sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : The Brand is Zhik
The Brand is Zhik

'James Spithill, Zhik Ambassador - The Brand is Zhik!'    Zhik    Click Here to view large photo

A little under 10 years ago, I first started seeing some sensationally cool sailing gear that was adorned with this fantastic Z. It certainly reminded me of Zorro slashing his moniker into all and sundry and apart from looking cool, the gear seemed to be very much fit for purpose.

It was all off the beach in those days and it migrated across the classes pretty quickly, but it has been more than interesting to note that keelboat sailors can now start to have the same wonderful experiences that their small craft brethren have been waxing on lyrically about for ages.

The Zorro inference is important, for the character has been played by swaggering, dashing dudes, such as Antonio Banderas and Errol Flynn’s son, Sean. Of course Errol created his very own, real life legend, as a direct result of his swashbuckling performances both on and off screen. Now alas, a brand is nothing, if not very much a personality.

Think about it, the rise of shows ranging in style from Media Watch to Spin City, Mad Men and on to The Gruen Transfer have all opened up the dark world of branding to become available and up for consumption by the very consumers they once fed it all to.

The brand in question here is Zhik (pronounced Z i i k, by the way) and as a word itself, it means absolutely nothing at all, in any known language at this time.

French Connection United Kingdom had already taken what is arguably the most recognised word the world over, so creating something that was instantaneously recognisable, defendable in an Intellectual Property sense and usable in Information Technology applications is hard, but essential, especially when you have big plans.

     
The Founder and CEO is one Brian Connolly and as a company and a brand, Zhik shares far more than a wee dram of Apple or Sony-esque esprit de corps and vision. Like both of those brands, not only does Zhik have über-cool products that appear in product placement shots just about everywhere, but their items very much work the way they were intended.

Make no mistake, however, for this is not a fluke. Rather, it is the direct result of a lot of R&D and in Zhik’s case, they have sailors like Robert Scheidt, James Spithill and a gaggle of other legends ensuring that not only is this current crop of items the best around, but that the next ones are something to look out for, as well.

Don’t believe me? In the 60’s, a hitherto unknown transistor company called Sony stood up and had in their Mission Statement that they were going to be the biggest in the electronic entertainment field.

Two items like Trinitron and Walkman were just part of a barrage of great kit, which saw them do exactly what they intended, well inside 20 years. Now with the sad passing of Steve Jobs, a lot has come to light about what he and Woz have achieved, but just think about two guys in one of their parents’ garages for a second, as you use your fingers to scroll down your Smartphone or tablet to read this article.

Additionally, if you’re Australian, there is one added bonus to this story. So too is Zhik, and they’re proud of it, but in a global marketplace, branding stands away above any physical borders.

Like both of those fantastic organisations, the root of Zhik’s DNA is in ensuring they not only broke technological ground, but opened up the user to experience something that they may not have previously known.

This too is of little surprise when you review Brian’s background, which is in computer science and physics. His first business, Lake Technology started in 1991 and was in acoustics for computer signal processing of audio and acoustic signals. ‘We sold a lot of interesting acoustic gear to the Fortune 500 type acoustic laboratories around the world. We had assembled a team of over 30 engineers that did the most brilliant acoustic work and electrical design. We filed a lot of patents, designed a lot of technologies and managed to migrate a lot of this technology over the years to a level that was great for consumer electrics.’

‘One of the coolest items was 3D sound over headphones and we subsequently licensed that to Dolby Laboratories. Floating on the stock market followed and so in 1999 we rode the technology euphoria of 1999/2000, but we also rode the tech wreck that followed. Dolby Laboratories ended up buying Lake Technologies outright, turned it in to Dolby Australia and I went sailing. That's pretty much what happened’, said Brian.

So it was off to Lasers, where Brian got cold and wet like any good dinghy sailor does. ‘Yes. It wasn’t working for me’, Brian reflects, and with that, the genesis of great brand had begun.

Having a different take on things is quite evident in the way Zhik go about their business. When asked how they sit within their 20-year plan, Brian comments, ‘That is interesting. It is not so much about 20 years, as it is a plan for forever more, in some ways. I can imagine Zhik running and continuing for many years to come. We are coming up to ten years, which is quite interesting, as for the first 18 months or so we were just creating our range. We launched in 2005 as a global brand right from the outset, so now it is 2012 and this will be our second Olympic Games, already.’

With that, Brian has conveniently provided the segue into how Zhik goes about its business and the importance of design in their products. Zhik have a three-tiered system of sponsoring athletes that really began at the same time as the company itself.

John Bertrand Winner of Americas Cup 1983, former Etchells World Champion, Zhik Ambassador - The Brand is Zhik! -  Zhik  

At the top are the Ambassadors, those whose names have crossed over into common parlance. Naturally, there are but a handful of these. Next are Team Riders, who are Olympians and the like and there would be something in the order of 100 of these.

