boot Behind the Scenes - successful trade fair participations
Neander Shark - Market Launch of Dtorque111
How a unique motorcycle conquered boot Düsseldorf as an outboard engine
boot Düsseldorf. January 2013: World premiere for the world's first turbo-diesel outboard engine. It is the fascinating story of a successful market launch. An innovative product, perfectly orchestrated on the world's largest watersports stage.
When Lutz W. Lester, Managing Director of Neander Shark GmbH and CEO of Neander Motors AG, recounts the history of the Neander Shark project during a tour of the company headquarter in Kiel, it is difficult to slow him down. You need to allow some time for a visit. It all sounds more like a script sketch for a really exciting movie, perhaps a bit crazy at times. But even that's no surprise when you know that Lutz Lester was co-producer of the German Werner comic films at the same location in the 90s. The former anchor chain factory at Kieler Hörn simply seems to be a particularly creative location.
A lesson in brand building strategy
In any case, he transferred his talent for storytelling to the project "Dtorque 111 - turbo-diesel outboard engine for professional use", which only on the surface seems a bit dry. In fact, the story is a textbook lesson for a product placement and brand building on the maritime market, in which boot Düsseldorf plays a role as a platform for innovations and networking that is perfectly tailored to its abilities.
In January 2013, the brand name Neander Shark appeared for the first time on the exhibitor lists of the Düsseldorf boat show. In January 2018, the first orders for the outboard engine with turbo diesel, which was now ready for the market, were signed and accepted on the very same spot. But these final five years of the market launch were preceeded by a long and rather exciting period of product development.
An idea born from pure passion
The innovative idea for the turbo diesel engine arose from the passion for motorcycles around the North German comic figure Werner.
The result was a real cult object: NEANDER - the world's first turbo diesel motorcycle.
Which brings us back to the legendary northern German comic figure from the 80s with the pointed boots and the wild passion for motorcycles. Like the hero of the comics, the creative minds behind the technical innovation at the heart of the new turbo-diesel outboard engine lived their passion for motorcycles back then, driven by the vision of bringing the enormous torque of a turbo-diesel engine onto the road in a motorcycle. The result of this tinkering was NEANDER, the world's first turbo-diesel motorcycle - and the foundation of Neander Motorfahrzeuge GmbH in 2003.
The secret: twin crankshaft technology
The heart of the NEANDER engine was the counter-rotating twin crankshaft, which helped to control the problem of vibrations in the diesel engine. The bike was ready and running. The road permission was granted. But what next? It would not have been possible to bring NEANDER to the market for less than € 100,000. Among motorcycle fans with deep pockets you would certainly find lovers and buyers. But what to do when these demanding customers suddenly come up with short-term maintenance and service requests? And not only in Kiel, but anywhere in the world? That did not make for a promissing marketing perspective.
Sometimes it is a detour that takes you there
The engine, however, with its innovative technology at its core, was not dependent on the motorcycle to attract attention. That was, so to speak, just the catch. At the time, the German importer for Yanmar boat engines and long-time boot exhibitor Robert Marx from Hamburg was looking for a replacement for the discontinued Yanmar diesel outboard models. He came across the story of the turbo-diesel motorcycle. And he asked the Neander team whether they would not rather hang their engine on the back of a boat than install it in motorcycles. This provided, he could predict almost exactly how many of them could be sold through him. And the Yanmar service network also provided a solution for the service issues that had previously caused the motorcycle project to fail.
No sooner said than done! Neander Motorfahrzeuge GmbH became NEANDER Motors AG in 2006 and Neander Shark GmbH was added as a subsidiary in 2009. Yanmar came on board in 2015 as an investor and exclusive sales partner. The conversion of the motorcycle turbo diesel into a marine outboard engine, the Dtorque 111, was gathering momentum.
