Wednesday, March 26, 2008

SeaTow Press Release

By now, most of you have seen the latest press release from SeaTow , announcing SeaTow's "evolution into a full-service organization dedicated to the savings, services and security of the recreational boating public". Because SeaTow is one of the two largest assistance membership networks, Red Right Returning is obligated to weigh in.

First of all, Joe Frohnhoefer has every right to claim bragging rights as the brainchild of what is perhaps the very best possible choice for a brand name for an assistance towing company. Brand name 101: keep it simple. SeaTow - two distinct syllables, almost impossible to garble on VHF radios, easy to remember when you actually need the service.

But, as the saying goes, be careful what you ask for. SeaTow is now facing an age old problem in marketing: how do you expand beyond your own trademark image? Can SeaTow convince the recreational boating market to think beyond the syllable tow, and understand that the company offers more than towing? From the press release:

Our brand and our reputation have been based on providing the most professional marine assistance to recreational boaters in need...Now it’s time for us to start taking credit with the boating population for all this organization has to offer its members....[like] Trailer Care™, Sea Smart™ VHF, Sea Insure®, Sea Loans™ and the Boating Safety & Education Foundation, while also expanding its member-exclusive Advantage Network™ savings program

The concept of a full service boating membership organization isn't new. Yacht insurance, boat financing, group discounts and foundations to promote boater safety & education have been available to members of BOAT/US for many years.

Indeed, BOAT/US began as an insurance and education organization, and was actually a late comer to the branded towboat idea. Their towing brand, TowBOAT/US, just doesn't roll off the tongue though, now does it? When your brand name rhymes with tuberculosis....

Anyway, SeaTow's press release basically announces their hope that a new slogan - Where Boaters Belong™ - will help them break the stigma of their own brand name success.

I have to admit, Joe Fro has done it again. I think Where Boaters Belong™ is a fabulous slogan. Whether it will achieve the goal remains to be seen.