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What's the real opportunity for Maritime marketers?

It was suggested several times during the inaugural MiM2018 ‘voyage’ that the maritime industry is traditional in its marketing approach. But I found myself in the company of smart, dynamic people eager to be a positive difference in the businesses they work for. People tangibly excited at the start of something long-overdue in their industry – maybe even the launch of a movement that propels maritime marketing forward.

Quite rightly, I could see minds being fed by the myriad of opportunities; new technologies, marketing automation, data, digital marketing (in all its guises) and social networks.

But what really struck me is that, exciting as they are, these channels for distribution and tools for analysis and creation are not what will revolutionise this industry.

Critical foundations

Rather, the fundamentals of marketing remain the same as they have ever been – regardless of how evolved the industry’s marketing practices. They are (and will always be) about getting the right message, to the right people, at the right time.

When you understand what your audience think, how they buy, what they believe and what they value, you can make the case that your brand either has shared values or can contribute to their business in a meaningful and personal way.

Which makes understanding your audience and your brand the most critical of foundations to a game-changing marketing strategy. However, when it comes to articulating brand, the maritime industry, like much of the B2B world, is not particularly ship-shape.

Articulating 'why'

In the context of this industry, every business knows what they do. And most can explain in reasonably compelling terms how they do it. But landing the ‘why’ is a skill that B2B brands find difficult.

This is an issue; we heard at several points over the two days of MiM that we should not underestimate the power of emotion or ‘gut’ in purchase decisions. Decisions are made by human beings, whose experience in the consumer world, with brands like Apple, Uber and Amazon, has raised the bar for what they expect from the B2B brands they interact with.

Explaining what you do doesn’t cut it on its own. To resonate, people need to know who you are and why you do it. 

Why does your company or brand exist beyond growth and generating revenue? Being able to clearly articulate this is incredibly powerful and touches every part of an organisation, customers, leaders, and employees.

If that sounds like marketing fluff, think about this:

We’ve all heard of Tesla. Customers buy Tesla’s products because its stated purpose, “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”, is relevant to their lives.

And people who work for Tesla are driven by the same purpose. “Putting in long hours for a corporation is hard,” says Tesla founder Elon Musk. “Putting in long hours for a cause is easy.”

A star to steer by

So before we guide Clients through the ‘how’ of events, digital marketing, and content, we help them define their ‘why’, their values and their voice. This is vital, not only does it significantly increase your chances of finding and resonating with customers whose values align, but it’s the rule of thumb that every decision and strategy can be measured against – from marketing, to product strategy, NPD, even M&A activity.

‘Why’ is like a North Star for all the integrated components of your communication strategy; it’s the rudder that ensures they’re aligned and pointing the right way.  

There are undoubtedly exciting times ahead for Maritime brands who are ready to embrace the sophisticated opportunities available today. Taking a moment to articulate your brand clearly will help you navigate these new channels.


Anna Donaghey is Bray Leino’s Strategy Director.

To find out how Bray Leino could help you take your brand strategy to the next level, please contact Adam Holder.

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