Brands and products
‘WINNING PORTFOLIO OF GLOBAL BRANDS’
As part of our strategic pillar ‘Winning at the point of purchase’, in 2018 we conducted a thorough qualitative and quantitative consumer survey in the Netherlands, Germany, France, the UK and North America. The survey yielded valuable consumer insights about the use of bicycles in general and the awareness and perception of our own brands and those of our competitors
Based on this survey, we identified new target group segments. We have designated Babboe, Batavus, Haibike, Ghost, Sparta, Lapierre, Koga, Raleigh, Diamondback and Winora as our 10 strategic bicycle brands. We have established a more well-defined and renewed brand positioning for each of these brands, which will provide clear direction for our innovation, marketing and distribution. We subsequently established a new strategic brand portfolio for each of our regions, which has created a solid foundation for the creation of a ‘Winning portfolio of global brands’.
In 2018, we made some fundamental changes to how we organise our operations. We now use a strong outside-on approach and focus more explicitly on consumers. We are moving from a product-driven organisation to an organisation in which the consumer is at the heart of everything we do.
At group level, we have created an umbrella marketing team that uses a modern matrix organisation to manage the local marketing teams on the basis of the new commercial premises. Consumer and dealer insights, data and trend analysis combined with the new brand positioning and the innovation funnel form the basis for all new commercial and marketing activities. We developed plans for 2019 and we are now executing these plans. We will see the impact of these in the course of 2019.
CENTRALISATION OF INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY
In 2018, we integrated the innovation teams that used to be part of our local companies into four umbrella innovation centres, each with a specific area of attention: lifestyle, sports, urban mobility and advanced development.
What this means in effect is that we have combined all the expertise that was available within the group and all this know-how is now available to all our brands. We have streamlined the structure of the organisation and professionalised innovation processes, which has created a strong platform for cooperation with marketing, supply chain and the regions.
As part of this transition, we have developed a new and advanced innovation policy that spearheads a new design philosophy, the application of smart technology and the introduction of breakthrough innovations. The new Innovation & Technology team now reports to the Chief Commercial Officer, which emphasises the importance of innovation to the company and also safeguards a rapid decision-making process.
FEWER INNOVATIONS, MORE IMPACT
Our collections have expanded enormously in recent years and this meant that we needed to conduct a thorough analysis. By making a fresh and more critical assessment of our collections based on various critical aspects (such as turnover, margin, rotation on the shop floor, production efficiency, procurement and availability), we concluded in 2018 that there is enormous potential for streamlining on this front.
On that basis, we have drawn up new plans and established processes with a strong emphasis on the drastic reduction of the number of models with a clear structure per brand, the availability of the right models for the dealers and consumers in every sales channel and on the overall reduction of innovations, but with more consumer-driven innovations. We expect this to deliver a strong impetus to our sales and to also generate procurement, working capital and supply chain benefits. This approach also creates the opportunity for us to have a major impact on the sustainability front, by integrating this focal point in our processes: from design to final product and service.
CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIETY
In 2018, we once again contributed our thoughts and ideas in various areas on the creation of new, clean and safe mobility solutions, and we once again invested over € 1.0 million in the promotion and support for social causes. We would like to note that this amount also includes 30% of our professional sports sponsoring. After all, creating sports heroes stimulates people to take up sports themselves.
We maintain an active dialogue and are affiliated with various national and international organisations, industry associations, and initiatives specifically aimed at promoting health, safety and sustainable mobility. These include the World Federation of Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI), the European Cyclist Federation (ECF) and the European umbrella organisation Conebi, which includes the Dutch RAI Vereniging, the Univelo in France and ZIV in Germany. One very clear example of our contribution to society is our support for World Bicycle Relief, a non-profit organisation that distributes bicycles in developing countries as a (free) mode of transport, to give people access to education, healthcare and jobs.