All through the year since the arrival of the virus and the emergence of a pandemic, I’ve been saying, maybe next quarter things will start to settle down and we can plan for the future. Everyone became excited at the prospect of a vaccine or multiple vaccines, with markets and governments giving everyone a boost in the economic arm. Then this week, we were faced with announcements of a mutation of the virus and therefore further lockdowns, some imposed travel bans and other frustrations created by this invisible enemy.

In the coming days, we will all start to slow down and try to enjoy the end of the year with our friends or families, celebrating whatever religious festival arrives and looking forward to that final hour of 2020. As the clock strikes twelve across the myriad of time zones, starting in the Pacific, I’m sure everyone on the planet is looking forward to the start of a brand-new year. Bottles will pop across the world, with toasts to loved ones, lost ones and the simple fact that the majority of us, have managed to get to the end of 2020 and are considering what 2021 has in store.

It is likely to start with similar distractions to the previous year; the virus load is still weighing heavy on the world and it is clear that we have to be patient while the influx of patients is treated and the high-risk members of mother earth are given their dose of hope from the various pharma groups. Having become bored, reading the various analogies of historical pandemics, the worst-case scenarios, astronomical rates of infections and other negative reports of positive cases, I’ve decided to look ahead and have realised that we are the lucky ones.

Yes, 2020 was incredibly difficult and challenging, but it has taught me a huge amount about my team, our portfolio, our industry and myself, so much so that I feel we will be in a much better position for the future.

As you will have noticed, we haven’t been able to bring our industry together for our various Forums throughout the year, we had to merge two issues of The Superyacht Report while the industry pulled in its marketing horns and we have been prudent and careful with our various investments in product and project development. So, as we start 2021 and what we refer to as the Brand New Year, or the New Brand Year, we are looking forward to using 2021 as a trigger for a variety of initiatives and ideas that will help our clients and partners to reinforce their strengths and strategies.

We have very simply decided that for 2021, The Superyacht Report and SuperyachtNews.com are stable core products that do not need too much development or innovation – they do exactly what they were meant to do, provide the market with trusted and topical insights, opinions, intelligence and information, written by some of the most respected journalists in the industry. There are a few initiatives, but these will emerge in Q1.

We have explored innovations with The Superyacht Forum, but due to the pandemic, all these innovations are on hold, but as soon as we can travel again, we know we will deliver an inspiring, entertaining and unique platform throughout the year. Watch this space, as we plan to launch everything formally in January.

The most exciting and dynamic shift that is coming from The Superyacht Group in 2021 is the evolution of our service proposition in the focused form of our Superyacht Agency division. The reason I refer to 2021 as the New Brand Year, is very simply that we are seeing a wide range of clients use this last quarter and the first half of 2021 to understand exactly what the market thinks, feels and understands. It really has shown itself to become a time of reflection, review and rethinking in order to renew and energise a wide range of companies’ brand proposition or strategies for the future.

As I have mentioned before, and in a recent internal memo, we have stayed focused on doing what we do well and have delivered phenomenal issues of The Superyacht Report, consistently reported intelligent stories on the market’s activities via Superyachtnews.com and while we wait for freedom of movement to deliver an innovative version of The Superyacht Forum, we have been incredibly busy for the past few months and will be for the coming months. Having signed a wide range of NDA’s and confidentiality clauses, for some of the most interesting companies and brands in the market, we are staying busy, but under the radar.

With energy and confidence, I am looking forward to the second half of 2021, when many of the industry can meet again, at what promises to be an evolved and energised Monaco Yacht Show. I’m excited to get back on stage again during METSTRADE and the Amsterdam Superyacht Forum. But until that time, my team and I are going to be working hard behind the scenes on some really valuable intelligence, strategic research and market analysis to help some of the biggest brands come out of this pandemic with clarity and confidence for the future. It’s been a challenging time for all, but as has often been quoted from the wonderful Charles Darwin - “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

Over the coming weeks and months of 2021, we are excited to play our part in helping some of the most interesting and exciting companies, adapt and change in this Brand New Year.


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