The third level is the Ascenders, of which there are simply hundreds and this is where Zhik gets be the good corporate citizen. ‘We want to give back to the sport that so deserves it. As we give more back, the sport gives back yet more to us and it is this lovely symbiotic circle, in which we can increase the value of the sport itself by promoting and servicing it well’, said Brian.

Simon Payne, World Champion Moth Sailor 2010 - The Brand is Zhik! -  Zhik   Click Here to view large photo

The feedback generated by this pool of talent is what drives Zhik onward. ‘This all dates back to when we founded. It was really important to us that we tried our best and remained as authentic as possible to and for the sailor. What we have is a more authentic relationship with our Team Riders, for instance, where we say to them if they wear our gear they only wear it because they prefer to wear and if they don’t want to, please tell us why and we will try to improve it. Actually asking what their problems are is a great way to begin. When you find out, you can build differentiating product.’ It is also one of the fundamental rules of marketing.

From left to right Tom Hussey, Brian Conolly, Bart Milczarczyk -  Zhik   Click Here to view large photo

Little wonder the Zhik design team enjoy their job so much then. ‘When we started, the Zhik design team had less experience in sailing than you might imagine. Their experience was in pure design and my background was in high tech.’

‘Our approach was quite different, by default, because we weren’t perhaps in some ways contaminated with traditional points of view. We sort of approached the whole thing from quite a different and fresh perspective. We look at things from first principles and don’t get tricked by tradition. We tend to question how people are doing it now, seek the truth and thence try to resolve better solutions’, said Brian.

So now, just like the ad break you definitely know is coming before they announce the results on a reality TV show, this seems like a very good time to take a break from The Brand is Zhik (part One) and come back with Part Two, in just a little while…

Ichi Ban, Matt Allen - The Brand is Zhik! -  Zhik  

Anna Tunnicliffe - The Brand is Zhik! -  Zhik   Click Here to view large photo

Marit Bouwmeester NED World Number One Laser Radial Olympic Class - The Brand is Zhik! -  Zhik   Click Here to view large photo

Zhik website


by John Curnow


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=97671

12:38 PM Fri 25 May 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
Zhik news

Related News Stories:

09 May 2013  Zhik - Gear for the sharp end of winter keel boat racing
06 Mar 2013  Why do top sailors choose Zhik?
02 Mar 2013  Why do top sailors choose Zhik?
13 Jan 2013  Images of the Waitemata: 18ft skiffs training for the JJ Giltinan - 2
13 Jan 2013  Images of the Waitemata: 18ft skiffs training for the JJ Giltinan
31 Dec 2012  Zhik partners with Australian '9er' classes
20 Dec 2012  Zhik partners with Youth America’s Cup Team Objective Australia
12 Dec 2012  Need a Christmas gift idea? Zhik ZKG water shoes are sure to please!
03 Dec 2012  Zhik ….......the yardstick for success!
27 Aug 2012  Zhik Moth Worlds - Joshua McKnight claims 2012 title
MORE STORIES ...




News - USA and the World

Volvo Ocean Race: Leg 4 Finish - Auckland - Live Video by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com NZL
Catch the live coverage of the Leg 4 Finish in Auckland. Check the video timer for a countdown to the start of coverage and the expected race finish time ... [more]  

Barcelona World Race - Cape Horn beckons for second and third placed Neutrogena and GAES Centros Auditivos. While the two IMOCA 60s are expected to pass at speed with around six hours of separation, in what might be considered favourable conditions for one of the most inhospitable and complicated corners of the Barcelona World Race, amidst the long hours of stress and fatigue ... [more]  

SCYA Manning Regatta – The youth-heavy event is the fourth and last stop of the Shadden Series for teenagers under 19 not yet in college and is also a move-up regatta under the advancement guidelines of the International Naples Sabot Association. ... [more]  

US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman & Yachtswoman of the Year Awards 2015 ceremony celebrated the sailing accomplishments of Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, Md.) and Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wisc.) as it returned to the iconic Model Room at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan after having moved to the west coast for the past three years. ... [more]  

For the Finn World Masters in Kavala, Greece pre-registration is open. So far 130 Masters have entered. 2015 will be the first time the Worlds Masters have been held in Greece. ... [more]  

The website for the 2015 Finn Open and Junior Europeans in Split, Croatia, is now live, with online entry open. The last time the Finns had an event there the wind did not cooperate and the fleet ended up sailing some races as the sun set. ... [more]  

