Jul 10, 2013
Why do we need brand names for outdoor sports?
The Outdoor Journal
Before you read, remember this: Independent editorial isn't free. If you enjoy this article, please consider our message at the end of this article and support our journalism so we can keep going.
Out in the wilderness or up on the mountains, if you don’t want to risk your safety, go for tested and approved equipment from the world’s top makers
Brands know how to transform a ‘need’ into a ‘want’ with attractive elements of desire and novelty. That’s marketing. Marketing can’t save our lives, but products can. We’ve interviewed our friends in the outdoor industry- people we’ve worked with at other European and American publications; people we trust; people we run, climb, ski and sail with.
“Our brand’s heritage of high quality and craftsmanship stems from the high alpine environment, where extreme weather necessitates high-performing products,” says Jo Salamon, Media and Communications Manager at Canadian brand Arc’teryx. Premium brands invest in research, development and quality fabrics so that their products give access to high-performance technologies that protect you in all weather conditions.
“When we participate in outdoor activities, we can’t afford to have product failures. We turn to brands that have a heritage of proven performance because we know the products will perform as promised: waterproof, breathable, durable and functional,” says Topher Gaylord, ultra-runner and President of San Francisco–based companies Mountain Hardwear and Montrail.
“Outdoors are hostile environments if you don’t wear appropriate gear,” says Eric Yung, Europe Marketing Director of Polartec, an East Coast firm in the USA. “When you buy a product with our logo on it, you’re buying reliability and safety that have decades of scientific research and development behind them.” That’s why labels like Polartec, GORE-TEX and Vibram— which outperform most non-label products— work with only premium brands. “A high-quality outdoor product is like cheap life insurance,” says Gaylord.
Today, products are tested on new sports like ski alpinism, trail-running and raid multi sports. “For more than 45 years, TNF have had athletes out there constantly pushing boundaries of product testing in extreme conditions and expeditions, and they’ve been giving feedback to our internal development teams so that consumers can benefit from that complex expertise,” says Eric Pansier, Vice President- Marketing at The North Face EMEA.
As outdoors men, we also strive to protect our playground: the environment. “This outdoor spirit extends to social conditions in which the products are manufactured today,” says Raphaël Vieux, Collections and Marketing Director at Lafuma, a French brand that, like other quality brands, regularly audits its factories for social and environmental compliance and strives to lessen its products’ environmental impact.
Image © Apoorva Prasad