After weathering the “great recession,” a major outdoor business undertook an organization restructuring to put the emphasis back on its core brand assets, moving from a shared resource platform to business unit platform focused on its brands to accelerate growth and gain market share. There was a dire need by the then-current president to revitalize a 40-year-old company that was stagnant and lacked clear accountability. Some of the symptoms were stagnant year-over-year sales growth, inconsistent product innovation, lack of clear brand strategies, poor level of service, escalating overhead costs, deteriorating margins, and lack of employee engagement.
The new Senior Vice President/GM, who is now a NextLevel partner, was selected to lead one of the three newly established business units to forge a new phase of growth. His success leading this initiative would later translate to him overseeing all three business units as COO to implement change across the entire organization. The undertaking was significant as no established structure existed and the need to achieve results quickly was pressing.
He first redefined roles and responsibilities to create a new reporting structure to encourage teamwork, facilitate cross-department collaboration and improve accountability as part of clearly defined business unit and department objectives, goals and metrics. He also worked to create a new product development process utilizing a stage gate system and emphasizing small agile decision-making teams. This helped to crystalize the brand’s vision and mission to establish a foundation for growth. The company also implemented a new omni-channel sales strategy moving from a traditional wholesale platform to a consumer first model and moved from a North American-centric brand to a broader reaching global brand taking into account customer nuances in different markets. The company was able to transition marketing activities from a traditionally wholesale-supported model to build out a digital ecosystem of consumer engagement, and employed a SKU optimization program to reduce SKU’s, enhance margins and reduce excess inventory.
- Topline sales grew from $41 million to $69 million during a four-year period
- European sales grew from $6 million to $18 million during a four-year period
- Product launch efficiency improved from 50 percent of new SKU’s delivered on time to greater than 93 percent
- Of the six outdoor product categories in which the brand competed, the brand gained market leadership in four and would be in the top three in every category
- Recognized by Sporting Goods Intelligence as one of the top 10 most recognized outdoor brands and the only hardgoods brand in the top 10
- Went from zero followers in all social media channels to averaging over 100 thousand followers in each of the core social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
- Margins increased 300 basis points
- Went from representing 33 percent of the company’s revenues to greater than 50 percent, while becoming the largest brand in the company’s portfolio