RORC Caribbean 600 – Four Figaro II teams, all from the Guadeloupe Grand Large sailing academy, are racing in this year's event. 18 sailors from the offshore racing academy are racing on four identical yachts and have high aspirations for the future; the Solitaire du Figaro, Route du Rhum or the Everest of offshore solo-sailing, the Vendée Globe. ... [more]  

After having moved to the west coast for the past three years, US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards ceremony returned to the iconic Model Room at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan to celebrate the sailing accomplishments of Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, Md.) and Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wisc.). ... [more]  

If, in the end, the Pacific gave up race leaders Cheminées Poujoulat without too much of a fight and since Wednesday morning the Atlantic, in turn, has opened its fastest toll-free lane north east to Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam, the Pacific seems rather more keen to hold on to second and third placed Neutrogena and GAES Centros Auditivos. ... [more]  

America's Cup Defender Oracle Team USA and Challenger, Artemis Racing lined up for a series of try-outs on San Francisco Bay. Videographer John Navas was shoreside with a new high resolution video camera and provided these videos of the training sessions and hook-ups. ... [more]  

The HPYD conference is jointly organised by The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (NZ) and The University of Auckland and will be held at the Marine Event Centre in Auckland to coincide with the Volvo Ocean Race stopover. It attracts some of the world’s most preeminent yacht designers and is recognised as one of the top three conferences in this area internationally. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Ryan Houston - How Alvimedica's chemistry works *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com NZL
Ryan Houston is a watch captain aboard Team Alvimedica. He sailed in two previous editions of the Volvo Ocean Race – in 2008-09 aboard Delta Lloyd and 2011-12 on the incident plagued Volvo 70, Sanya. With the switch to the one design, ruggedly constructed Volvo 65 for this race many of the issues that bedevilled the competitors and organisers in the previous races appear to have been resolved. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Dave Swete - Alvimedica's race so far *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com NZL
The Volvo Ocean Race and its forerunner, the Whitbread Round the World Race, used to be dominated by Kiwi crews. In the current edition, there are just three New Zealanders competing. Two of those are on Team Alvimedica, the US and Turkish flagged entry. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2015 – Victory in the fourth leg was so close that Dongfeng Race Team skipper Charles Caudrelier (FRA) could almost taste it on Thursday, but with just over 500 nautical miles (nm) to go, he was taking nothing for granted ... [more]  

The 2014-15 Etchells North American Midwinter East Series wraps up in Miami this weekend with the three-day Jaguar Southeastern Midwinter Regatta for the Schoonmaker Cup. The Jag, as the series has become better known, attracted over 50 boats for the four regatta series. ... [more]  

RORC Caribbean 600 – By the morning of day four, 19 yachts had completed the race and 43 yachts were still racing. Last night the lighter southerly wind had switched back to an easterly direction with substantial cloud activity providing changeable conditions for the competitors ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Team Alvimedica hopes to use Coastal Classic tricks *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com NZL
Sail-World’s NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell spoke with David Swete one of three New Zealand crew in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race Swete was reporting in from Team Alvimedica the US and Turkish flagged entry, currently lying in fourth place on leg 4 of the race from Sanya China to Auckand. ... [more]  

Oracle Team USA AC45 Turbo Feb 25 Training images provided by pressure-drop.us. Flat flood conditions and winds 12-18 and then picking up late in the day. Boat is matching the olars established with the AC 72's. ... [more]  

America's Cup: Emirates Team New Zealand gears up on less money *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com NZL
Emirates Team New Zealand has pushed the start button on their campaign for the 35th America's Cup, with a budget that has been reduced by an estimated 20% from the San Francisco campaign. The decision to relocate the Venue for the Match to the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda has resulted in reduced attractiveness to sponsors, which in turn has led to cuts in the program ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2015 – Dongfeng has pulled another mile from Abu Dhabi, and MAPFRE looks like they have been making some good gains on the two leading boats. ... [more]  

AWT Goya Pro Cabo Verde kicks off in style! by American Windsurfing Tour
Last night saw the Opening Party for the Goya Cabo Verde Pro contest here on the beautiful island of Sal. In attendance were some of the biggest names in windsurfing along with local watermen, business men and dignitaries. The true spirit of the American Windsurfing Tour came out in force which was both mirrored and complimented by the spirit of this island ... [more]  

With Cheminées Poujoulat making good progress up the Atlantic, making close to 18kts, 120 miles SW of the Falklands, Cape Horn marks the frontier between the two different worlds inhabited by skippers on the Barcelona World Race. ... [more]  

Emirates Team New Zealand has announced a team restructuring ahead on next week's expected announcement that the Qualifier for the 2017 America's Cup will be held in Auckland. The statement issued by the team early this afternoon, indicates the team has secured substantial funding and sponsorship for its 2017 campaign. ... [more]  