First Firing - entering the hot phase
In June 2012 the engine was ready for "First Firing", then in September 2012 a first presentation to the general public took place. The Kiel-based company made its first public appearance at the trade fair for shipbuilding and maritime technology in Hamburg. There was not yet a finished engine that could have served as an exhibit - with a lot of creativity and parts from test engines an exhibition dummy was conjured up for the booth - but to prove the technology there was the NEANDER motorcycle. And that proved to be a real eye-catcher at the ship technology fair. A new product lives on its story!
"See you again at boot Düsseldorf!"
Lutz Lester and his team were delighted with the incredibly positive response to the engine at the fair. It became apparent that there was a market for the turbo diesel outboard engine in professional shipping: At high operating hours the economy of the diesel pays off. And the safety gain from diesel instead of petrol in the tank is also a major advantage.
But the engine developers from Kiel were particularly astonished about one sentence they heard time and again in Hamburg: "Well, see you again at the boot Düsseldorf in January!"
"Düsseldorf? boot? - It's all about watersports and pleasure boating. What am I supposed to do with my professional outboard engine, which will not pay off financially for a sportsboat?" Lester thought to himself. But he heard this sentence from so many people he talked to that he became curious and began to find out more about boot Düsseldorf: internationally the leading boat show. For visitors, the main focus is on the recreational craft market. But for the international industry it is the place where they all come together: Suppliers, agents, buyers, developers, owners, technicians - the entire market is on site in Düsseldorf. This is where people meet. Crucial contacts and networks are established here. Here the new products and innovations are presented perfectly in an appropriate setting.
Leading international platform for the boating industry
Ideal for the first product launch of a new brand. Lutz Lester quickly recognized this potential, and so he began to plan what the first trade fair appearance at boot Düsseldorf could look like. From his partner Yanmar, he was able to co-exhibit in a corner of the Yanmar booth in the middle of engine hall 10. An ideal position at the heart of the topic was thus found. Partnership pays off. In January 2013, a first engine was also ready for presentation.
"The rest actually was a sure-fire success," says Lutz Lester. "Everyone saw us in Düsseldorf. And approached us. And then you meet one who knows someone else who brings anotherone to the stand."
"You need a place that is your home base."
boot Düsseldorf is the meeting place where innovations are presented and examined closely. This is where contacts are established that are crucial to the success of a market launch. This is a major trade fair organizer providing the logistics and public relations work that will decisively advance a start-up like NEANDER Shark. And last but not least, whoever has such an exciting and unique story to tell about his company and product on top of all that - and can tell it as well as Lutz Lester - has basically won already.
The first appearance of NEANDER Shark with the Dtorque 111 at boot 2013 was so successful that boot Düsseldorf has become one of NEANDER Shark's two home ports in the world of trade fairs. "You need a home base in the exhibition world, a place where you come from. For us, this is boot Düsseldorf. It is a must-attend event for brand communication."
And so there was no question that the go-ahead for the "real" sale of the engine would also be given in Düsseldorf: The first orders for the first turbo diesel outboard engine were accepted at the boot Düsseldorf 2018, five years after the first appearance at boot Düsseldorf, 15 years after the foundation of NEANDER Motorfahrzeuge GmbH. The engine is running smoothly!
The history of brand communication and the market launch of the NEANDER Dtorque 111 is a prime example of how especially young and still small companies can use the huge platform of boot Düsseldorf for themselves to cause a stir in front of an international audience. Good, innovative products, with a determined and well staged story, will find their audience at boot Düsseldorf. Consumers, but also the B2B network they need so desperately.
In addition to the product and the story, it is not so much a huge marketing and trade fair budget that is required for the first attempt, but a respectable appearance with a clearly formulated goal: In the case of NEANDER Shark, this clearly defined goal was to find further international contract partners. "In our case," explains Lester, "the decisive factor for our success was, on the one hand, that we were able to present a world premiere with a functioning engine and, on the other, that we found the ideal location at the fair in the heart of Hall 10. The boot motivates, inspires, stimulates; and all that right at the beginning of the year."