Insight: Sanlorenzo’s Strategic New Marketing Direction

Written by Ellie Brade

2018 has been a momentous year for Sanlorenzo, marking both 60 years in business and an all-new marketing and branding strategy. This new strategy, that will streamline the entire Sanlorenzo marketing process from start to finish, is being hailed by the yard team as an industry first and an approach that will ensure customers enjoy a seamless brand experience at all points of interaction with Sanlorenzo.  

When operating a successful business, it might be tempting to stick to a tried and tested formula. However, for Sanlorenzo the yard has always pushed itself to always develop and grow. Much of the reason behind this ambition, and resulting success over the past sixty years, is its team, not least the current CEO and Chairman, Massimo Perotti. Since taking the helm of the yard in 2005 Perotti has invested heavily in the yard’s people and facilities, with solid plans to carry the yard forwards. €60 million of planned investment in the coming years will include the renovation of the yard’s La Spezia site, the development of the Ameglia site, new facilities, research and development and the implementation of the aforementioned new marketing strategy.

SanLorenzo Elite DaysPhoto: Tom van Oossanen / SuperYacht TimesA major aspect of the Sanlorenzo business model has been an open-minded approach to complementary industries, with the yard always exploring new ways to market the Sanlorenzo brand and its philosophy. This has included involvement and several partnerships within the worlds of art and design, with Sanlorenzo management seeing many complementary elements between superyachts and art. “Sanlorenzo was the first company in its segment to be open to different worlds that speak similar languages, like art and design, involving respected names from the world of design and architecture in its yacht's interior design, such as: Dordoni Architetti, Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Piero Lissoni,” says Perotti to SuperYacht Times.

This strong relationship with art and design was enhanced by the appointment of Piero Lissoni as Art Director in early 2018. After first becoming involved with the yard when he collaborated on the design of the SX Crossover range, it was quickly clear that Lissoni and Sanlorenzo shared many synergies and ambitions for reinventing the concept of space on board yachts, and a formal partnership between the two was cemented. 

Launch SanLorenzo 500EXP Ocean Dreamwalker 3Photo: Tom van Oossanen / SuperYacht TimesLissoni has been charged with overseeing the streamlining of the yard’s entire marketing and branding strategy. This move aims to provide customers with a seamless brand experience at all points of involvement with Sanlorenzo, whether picking up a brochure or visiting the yard, thereby providing customers with a true luxury experience. “We believe it is very important to work with customers throughout the entire build process and ensure this is an enjoyable process from start to finish – it is a voyage we take together and each time we learn from the experience,” says Perotti. “Our interpretation of luxury is total dedication to the client, attention to details, a made to measure approach, investment in technology and research to manufacture boats that are not only beautiful but hi-tech… this is what we mean when we say we want to present Sanlorenzo as a “luxury” brand.”

Sanlorenzo has lots in the pipeline including new additions to its range and development of its facilities – this includes current work on the Ameglia facility, which will be home to the Yacht Division, with work due to complete in 2020. “The new Ameglia facilities will not only increase production capacity but also ensure that our production processes are more efficient, and the process leaner and the output will be excellent, having invested a lot in quality, efficiency and environmental control,” says Perotti. This redevelopment process is tied in to the seamless marketing approach that Sanlorenzo is working towards, with Lissoni also redesigning the yard spaces to enhance customer experiences. 

With plenty of ambition and vision for the future, Sanlorenzo is not resting on its laurels and there is much to look forward to. Here’s to the next sixty years. 

Massimo Perrotti at Sanlorenzo Elite Days 2018Photo: Tom van Oossanen / SuperYacht TimesMassimo Perotti – CEO and Chairman of Sanlorenzo

What prompted the decision to bring Piero Lissoni on as Art Director? 
Sanlorenzo has collaborated with top designers for many years, starting with Rodolfo Dordoni designing the interiors for our SL106 line, and we love the innovative approach and fresh ideas they bring to the table. When we began working with Piero on the SX88, we shared so much common ground that it felt natural to extend his collaboration to other sides of our business such as marketing and branding. 

How has the partnership benefitted the Sanlorenzo brand?
Piero has helped to create a consistent brand experience for clients throughout their involvement with Sanlorenzo. There is no better satisfaction than accompanying our customers step by step from the very beginning of the relationship to the delivery, understanding what they want and then completing the perfect boat for them. 

Sanlorenzo has had a lot of recent involvement with the art world, has this avenue paid off and will you continue to have more presence at non-yachting events?
We all know that in advertising there is no measurable ROI... you plant a seed, you underline the features you believe are your strong points, you build on your image and make sure it reflects what your company is and represents. The world of art has a lot in common with Sanlorenzo and many of our customers are very much into art and design. In recent years, we have participated in a number of major art and design events - it feels the right thing to do, so for sure we will continue to do so in the future.

Piero Lissoni during the Sanlorenzo Elite Days 2018Photo: Tom van Oossanen / SuperYacht TimesPiero Lissoni – Art Director, Sanlorenzo

You have been tasked with designing all of Sanlorenzo’s marketing and branding – how do you meet the challenge of telling a consistent branding story across so many mediums?
To be an art director, you offer the capacity to be coherent. You do not just jump in and out of many different day-by-day problems, you follow one single strategy to make sure it all works. You have to have the courage to control the way a company presents themselves - it means looking at it 360 degrees. An art director is forced to be more ingenious, working every day with your team to cover many different parts of challenges. But, I am only one person and the real secret is a team - in this case the Sanlorenzo team with many different people, engineers, logistics people, finance people, communication and marketing and last but not least, the owner. I'm only one person and while I am the public face, I have a fantastic team I work with to achieve the overall vision.

What was your main source of inspiration when coming up with the vision for Sanlorenzo’s marketing and branding? 
The company and its credibility, because in the end everything revolves around credibility. You have to build the credibility to be one of the best in the world, not just one of the best in Italy, but one of the best in the world. For that reason, I push the people to think of solutions for their own different aspects, and then draw this all together coherently. Nothing happens by chance.

Do you think that marketing and branding within the yachting industry is too traditional? Do you think there needs to be more innovation? 
Yes, but at the same time it all comes down to attitude. Sometimes yacht marketing can be a little superficial, but I always try to push the company to be more precise, to share what they did in the past and how they have increased their technologies and intelligent issues. I think there is more that the industry can do to communicate all that it has to offer to buyers. 

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