Yamaha case study: setting the dolphins free

05 Jan 2010|Added Value

In the personal watercraft race, Yamaha was stuck in second place. Their boats were innovative, but not making waves. Year after year, it was the same. A solid second place with a steady 32% share. The question was how to gain share and increase boat sales.

We mapped their market to find new opportunities. Who would buy, what thrills were they seeking, and why the current products fell short. We found coves in the market where Yamaha thrived, and some that competitors ruled. And we uncovered an opportunity. Products for families that love thrills.

We were about to embark on a journey of innovation to create new products, but realised that Yamaha’s positioning was in a no-wake zone. It was known as ‘the leader in family fun on the water’. Safe and secure, products that mom would like. Like dolphins at rest, beautiful but not thrilling. While the competition was like a shark in the water. Bold and audacious, but unpredictable and scary.

And meanwhile on land Yamaha was all about deep satisfaction and excitement – the optimum connection between man and machine. Providing both exhilaration and control. We got it all down, and Yamaha took it to heart. We set a new course for the brand and together we briefed the agency, who embraced a new perspective.

Suddenly those dolphins started showing their moves. Thrilling and dynamic rather than staid and settled. New products were positioned to target and own previously unchartered waters. Even the brand tracking was overhauled to embrace the market map and positioning.

Personal watercraft share rose to 42% YTD 2009, and Yamaha is now the undisputed market leader.

How did we Add Value?
We used deep consumer insight to learn that safe doesn’t have to mean boring. We helped Yamaha reinvent their positioning to set the ‘dolphins’ free.

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