Ski maker Rossignol reorganizes
Ski and snow sports equipment maker Rossignol Ski Co. Inc. announced a restructuring to focus its efforts for better operational execution, according to Ski Racing Journal
Rossignol named Tait Wardlaw to the position of vice president of marketing and communications. He was previously VP of brand and sports marketing for Rossingnol’s Dynastar and Lange brands.
The company also announced Jason Newell as director of racing. He was previously director of sports marketing and strategic partnerships for the Rossignol brand. Newell will retain those responsibilities, as well as adding all sports marketing functions for the company’s other brands.
Additionally, Rossignol named Matt Rihm as team manager for all brands. He was most recently a marketing and promotions representative for Rossignol’s intermountain territory unit.
Park City, Utah-based Rossignol makes, markets and sells ski equipment and other snow sports related items, including: skis, snowboards, clothing, safety equipment and other accessories. Founded in 1907, the company is a subsidiary of Rossignol SA, headquartered in France.
Wardlaw told WinmoEdge the reorganization is to allow Rossignol
to become more efficient and streamlined.
“Restructuring efforts going on reflect aspects about the costs of sales and marketing, including the overall overhead, and fixed costs going into our business plan,” he said.
He said Rossignol does not have as much interest in being a huge company as in years past.
“We’re less concerned with being big, and more about finding the right economy fit and scales of profitability,” he said. “That will mean producing less, with a smaller market share than we had five years ago, but it will be a greater net (profit) margin. From a marketing point of view, we’re identifying a business model that speaks to capturing the sweet spot of net margin per unit, and tailoring all our efforts to achieve that. ”
Wardlaw said Rossignol is no longer trying to be a multi-season, wide ranging apparel brand. He said there is a refocus on the core-consumer that is a skier or a snowboarder, and the products that appeal to that target audience.
He said his position of marketing and brand management will include ensuring the company steers its brands and products to achieve this philosophy, and that all sales and marketing efforts stay on message with “product emphasis”.
Newell will be in charge of sports marketing and partnerships. Wardlaw said Newell will oversee all activities within the competitive aspects and promotions.
A large part of Rossignol’s marketing efforts include sponsoring with products and sometimes paying athletes. Wardlaw said Olympic skier Lindsey Vohn has been “the Girl”, and the biggest draw around the world for alpine skiing events. He said a superstar athlete like Vohn using and having great success with Rossignol’s equipment is a great way to get the product in front of fans that typically are very into the sport, and participate themselves. He said it’s an audience that is likely to be interested in purchasing similar products.
“Sports marketing is a big job,” Wardlaw said. “We use these guys to promote our products, and we need to hone it in and make sure this use is tailored to be effective.”
In addition to its promotional efforts, Rossignol also uses some traditional advertising to reach its potential customers.
“We primarily use endemic, ski-oriented press, to advertise our brands,” he said. “Skiing is a very small business with a viral capacity. We don’t generally advertise in mass media when there are other things we can do to be more effective.”
Wardlaw said the company has adjusted its business model and marketing plans to meet current economic conditions.
“If all you do is cut back and make a smaller version of what you already do, you aren’t getting any further ahead. It’s about identifying things that are more effective and less expensive,” he said.
He said Rossignol has worked with outside agencies in the past, and would be open to doing so again.
“I’d be interested when an agency can come to me and say ‘Here’s an interesting incremental way to work together, based on results or traffic, and get paid off the top through tracking,’” he said.
Wardlaw said because of the nature of the ski industry’s small business it would not be worthwhile to discuss any major mass media advertising campaigns with traditional or large agencies. He said he is happy to listen to offers of help through a viral, targeted way that can effectively reach Rossignol’s audience of snow sport enthusiast that are likely to care about products more than any branding or apparel name.
Rossignol Ski Co. Inc.
1413 Center Drive
Park City, UT 84098
Vice President, Marketing Communications
Director, Sports Marketing & Strategic Partnerships