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In our more than 30 years of business we’ve executed literally thousands of PR and marketing projects for our clients.

BEYOND COMMODITIZATION

May 3, 2017

Product Differentiation in a Regulated Market

Client: Danelec Marine

Market Sector: Global commercial shipping industry

Dates: 2014-

Situation:

Danelec Marine, based near Copenhagen, is a manufacturer of Voyage Data Recorders (VDRs) and electronic charting systems for ships. VDRs, similar to aviation “black box” cockpit recorders, have been mandatory on all internationally trading merchant ships since 2002. All VDRs must be approved to meet the rigorous technical standards. A new updated VDR standard came into effect July 1, 2014. While all existing installed VDRs were “grandfathered” under the old standard, all new products sold would have to meet the new standard. Since many of these older products were nearing the end of their design life and some were no longer supported by their original manufacturers, Danelec saw an opportunity to capture a large share of newbuilds and retrofits with an infusion of new technology.

Rather than coming out with a minimally compliant VDR to meet the new standard and competing on price for market share, Danelec’s visionary CEO decided to take the opportunity to “reinvent” the VDR with value-added features .

Challenge:

The challenge was to achieve “front of mind” awareness and understanding of Danelec’s innovative new technology in a market crowded with look-alike VDRs, and to overcome a perception of VDRs as commodities.

Strategy:

To bring this product differentiation strategy to the market, Danelec turned to Rhodes Communications to mount a strong PR effort to introduce its new concept to the maritime market. The starting point was to develop a comprehensive plan and strategy for product rollout. Key differentiators for the Danelec VDR were its unique approach to serviceability and its open design enabling an extremely cost-effective ship-shore telematics solution.

A key strategy was to position Danelec and its CEO as the perceived “spokesman” for next-generation marine electronics technology through press interviews, by-lined articles in leading journals and a series of “thought leadership” white papers.

Key PR elements included:

  • Press tour to London for one-on-one meetings with international maritime journalists
  • Proactive outreach to place articles in key media
  • Press kits – print and electronic
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Steady flow of press releases to build credibility by highlighting major sales, service centers, distribution partners and type approvals
  • White papers explaining the key technology differentiators
  • Press interviews and demos at major maritime industry trade shows in Athens, Hamburg, New York and Oslo
  • Video on Danelec SWAP technology

In 2016, the PR campaign was broadened to include Danelec’s launch of a new-technology Electronic Chart Display & Information System (ECDIS), employing the same differentiation strategy.

Results:

Danelec’s fresh new approach to product development was widely covered in maritime industry media, and the company achieved wide recognition across the global maritime industry as a leading innovator and strategic leader.

Samples:

Link to SWAP video in YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rLndBvG97U

Danelec Marine Launches Next-Generation Voyage Data Recorder

Danelec Press Briefing Book

New VDR rules trigger maintenance reboot

Power Point Presentation

White paper on new VDR standard in 2014_ DNL00013-10White paper on SWAP technology_ DNL00030