There can be no greater wake up call for a company than the realisation customers can’t differentiate its brand from competitors.
While taking a look at what made customers choose to cruise with Royal Caribbean over its competitors in a highly competitive category, Sean Treacy commercial director for the brand, had such a realisation.
“What was really surprising to us, and frankly a little damaging to our egos, was that people who are new to cruising can’t really tell one cruise brand from another,” Treacy told an audience of media types at a breakfast in Sydney this morning. “They’re merely comparing one big white ship with another. And that in fact, it was quite difficult to tell the difference between the likes of us, Princess Cruises and, even most surprisingly, P&O.”
“What we found is that while people who have travelled on Royal Caribbean ships really know and love the brand, those who have not have very low awareness about what sets us apart from the competition,” said Treacy.
Aiming to build awareness in the Aussie market about the brand, Royal Caribbean recently launched a campaign to coincide when many of the brand’s ships dock on Aussie shores, with Treacy saying today it would embark on its first television voyage for the next advertising push. Treacy said: “For the first time in history in Australia, we are taking our advertising onto television with a major campaign kicking off very soon.
“We believe the TV campaign will help bring to life what it’s like to experience the Royal Caribbean difference and expose us to new audiences around Australia.
“Much has been made about the Australianisation of certain ships, but what our research found was that just adding VB and Vegemite isn’t what Royal Caribbean passengers want.”
And while the brand is keen to explore a medium it has not worked with locally before, Treacy was quick to stress the company is not heading away from print media. “Those of you working in print media need not be afraid about our move onto smaller screens,” he said. “We will continue to advertise in a wide variety of print publications and their online digital versions. This remains one of our strongest mediums for Royal Caribbean.”
The brand has also upped the ante on social media, launching its first Facebook Party at Sea competition which gives participants the chance to win a one night cruise on one of Royal Caribbean’s ships, Voyager of the Seas.
“You’ll see some big changes in how we approach our advertising and marketing campaigns going forward. We need to find new ways to bring the worldly, diverse and imaginative qualities of Royal Caribbean to the attention of the growing market of new cruise holiday makers in Australia,” said Treacy.