Alexis Eyre is a UK marketing manager at launch specialist agency Five by Five & member of the British Marine Sailing Committee. This is Alexis’s view on how Oyster could relaunch.
Oyster is back. With new owner Richard Hadida at the helm, now’s the perfect opportunity to relaunch, both to the industry and customers.
But it’s not as simple as just emerging from the depths. Oyster’s investors pulled out and the brand fell into administration this February, with £80m on the books and an unsettled £7.3m claim against it. Relaunching is contentious, and could prove particularly thorny. As an outsider looking in, it also allows ample room for growth.
CONSIDER A NAME CHANGE
Innumerable suppliers, big and small, lost a lot of money when Oyster went bust – it’s no surprise its industry reputation is damaged.
If negotiating robust contracts with old suppliers fails, then maybe rather than just a rebrand, a rename might be in order.
To consumers, though, it’s still considered a true, heritage British brand. Does Oyster risk alienating its suppliers, or its end-users?
Maybe they take Google and Alphabet’s route – set up a holding company with a good reputation. So for business-to-business activity, suppliers only deal with the holding company, including all contracts. Consumers deal with Oyster, the brand.
Until its internal industry reputation is restored, everything else risks remaining stagnant.
INVEST IN MARKETING
Oyster has an enviable order book and strong brand equity among consumers – now’s the chance to ensure its marketing breaks the marine mold. It should aim to apply marketing experiences that are ahead of the game, rather than in league or behind competitors.
There’s every opportunity to be AI or AI pioneers, or to just get better at programmatic advertising. It needs to become a market leader that other industries will look to for inspiration – not the other way round. To do this, marketing needs to be a core discipline, not an afterthought.
Relaunching has to prove something – it has to legitimise Oyster’s future. What better way to do that than by totally reimagining its brand, vision, imagery and messaging – underpinned by its heritage as a quality British brand.
KNOW THE WIDER COMPETITION… AND YOUR AUDIENCE
As the world moves on, so does the marine industry. Five by Five’s recent Launch Marketing Report shows that millenials associate launches with innovation. The nature of the luxury market means that boats now wrestle with super-cars and other industries. Oyster must reassess its competitors, marine and otherwise, and build creatively compelling marketing campaigns with inspiration from outside the industry.
Oyster’s technology and actual sense of adventure already rivals sports cars, but younger generations just haven’t been given the chance to experience it.By making it more accessible, by directly targeting them, Oyster can ensure the next batch of customers will be those who aspire for thrills and luxury; people who make a conscious decision to invest in the brand, rather than being lured into another industry entirely by default.
Oyster has 45 years of history under its belt. To flourish in the next 45, it must be sensitive when rebuilding confidence within the industry, taking a more pioneering marketing approach to re-launching its brand.