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Brand Loyalty

Poll Results: How loyal are you (assuming you are satisfied with current ski):

 
  • 5% (5)
    I will ski current brand unless the manufacturer goes out of business or is aquired.
  • 26% (23)
    If all factors are relatively equal, I would prefer to stick with current brand.
  • 66% (57)
    When it's time to upgrade skis, all brands need to compete for my business, may the best ski win.
  • 1% (1)
    I consciously switch manufacturers each time I buy new skis.
86 Total Votes  
post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
My wife and I were discussing brand loyalty the other night. I told her that I am not loyal to any brand (except for my Camel Lights - gross I know, but at least I am loyal to product), but I would like to be. She said she'd stick with Dynastar skis in all likelihood. Which made me come up with the idea for this poll.

How loyal are you to your brand of ski equipment (let's focus on skis for simplicity):
post #2 of 26
Thread Starter 
This is absolutely amazing. If these results show anything, it's that there is zero loyalty in this sport, a sport that should be replete with loyalty. From my standpoint, I've only seen one company that has taken a creative approach to this "problem" ... Fischer. With each purchas of a 04/05 Fischer ski, the buyer gets six free rentals of Fischer products if they ski elsewhere (e.g., if you bought the RX for the East Coast and then took a trip to Park City, you could get free Big Stix for a week). That's brilliant.

I think ski manufacturers should take a lesson from car manufacturers. BMW, for example, invites its customers to drive school (Saab tried it too). Give added value that enables the customer to deepen affinity with the brand and derive more value from the product.

Ski manufacturers should take a lesson from BMW. Sure their products are closer to 1000 bucks than 30,000 bucks, so every new ski buyer couldn't get a free ski weekend or anything, but look at what Fischer did. That costs them very little, but they stand to gain a lot.

Shoot I should come up with specific recommendations and sell them to ski companies.
post #3 of 26
I wonder how integrated binding systems may effect this poll.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Excellent point andrew. IBS (not irrital bowel syndrome) effectively FORCES loyalty, so it's not loyalty at all. I would prefer that ski makers did something to create a bond between skier and manufacturer, rather than handcuff a buyer to more products.
post #5 of 26
A particular binding would have to basically be recall-level dangerous-defective to prevent me from buying a ski that requires that binding. From a business standpoint, I think integrated bindings make sense, unfortunately. All major binding brands make products that dwell withing the same, VERY narrow range of efficacy, performance and quality at this point. They can all get away with holding their skis hostage to their own bindings precisely *because* we choose our skis much more subjectively than our bindings. I'm not sure on what level brand loyalty for skis makes any real sense. Warranty? Resale value? Quality control? Identity marketing? A really bad warranty policy would be a reason to avoid a brand if the technology were new or there were significant quality control issues but lacking those two concerns then who cares enough about warranty to base a purchase decision of a medium-ticket item with a limited practical life on it? I say practical life because we're general fickle enough to see most skis work themselves to the bottom of the quiver long before we beat them to death. Does anyone select a ski based on resale value? A $900 October ski is a $350 ski *new* the following April. Quality control might be a resaon to avoid a brand but that's a lot narrower than a reason to choose a brand. Identity marketing? No question that "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" has been working to Atomic's good. No question that all those park and pipe skis look like they do for a good reason. I sense that most of us ursine skiers are decidedly non-ovine.

We *are* markedly price-sensative. We tend to ask a lot of questions and demo, demo, demo. We know what we weigh, how we ski, and what we want a ski to behave like for a given terrain or condition. The fact that we appreciate innovation is a BIG factor here. If a manufacturor builds a better mousetrap we're paying attention.
post #6 of 26
VOLKL, VOLKL, VOLKL, Atomic there are only two brands. Well maybe three, K2 seems to have winner with the Burnin Luv.
post #7 of 26
I can't say I'm brand loyal at all.
In the past 6 years I've owned Dynastar, K2, Atomic & Volkl.
I've had positive experiences with all.
I've never needed company assistance for warranty work so I can't use that as a distinguishing feature.
All these skis performed nicely, albeit differently. None was "better" than the other given the intended use.
I'd jump to a different brand in a second if they had a product that better suited my needs at the moment.

I don't particularly care for hostage bindings, but it wouldn't sway me from a purchase either.
post #8 of 26
I am not especially loyal to a particular brand. What I do is narrow it down to skis that I would accept buying, and then proceed according to my loyalty to CHEAP.

However, I am loyal to a couple of shops that have treated me well.
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by RotoFury
She said she'd stick with Dynastar skis in all likelihood.
Smart wife you've got there!
post #10 of 26
My brand loyalty for skis is due more to happen-chance and continually high quality skis made my Volkl. I was on the U.S. Militarys ski patrol in Garmisch Germany in 74-75 and we were able to get the old Renn Tigers pretty inexpensively. They were a hit even back then and when I got back to the states I kept skiing them. I have skied many other brands, but I keep coming back to Volkl. I just bought a pair of Six Stars and am looking forward seeing how they ski. I've heard lots of good things about them.

Cheers
post #11 of 26
I own a pair of SL:11s (I'm a High School slalom racer), and while this is my first year on them I can definitely imagine myself coming back to Atomics in the future for race skis. I really like their stiffness and edge hold. When I try my old Rossignols I feel like I'm going to fall down when I carve, although admittedly I may have tuned those poorly a few times.
post #12 of 26
I used to buy whatever: Rossi's, Dynastar, K2's, etc. Then, after regreting my purchase of K2 X-15's (felt like they had no edges at all), I discovered Volkl and Atomic. Wowzah! The real deal.

