FF Brand Image and “The Old Man’s Boat” Thing……

You will probably recall from the last FFI Handbook and the Commodore’s address that we have a bit of a Brand Image Challenge – “The Old Man’s Boat…”

I must admit I was anyway very concerned about this. If RS launched it as a new product tomorrow, it would be viewed as ultra-cool by everyone – without changing the smallest detail. Then at the Dinghy Show, if you were working on the much visited stand you would be forgiven for noticing that a noticeable majority of the Visitors were “Gentlemen of a Certain Age….”  Basically, all older than me as a rule. Very flattering it was. But whenever someone looking fortyish or less arrived, I absolutely pounced on them…!!

I’ve been wondering how to find out what our Brand Image is.  Probably a good place to start is with people who have recently bought one – like most of the Datchet Fleet, for example, plus some responses from members in other fleets. It’s a sample size of 23… so need many more, but I can already tell there is a strong pattern….

I collected from bar conversations 40 reasons why people tell me why they bought a Fifteen. Then I gave everybody 20 votes and asked them to place their votes on the ‘reasons to buy’ that mattered most to them. They could put multiple votes against one of the 40, if they thought it was really important.

Profile of the Results so far with 460 ‘votes’ distributed to 23 people:-

  • 40% Votes for the Boat Itself
  • 12% Votes for the Ownership Proposition, Value etc
  • 25% Votes for Flying Fifteen Racing
  • 23% Votes for Friendly People and the Association

I think that probably tells us quite a few things, and we might say, “We already knew that”.  Probably what you didn’t know though is the way the votes were distributed at a detail level. Very revealing….

There were three of the 40 bits of “brand image” that collected 10% of overall votes each. These are the big hitter things in our image… wait for it… they were

  1. – great club racing near to me or accessible to me (the biggest single vote actually)
  2. – doesn’t capsize
  3. – friendly people, welcoming, give help and advice

These three clocked about 140 votes of the 460 votes cast between them. Interesting, isn’t it?  People buy into the class because of the people in it, and they buy for club racing.

I must admit I would have sworn that “beautiful boat” would have scored somewhere. So what about the next tier of votes down??  Ok, scoring between 4-10% of the total vote each we had:-

  • – a planing keelboat (7%)
  • – club support local to me or accessible to me (5%)
  • – product has a very long life (5%)
  • – an international class with accompanying high standards (4%)
  • – active Open Circuit, plenty of Choice (4%)

There were quite a few at 3% by the way.  I’ll let you read the full score sheet in a moment.  Let me play a game here though to see if we might get a feel for the “Brand”…

If I combined a few of the forty attributes to make it clear then

“A beautiful, planing 2 person keelboat, exhilarating to sail in a breeze especially under spinnaker – and no capsize threat”  that would have scored  28% of all votes cast.

Obviously you can play loads of tunes on this idea.

“Great Club Fleet Racing, friendly welcoming people, Club Support, all local to me” would have scored 28%

“An International Class, Terrific Year Round Club Racing, Open Circuit, Europeans and Worlds, back by a Strong Association” would have scored 14% ……

Interesting. Take a look at the full results and let me know what you think. To see them click here

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