Healey Water Operations / Building an international brand, for a revered industry personality.
World-renowned big wave surfer spear-fisherman and waterman Mark Healey established a remarkable business venture: Healey Water Operations (HWO) a one-of-a-kind, professionally-run guiding service designed for a personalized experience with the Ocean. He sought to bring his purity of vision to global prominence.
To do that meant it was necessary to find the essence of Mark Healey, and distill his one-of-a-kind identity and exceptional skill set into a cohesive brand, one that spoke effortlessly to a wide client base, like Mark himself, was never elitist.
The brief therefore was to find a way to communicate the extraordinary opportunities HWO had to offer in a visual language that spoke directly to the target audience, conveying that this was a service Mark wanted to provide for like-minded souls. Despite the commercial objectives, it was about so much more than money. Mark recognized that his unique knowledge of, and affinity for the water was something he cared deeply about sharing with others. This was about sustainability, respect for the natural environment, and a true desire for adventure.
Mark Healey / Waterman
|"Working with United is a perfect fit, it honestly couldn’t be any better. From the moment we met I knew this was going to be a rewarding partnership. Andy, Lawrence and the team truly understand surfing, the ocean and the Waterman culture, but also, and importantly, have an in-depth knowledge and experience of working on a higher strategic global level. They have helped me bring to life a deeply personal vision I have had for over two decades now. To find a team that could get inside my head and extract years of ideas, concepts and dreams and then bring it to life the way that United have is an incredibly unique experience. We continue together on an amazing journey as we build the HWO brand".|
|Mark Healey / Founder|
Defining the essence
Creating the brand from scratch was an opportunity to do justice to the extraordinary venture that Mark was establishing. Having a deep-seated understanding of that world, we were instantly clear about the strategic path down which we would direct HWO. It was crucial to make Mark himself the product, centering everything around his passion and expertise.
Long-time admirers of Mark and everything he stood for, at United, we understood the concept at a visceral level. Our challenge was to refine the raw material and turn it into a premium brand which could deliver to clear, long-term commercial objectives.
Research into the project was intense and vigorous. Already thoroughly immersed in the worlds of luxury hospitality, sports and especially surfing, United was as close to complete cultural alignment with the venture as it was possible to get. Nonetheless, in order to fully appreciate the uniqueness of the enterprise, it was necessary to take part in numerous high-level planning sessions with Mark himself, and to speak at length with the myriad service providers who make up the team.
This research led to the recognition that Mark had to be at the heart of everything. The messaging had to reflect the story. It would be honest, raw and authentic, focusing on the way his personal achievements translated into commercial expertise, and that everything he embodied: the passion for the sea, commitment to the natural world, his drive to push his body to its physical limits - and beyond - would be represented by the experiences on offer at HWO.
Only in doing so could United create the value necessary not only to sustain the operations themselves, but also communicate to consumers the exclusivity inherent in the proposition.
Having pinpointed the company’s identity, the next step was to bring the brand to life through the most productive channels.
To do this, United established a structure for the business from the ground up. We realised quickly that it was crucial that the differing experience packages were segmented in order to be more precisely targeted at their correct audiences.
Everything from family adventure and education days, to big wave surfing experiences, to wilderness survival journies: United formalised and refined the itineraries, profiling the ideal consumer at every step, and developing the right language to articulate the concept to them.
Next, to aid in highlighting the premium positioning of the brand, we designed a high-end suite of brand communication for the company. Starting with the logo, we created an elegant monogram. Stylish and discreet, it was designed not only as a visual play on Mark’s initials, and those of the company, but to communicate Mark’s relaxed personality, connecting the audience to the balanced approach to environmental sustainability at the core of the business.
From the brand identity, we built HWO’s website. Featuring stunning imagery, the website allows the breathtaking magnitude of what’s on offer, and the bespoke nature of the proposition, to be the focal point, encouraging the consumer appreciate the lifestyle nature of the brand, rather than focusing on the minutiae of the packages. This fosters that atmosphere of exclusivity which is key to underscoring the company's high-end nature.
Looking to the future.
With the visual landscape now created, we looked to leverage growing awareness by implementing long-term partnerships.
The potential scale of the project is astounding, and has accordingly attracted considerable interest from aligned, luxury brands.
We are developing brand relationships with various premium sponsors from across the globe.
The brand continues to grow and develop as Mark, still an active surfer, proceeds to forge professional connections internationally that will advance the business even further.
Meanwhile, as HWO’s reputation for excellence and uniqueness increases, it continues to attract a diverse audience, from those with a passion for adventure, through serious environmental conservationists, to progressively-minded business magnates from around the globe.
All share one goal: to experience the ocean in a way that is truly unique, led by one of the planet’s most dedicated masters of the natural world. United will be there every step of the way.