2015 CYC Midwinters Race – Pictures by pressure-drop.us ... [more]  

CYC Midwinters Racing – 'Mid Winter racing is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get' ~Forrest Gump~Skipper of SS Jenny ... [more]  

Laser Standard Men’s World Championships (June 29-July 8), the Laser Masters World Championships (July 10-18), and the Laser Radial Youth World Championships (August 14-20) are being hosted by the CORK. ... [more]  

Kaenon's Steve Rosenberg talks with Team SCA crew members Sally Barkow and Annie Lush before the start of Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race. Both are former Olympic match racers, who have switched to ocean racing. Both are wearing the new prescription Kaenon sunglasses in the 40,000nm race around the world. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2015 – Overnight Ian Walker reported getting ahead of Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng only to have Mother Nature take it all back again, getting caught under a rain cloud in light winds ... [more]  

Barcelona World Race - Mythical, revered, renowned, legendary.....but above all Cape Horn is a time for extra care and caution. While observers and race fans may be poised to share and enjoy the passage of the race leaders Cheminées Poujoulat this Tuesday evening, Swiss co-skipper Bernard Stamm of race leaders Cheminées Poujoulat was clear that there will be little time for celebration ... [more]  

Lloyd Thornburg's MOD 70, Phaedo3 crossed the finish line in Antigua at 20:35:30 AST on Tuesday 24th February 2015 in an elapsed time of 1 day, 9 hours, 35 minutes and 30 seconds. ... [more]  

Barcelona World Race - Cheminées Poujoulat, which has lead the two handed round the world race for 39 days, has passed Cape Horn (67°15 11 W) at 01:00 UTC (02:00 Barcelona time, 22:00 Chilean time). ... [more]  

For the seventh edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 records are predicted to tumble, which has one of the most spectacular line ups of high performance boats racing anywhere in the world. ... [more]  

2015 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship - The Notice of Race for the 2015 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship has been released. Set to be held in Middelfart, Denmark from 8-12 July, the 2015 edition of the Women’s Match Race Worlds will welcome the world’s finest female match racers as they fight for the title. ... [more]  

Asher Otto and Itchy Feet to open up the Caribbean Jam night
RS Sailing and BIC Sport North America team up for sailing programs
RORC Caribbean 600 – Record pace on Day 2
Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup - About to begin
10 tips from BoatUS for owners and renters
Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta – Notice of Race online
2015 CYC Mid Winters images by h20shots
Adventures of a Sailor Girl: News and interviews from February 23 show
Volvo Ocean Race: Ryan Houston looking forward to his Kiwi home
Volvo Ocean Race: Wislang expected to lead Kiwis home after fast ride
Volvo Ocean Race – Now the race to Auckland is truly on
America's Cup: Spooner fails in attempt to have Oracle AC45 arrested
2015 505 Midwinter Championship - Final race
Barcelona World Race – Renault Captur resume, Spirit of Hungary stuck
2015 ISAF Youth Sailing World – Emerging Nations Programme announced
Barcelona World Race - Spirit of Hungary to make surprise pit-stop
US Sailing Match Racing Committee launches The Dial Up Newsletter
JJ Giltinan Trophy: Michael Chittenden's images from Race 7
Volvo Ocean Race – The Doldrums outside the Doldrums
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg 4 Winner expected in Auckland on Saturday
Volvo Ocean Race 2015 – Biggest challenges are around the corner   
86th SCYA Midwinter Regatta - Day 2 overall   
SCYA Midwinter Regatta - Farr 40 and Cal 25 class winners announced   
Barcelona World Race - The Bountiful Horn Beckons for Stamm and Le Cam   
Geelong boat Phoenix wins Sydney 38 National Title   
JJ Giltinan 18 foot Skiff Championship 2015 images by Bruce Kerridge   
Volvo Ocean Race - Leg 4 restart from the Doldrums   
Melges 24 U.S. Championship is enjoying early success   
JJ Giltinan Trophy: Records set as rookie Kiwi crew second in Race 7   
Around Antigua Island Race - Unofficial record   
Miami International Boat Show Innovation Award winners honored   
86th SCYA Midwinter Regatta - Day 1   
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta crew forum - place to find crew or a ride   
J/24 Midwinter Championship - Will Welles’ Cougar hanging on by a claw   
JJ Giltinan Trophy: Watch Race 7 here - Live and then in Replay!   
America's Cup: Oracle Team USA goes out past the Golden Gate + Video   
JJ Giltinan Trophy: Michael Chittenden's images from Race 6   
JJ Giltinan Trophy: Race 6 interviews with Hamlin, Thurlow and Yamaha   
America's Cup: Oracle Team USA report on their new foiler   
JJ Giltinan Trophy: Images from Race 6 by Christophe Favreau   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News





Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT