When Zhik performance sailing clothing approached me in 2014, it was a relatively unknown brand in the UK, except among the top level competitive sailors. The brand had a strong following with youth and dinghy racers, from successful event and athlete sponsorship.
However, Zhik was barely known amongst the big boat fraternity – the extensive world of cruising and racing yachtsmen. Plus, it had little awareness with many key UK and European yachting journalists, except those dealing with competitive events.
My challenge in taking on the Zhik PR account was to build brand awareness for the brand across the UK and Europe. With a key focus on the leisure and competitive keelboat and yachting sectors.
Liz’s work is excellent. She makes sure the rationale is robust. She handles PR for us, and always gets the job done well and on time.
Simon Payne, Global Sales Director, Zhik
As always it started with a plan! Creating a Public Relations programme, to ensure a regular and consistent flow of news to key journalists. Then introducing the brand to those who were unaware of it. Critical was to build up the relationship and trust with the press, presenting the right sort of information, appropriate to their audience and readers. Also to ensure that Zhik products are considered and selected for gear tests and feature articles.
Next was working with Zhik’s distributors to help with translations, and ensuring news distribution to their country specific press, to meet key deadlines.
With the basics underway, next steps focused on increasing brand engagement with new target audiences, while maintaining a presence in existing strong markets, such as youth racing.
I devised and negotiated a partnership with the prestigious Panerai British Classic Regatta in Cowes. This positioned Zhik as the Official Clothing Supplier to event which enabled me to set up an activation programme to leverage the partnership.
Year one was focused on creating the brand association with the event competitors and stakeholders. By year two, the competitors were very area of Zhik and truly appreciated the high quality, performance clothing as race prizes.
- Over 60 printed press items achieved in 15 months, with considerably more online
- Over 20 items selected by key journalists for long term tests and features
- Press interviews on business and brand development set up key press
- Signficant growth in UK brand awareness and overall sales revenue
- Wider brand awareness with journalist and ‘big boat’ sailors