I recently had the pleasure of a tour of the Steve Irwin, one of the Sea Shepherd boats which happened to be docked at Williamstown lately.

To be honest, I don’t know enough about what they do to know whether I’m 100% with their cause or not.

I love whales. I think that killing them is wrong.

I also love seals, flathead sharks and other creatures of the deep that the Sea Shepherd actively protetcs in their campaigns.

And, this article is not about whether I agree with their tactics or not.

It’s to discuss what we can learn from Sea Shepherd, and apply to any business or non profit group.

The Brand

The Sea Shepherd branding is so strong, so recognisable. And yet so simple.

Sure, they’ve had over thirty years to get us to recognise their logo, but it is such a strong symbol that it comes into my mind, without me even realising, whenever I think of the organisation.

Your business logo should also be simple, strong and recognisable.

The Message

When we were on the tour of the Steve Irwin, the message delivered to us was so strong.

The same message was repeated to us many times during the half an hour by an English volunteer crew member cum tour guide.

“We use aggressive, non violent tactics to stop the killing of protected wildlife in the oceans.

We aim to be annoying. We do not believe in violence. No-one has ever been killed in a Sea Shepherd campaign.”

(Not an exact quote, but you get my drift)

The thing that stikes me about this kind of statement is how well executed it is.

There are complex messages being conveyed across these few statements that are explained simply by using the right words. The young English crew member did not create this statement. She probably didn’t even hear it direct from the source (I presume Captain Paul Watson). But the message has been crafted well enough, over and over at the Sea Shepherd that it can be excellently communicated by any member of the organisation, in any situation.

If every business could come up with a statement or two that so accurately explains what they do, we’d have a lot less business failures.


 Their Affiliations

If Sea Shepherd was a person, they’d be sitting backstage at all the right gigs. They’d be eating at the hip places, surfing the right breaks and hanging out with the right crew of friends.

The Sea Shepherd has some very cool cats as supporters.

This is probably just as beneficial for Sea Shepherd as it is for the famous folks who flock to her side for support.

Who does your business hang out with?

Maybe you should think more about who your business’ friends and supporters are, and make sure you’re being as good a friend as you can to all of your crew.

The Media

The Shepherd knows how to use the media for good. Yes, good.

Not everyone is a supporter. And they don’t hide from criticism, in fact, they tackle it head on by being open and transparent.

The media is there to tell the world the stories of the day. Not to talk about your business, how lovely you are or how interesting your new services are. If you’re launching a business or a new product or service, make sure that when you approach the media for press coverage, you’re telling a story that the world wants to hear.

Don’t hide from criticism.

Defending yourself is the best way to show your community your true character. Someone to learn from is 37 Signals, the creators of some awesome software, and advocates for putting your flaws on the table before anyone else finds them. It’s allowed them to build a worldwide following of millions.


The Right Words

Do you have the right words? Or are you finding them hard to write?

If you’re looking for a copywriter who understands business, social enterprise, and how exciting and scary launching a business can feel, you’re in the right place! Contact us for a quote to get the words, the story, the message and the brand right for your business launch.

We’re at the other end of the phone on 03 9041 2258, and at fiona@peachbm.com.au.

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