure is an ultimate loss to the industry, however, the Princess brand itself will retain its positive momentum in a booming marketplace. Be sure to catch Kiran Haslam at this years The Superyacht Forum Live event in two weeks time.
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