Speaking with pride
Maintaining relevancy in a world of communications transformation
You may have noticed that Damen’s branding has been getting something of a makeover in recent months. One of the first expressions of this was the new corporate commercial – a refreshing presentation of the Damen philosophy that scooped a prestigious Silver Dolphin Award at the Cannes Corporate Media & TV event. Conceived of and directed by Bear Damen, this short movie stepped away from the tried and tired portrayal of exclusively technical information and vessel specification, instead appealing to a more emotional perception of shipbuilding. After all, this is an industry that is characterised by passion and pride. The commercial showed the people behind Damen and demonstrated the pride they invest into delivering our products and services. The movie was in alignment with a new ‘look and feel’ being injected into all new Damen marketing materials – one that demonstrates the philosophy behind Damen solutions as well as the technical details.
Sylvia Boer, Damen’s Head of Communications, says: “Through research with a range of different approaches over time we established what approach to communications best resonated with our audience. Once we had achieved this, we began to incorporate our findings into all our marketing materials. It’s very important to us that there is cohesion in our materials – a consistent message and a suite of marketing tools to present it, either independently or collectively. In this way we can really help our clients to more easily see, not only the whole range of solutions we have available for them, but the core values that run through everything Damen does.”
A plethora of solutions
A good example is the latest Damen Corporate Brochure. Putting this together, admits Sylvia, was a challenge.
“We wanted to show everything that Damen does in one publication. It’s only when we set out on this task that we realised the enormity of the project – especially when we intended to also demonstrate the craftsmanship, pride and heritage that differentiates Damen. It was a learning curve, but the result is one that, I think, truly represents Damen as it is today, a modern, forward-facing company well rooted in its heritage and experience.”
Spreading the word
A firm believer in the maxim ‘if something works, do more of it’, Damen quickly applied the new style to a whole range of its new marketing publications – a new brochure for Damen Shiprepair & Conversion, product leaflets and the dedicated website and brochure for Damen’s new venture into the cruise market.
It is perhaps partially due to the diversity of Damen’s offering that a new approach to its presentation was required. The company has grown significantly over the years. From its beginnings as a small Dutch shipyard in Hardinxveld in 1927 to one of the world’s largest shipyard groups operating 33 shipbuilding and repair yards all over the world employing over 10,000 people.
“The group has evolved in response to the ever-changing face of our industry. We invest significantly in R&D, developing and initiating innovative new technologies to ensure that both we and our customers remain relevant. To really do that effectively, it’s crucial that we, as Damen Communications, also retain our relevancy in order to ensure our message reaches the industry,” says Sylvia.
Naturally, a large part of this is embracing the digital transformation that is taking place within the shipping and shipbuilding industries and the world at large. For this reason, all the new materials Damen is creating can be found in digital format, as well as in hard copy.
“We realise it’s not just the message that needs to evolve, it’s also the way we present it. The world of communications is changing. For example, we observe that some of our clients start to take a different approach to things – instead of picking up the telephone and making enquiries, they conduct research online first. When they do approach us they are more prepared. We have to make sure the information they require is available for them in the way they want it.
Damen is well-known in the industry for being at the forefront of innovative development. This is in the culture of the company and can be seen not just in our solutions, but also in our communications. An example of this is the way we tell our stories through our online articles. We have moved away from the simple relaying of technical information and a focus on our products and instead look further, considering the functionality – what solutions our products and services present.”
Consistent philosophy, new way of communicating
Perhaps most revealing of all, however, is not what has changed, but what has remained consistent.
“The new look and feel of our marketing products, by showing the passion we invest into our business and by embracing the innovations of the digital age doesn’t represent a change of culture. In fact, it more accurately depicts a company that has always been notable for its pride, for wanting to be as close as possible to its clients and which has consistently led the way in breaking new ground. Some things never change,” concludes Sylvia.