Every model I tried from these brands made me feel invincible - killer edge-hold and rock-solid stability. I'm now a Volkl-Atomic poster boy.

Recently, more Atomics have seduced me, and likely shall again due to the magic of Metrons.

Loyalty is a function of security and self-interest.
post #13 of 26
I have been w/ Volant for the past 10 years, Dynastar for 3 before that and Salomon 5 before that. I am putting my wears up for bid at this point. I am really leaning to Atomic with the Metron.
post #14 of 26
Your poll got me thinking and made me realize that I have switched brands every time I've gotten new skis my entire life except once as a teenager. I've been through K2, Kastle, Volkl, Dynastar, Salomon, Rossignol, and now Atomic. I'd say that equates to zero brand loyalty, although I never specifically avoided any brand I currently owned when I went for new skis. I'm quite happy with my Atomics, so I would definitely look to them again, but there are brands I haven't had (Elan, Fischer, Head) that interest me, so I may end up switching again. Everything depends on circumstances at time of purchase (price, availability, demos, etc.)
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
I think this topic is fascinating. Most "big ticket" companies work incredibly hard to retain customers. There are loads of statistics that indicate that acquiring a new customer costs some rediculous multiple of keeping an existing one, yet I can only think of one company (Fischer, see above) that has done anything creative to retain their customers. Simply amazing.
post #16 of 26
I was once loyal to Dynastar I had the Omeglass and then 2-pairs of the Omeglass II's. Then for a while I was a K2 man. TRC's and KVC's. Now I'm on Salomons but I don't feel any brand loyalty yet.

Now let's talk boots. I'm still using some 15-year old Lange TII's and they are ready to be traded in. They have fit me so well that I will definately try on a new pair of Lange boots before any other brand.
post #17 of 26
Let's see:
Rossignol DV Cruise
-Salomon Snowblades (skiboards)
K2 Black Magic
-Fischer Spyders (skiboards)
K2 Axis X Pro
K2 Seth Pistol (still own)
Salomon 3V (currently for sale)
Head iXRC 1100 (mmm )

I am a bit more brand loyal with my poles - for all but the first pair of skis, I've had K2 poles. (OK, so it's only been 2 pairs of poles, but still)
post #18 of 26
There are just to many good skis out there now to be stuck on one brand. i presently own valants, K2s and atomics. Out of the skis i have demoed this season I really like the Dynastar 8000 and volkl5/6 star Still looking for an Elan 666 to demo.
Roto fury Your thoughts on retaining customer loyality are interesting. Auto companies strive to lock a buyer into there brand. they offer special deals to customer whpo already own thier cars and work hard to get young first time auto buyers into thier cars. Ski companies could do the same for at a very small cost.
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Utah,

Your comments are exactly what I was thinking when I posted this thread. I think there is a real opportunity for creative marketers to work with ski manufacturers on a loyalty program. Heck it could be as simple as the mfr. setting up a website with discounted lift tickets, gear and outerwear. Each new ski comes with a sticker, and on the reverse of the sticker is a username/password that allows access to these deals. Or buyers give email addresses. The mfr. sends a survey to better profile who buys their equipment and why -- to help with future advertising/marketing/promotions -- and all of those who reply to the survey, are put into a drawing for X# of ski vacations. Etc. Etc. Those are pretty obvious ideas, not as clever as Fischer's, but I think there is a cottage industry here for smart marketers.
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
Incidentally, I just sent my poll to a friend who was the president of a $600 million advertising firm. He's a very known guy in marketing/advertising for big consumer brands (Coke, Tide, etc.).

Anyway, here's his reply, very insightful!

Ski manufacturers are constantly trying to one-up each other by continuously introducing new advancements, performance improvements, etc, Consequently, the consumer thinks it's more of a badge to own/be associated with the latest innovation than be associated with a particular brand image. Therefore, no brand loyalty..but temporary loyalty to the latest gimmick. In a way, the manufacturers have been their own worst enemy.
post #21 of 26
I am of the opinion that the actual ski being used is largely irrelevant to the bulk of the skier population, provided that they stick to skis that target their skill level and are the right length. eg. no WC race stock for beginners, 158 cm sticks for 300 pounders.

Interesting that there was no price component -- like "cheapest ski that does the job". Some folks may be consider that to be "best".
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by RotoFury
Incidentally, I just sent my poll to a friend who was the president of a $600 million advertising firm. He's a very known guy in marketing/advertising for big consumer brands (Coke, Tide, etc.).

Anyway, here's his reply, very insightful!

Ski manufacturers are constantly trying to one-up each other by continuously introducing new advancements, performance improvements, etc, Consequently, the consumer thinks it's more of a badge to own/be associated with the latest innovation than be associated with a particular brand image. Therefore, no brand loyalty..but temporary loyalty to the latest gimmick. In a way, the manufacturers have been their own worst enemy.

I think I covered that.
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
You did?
post #24 of 26
Roto Kep in mind that tose of us that post here and at other ski web sites area small minority. We are skiers witha passion. Volant use to set up demo days at major resorts across the country They had an amazing sales record from thier demo days. Yet the cost of selling that way was high. With point of sale scanning and a sound marketing program. A ski company could increase thier market share. With all these small up and coming ski companies There has got to be one or two brands that are hungry. I better get back to work so i cn get a few runs in today.
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by RotoFury
You did?
"The fact that we appreciate innovation is a BIG factor here. If a manufacturor builds a better mousetrap we're paying attention."
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
Ahh I see ... you just hid it a little in all the other text. Your overlap was, of course, only one small sliver of what my friend was saying.
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