Luxury megayacht company CRN defies global crisis – an exclusive interview

CPP-LUXURY.COM has recently interviewed, in London, Mr Luca Boldrini the Director of Sales & Marketing for the luxury megayacht company CRN, himself a keen pilot in his spare time.

How has the profile of your customers changed in the past 3 years? What percentage of your customers are from emerging markets?

The profile hasn’t really changed over the past 3 years. Our customers are multibillionaires with a passion for yachting. For emerging markets we have had quite a success in South America in the last four years, providing two vessels in Brasil. We’ve also sold one in Hong Kong in the last year years.

What are the key buying decisional factors for a client from an emerging market who is not a connoisseur?

The Latin America market is more steady as the already have a boating culture – they are an emerging market but boating appeals to their lifestyle as individuals, they like the sea, the parties, socialising. APAC is a bit more difficult due to the fact that there is more infrastructure for smaller vessels and there is a lack of yachting culture. If they do have larger vessels they tend to keep them in the South of France or Mediterranean. For the Chinese market we are working with potential clients to accommodate special things, for instance they prefer a design with less outside areas as they are not pro-sunbaking. We are coming up with new ideas which appeal to these clients who will potentially use one of our vessels in a completely different way to the traditional use.

Which are the key brand differentiators of CRN versus other yacht builders?

CRN is one of the shipyards in the world that still builds full customised mega yachts – this sets us apart from competitors .We also experiment with new technologies and designs. All of the vessels we have under construction we are actually building new features that are different to any other that our competitors. For instance, J’ade which we just launched has the world’s first floating garage. We can actually show innovative features under construction not just on paper like our competitors. Clients can touch and feel I reality. Our dream of the future is to build one single vessel with each innovative feature we currently have under development.

CRN 125 J’ADE 60 M Megayacht

What similarities can be drawn with the world of luxury cars in terms of marketing but also in terms of perception (i.e. Made in Italy versus Made in Netherlands).

Italians are renowned for the design and to be able to transform simple concepts into very ergonomic and very beautiful features. The challenge it to design something beautiful, comfortable but also ergonomic. Especially in the yachting business and with this as the new focus and idea for luxury. This is what sets apart Italians from other cultures. Furthermore, Italian yacht builders in general, we have a big advantage from the financial crisis because we have transformed the building of  a vessel into a social and design experience for the owner. German and Dutch builders yes have high quality like us but they don’t look at the experience of the owner during the construction. We involve the families and service all around which is another factor very important in today’s luxury market. Also, culturally I believe Italians are more flexible.

How important is after service? Are privately owned yacht companies able to provide a more effective or more personalized service, compared to larger corporate yacht groups?

The after sell is one of the most important factors for any producing company because at the end you can build the most beautiful things but if you are building a complicated product you must also focus on after you deliver. If you do this you can create the spark for the owner which will have make them a repeat client in the future. I personally don’t believe an outside company can service the same way as a producer. After sale is a huge investment but given feedback it allows you to rectify issues but most of all create the relationship with the client for the future.

Major luxury brands from different sectors realize today the importance of collaborations with the aim of redefining luxury lifestyle, especially in emerging markets. What is your view? Have you had such collaborations or projects?

We are working on different collaborations across jewellery, aeronautical and art industries. For instance we collaborated with the artist Christian Jankowski at the Frieze Art Fair a couple of years ago and are about to collaborate with him again on an upcoming solo exhibition. This cross fertilisation not only gives reassurances about the seriousness of our company to the client bust also provides an extra service because they have ease of access to major luxury brands. Personally I strongly believe on the value of collaborations and in today’s market we can’t only look into our own business but must have a multi-dimensional outlook.

CRN 125 J’ADE 60 M Megayacht – interiors

What are the most effective communications tools in today’s internet driven society?

My mobile phone that’s it! And friendship!

Which are your company’s most important product launches in 2013?

Our most important launches this year are our 60m ‘J’ade’  and the 80m ‘Chopi Chopi’. We will have them both at the Monaco Yacht Show this year.

CRN 125 J’ADE 60 M Megayacht – swimming pool