Navigating change: Maritime marketing in the new world


As any good sea captain will know, your expertise is only ever as good as your communication and your capacity to effectively manage logistics. Transfer that perspective to a maritime marketing team, and swap ‘captain’ for ‘brand’, and you will find the same to be true.

You can have the best product - but without effective control of supply lines and clear internal and external communication - you stand little chance of success.

Consumers have never been so conscious of the logistics and supply chains. Last year, the fragility of the globalised market was exposed following the arrival of COVID-19. The sudden shifts in how people were shopping, the increased demand for certain items and the new-found disruption to travel and supply chains meant supermarket shelves were suddenly emptied.

This awareness peaked again with the more recent grounding of the Ever Given, blocking the Suez Canal for six days in March. This caused a huge traffic jam of almost 400 ships, and blocked an estimated $9.6 billion worth of trade.

This growing consciousness is linked to concerns around sustainability. A new global report from The Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by WWF, shows a staggering 71% rise in online searches for sustainable goods globally over the past five years.

This puts Maritime brands in a challenging position. Since 2001 the total volume of the goods transported by sea has doubled - but the industry has a firm target to reduce its CO2 emission by at least 50% by 2050.

Maritime brands need to provide smart, cost effective and reliable solutions that provide value - all whilst delivering the lowest possible environmental impact.

So how can they do this?

De-carbonisation to digitalisation

De-carbonisation is a shared global priority. The pressure of this goal means global shipping markets are instead looking for new opportunities under drastically changed economic conditions. But there is opportunity in this disruption. De-carbonisation is an opportunity to increase digitalisation as we drive efficiency and best practice across the sector.

Technology will have a big impact on the maritime shipping industry. There are still many outmoded processes, and broadly speaking the industry is behind many other sectors. New tools such as cyber technology, autonomous mobility and artificial intelligence (AI) are shaping tomorrow’s shipping industry.

Brands should seek to use technology to promote more customer-centred services, with an aim to support maritime customers in evaluating the long-term competitiveness of their vessels and fleet and to future-proof their assets.

Understand the roadmap

“The shipping industry is set to adopt sustainable development goals from 2021, making the 20s a decade of action and delivery, not only for the shipping industry but for the planet as a whole.”

International Maritime Organisation Secretary, General Kitack Lim

Maritime brands need to have a clear roadmap to 2030 - and then on to 2050. And these milestones need to be public.

This is about future-proofing your brand. It means putting the necessary practices in place today in order to thrive tomorrow. In order to achieve these ambitious goals, there are a number of tools that need to be embraced including digital sensoring, bigger megaships, greener shipping, solar and wind power, autonomous shipping, block chain, virtual reality, and many more.

These tools should be a constant reference point for maritime brand leaders. Innovation should be focused on these efforts, and on ensuring you have the right support for delivering in a multi-fuel future of transition.

Promote sustainable maritime practices

Shipping lanes currently face less scrutiny than higher-profile sectors like aviation and road freight. But as sustainability grows as a zeitgeist, and as consumers become more specifically aware of the impact our behaviour is having at sea as well as on land (the reaction to Netflix’s ‘Seaspiracy' is testament to this), this will change. And it will happen sooner than we think.

Maritime brands will need to supply proof of their efforts and compliance - and supercharge this with a powerful operational story. Your strategic objectives do not change – they are connected to the sector and customer need - but how your brand positions itself will be key as we navigate into the future.

Part of this is becoming a thought leader in your sector. Drive the conversation, highlight what you are doing and place yourself at the forefront of innovation and sustainability.

Learn more at Marketing in Maritime

Due to popular demand the only event dedicated to maritime marketers is back. This year Marketing in Maritime (MiM) takes to the digital stage, perfectly reflecting the evolving landscape that has faced marketers in all sectors over the past year.

Speakers include marketing practitioners from across the maritime industry and beyond, from ship managers and technology providers to dedicated marketing service specialists. The blend is designed to provide delegates with maritime-specific marketing insights, to help elevate their own marketing efforts.

For the full programme and registration visit: