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Message From The Editor

Boating Industry Canada's Newsweek

WHICH "BRAND" GETS THE CUSTOMER LOYALTY?

I have to confess that I was very surprised to learn about Brunswick Corporation's announcement this week that they were preparing to sell their Sea Ray business.

You can read more detail on this in the story below.

I would describe Sea Ray as one of the best-known boat brands in North America, and perhaps beyond. This company goes back to the late 1950s and for a very long period of time, Sea Rays were distinctively styled, innovative boats and yachts that were much admired.

My opinion is that the marketing behind the boats was very good as well, and the combination of great styling, smart marketing and the generally growing and buoyant market [at least until 2008] probably guaranteed that Sea Ray was one of the jewels in the Brunswick corporate crown.

Perhaps more importantly, the brand attracted some of the top dealers, a factor that would surely help the company to grow and prosper. Conversely, new dealers lucky enough to pick up a Sea Ray franchise were very likely to do well.

The question is, which "brand" gets the customer loyalty? Should it be the boat brand? Or, is the important "brand" the marina / boat dealer? My thought is that boating is often local in nature, so the brand that deserves the loyalty is the marina / boat dealer.

They are the people who deliver the service, storage and help to fill out the pleasure of the experience. Within reason, the boat brand should not overshadow the brand of the marina / dealer.

The business realities behind Brunswick's decision to sell Sea Ray must be tough enough, but the uncertainty this brings to dealers who may have put 20 or even 30 years of their life into building and promoting the Sea Ray brand becomes a very sad reality.

It seems that almost every boat brand seems to go through a tough patch from time to time. It may be that this is just a tough patch for Sea Ray, but my concern is that this could be a major problem for some excellent dealers.

Let's hope that Brunswick is able to find a smart buyer who can breathe new life into this iconic boat brand and that the Sea Ray dealers and their investments in Sea Ray are rescued in time for the summer of 2018.

Andy Adams, Editor aadams@kerrwil.com Twitter YouTube

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Calendar

Calendar

Check out all of the upcoming events in your Boating Industry

Toronto International Boat Show
January 12-21 , 2018
Toronto, ON
Vancouver International Boat Show
January 17 - 21, 2018
Vancouver, BC
Calgary Boat & Sportsmen's Show
February 8-11, 2018
Calgary, AB

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