ECCO 50th Anniversary April, 2013
To celebrate ECCO’s 50 years of passionate shoemaking, Mullen took to media and social channels to help tell the brand story. Here’s the program outline:
Disseminated a video news release over PR newswire that reached: o 5,548 total views o 80.7 million impressions o 240 file downloads (top download – Omak imagery)
Conducted outreach to national business, trade and long lead fashion press
Conducted outreach and MIND seeding to short lead online, bloggers and cluster market contacts
Leveraged ECCO USA’s social platforms to distribute 50th branded content
Created a Love Your Leather social sweepstakes that earned a recordbreaking 34,000 entries
Total Clips: 17 Total Impressions: 29,242,125 Totals as of 5/22/13
VOLUME 5, NUMBER 14 APRIL 8, 2013
INSIDE: Global Equipment sales grow on strength in cycling, firearms. John Horan’s Deep Intelligence Looks at retailers’ Cap-Ex spending in 2013. Billabong suitors are now playing limbo stick to see how low they can go. March Madness boosts collegiate licensing market. Stricter gun control measures are passed in Connecticut and Maryland. Yue Yuen grows profits on higher ASPs despite capacity drop. Lululemon fires product czar following Luon fabric recall. Shoe Carnival net is flat and it is cautious on spring with cold temps. Canada grants C$76 million in tax relief on sporting goods. Judy Spies: ECCO. Dick’s Sporting Goods Foot Locker Golf Etc. Golfsmith Hibbett Sport Chalet U.S. Golf rounds Fila G-III Apparel Good Sports Hopkins Golf Louisville Slugger Q1 winners and losers Superfeet Nike REI. This month, ECCO is turning 50. Since it was founded in 1963, the Danish shoe manufacturer has produced more than 350 million pairs. It is also the only major footwear maker to own and manage every step of its process, from tanneries and production to stores. To learn about the brand’s new global campaign and key growth strategies, visit the new product department. Photo courtesy of ECCO.
INDUSTRY NEWS AND ANALYSIS FOR RETAILERS From the Editorial Team of Sporting Goods Intelligence
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Meanwhile, over at Columbia Sportswear, the focus continues to be on innovation, with the goal of transforming the company into a brand for all seasons. Toward this end, Columbia is kicking off its Omni-Freeze ZERO campaign, the largest summer marketing initiative in its history. The effort, which supports the company’s new sweat-activated cooling technology, includes a multichannel effort with ESPN, as well as an experiential U.S. tour. For more info, check out the Video of the Week. As always, you can count on us to bring you the latest news and events from around the industry, so go ahead and start clicking! Judy Leand Editor March 18
SGI Weekly Intelligence is published by Sporting Goods Intelligence, Inc. 442 Featherbed Lane, Glen Mills, PA 19342.
This month, Danish shoemaker ECCO is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Since it was founded in 1963, the company has produced more than 350 million pairs and is the only major footwear manufacturer to own and manage every step of its process, from tanneries and production to stores. Although the family-owned brand is the world’s second-largest maker of casual footwear, it sees itself not as a giant, corporate machine, but as a company of shoemakers with a long heritage and tradition of quality and craftsmanship. You’ll find all the details about ECCO’s global anniversary campaign and future growth plans in Judy Spies.
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For a company to be successful over the long haul, it’s not enough to merely be large or inventive. There must also be unwavering zeal and enthusiasm surrounding the products, processes and corporate mission. In this issue, we highlight two such examples.
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John Horan Publisher email@example.com 610-459-4040 Judy Leand Editor firstname.lastname@example.org 718-858-2354 Bob McGee Managing Editor email@example.com 508-279-3060
APRIL 8, 2013
ECCO’S SHOEMAKING PASSION IS BUILT TO LAST This month, the Danish shoe manufacturer, which also happens to be the world’s second-largest maker of casual footwear, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Since being founded by Karl Toosbuy in 1963, ECCO has produced upwards of 350 million pairs and now boasts 20,000 employees. The company also operates more than 4,000 branded sales locations in 94 countries. Just as significantly, ECCO is the only major footwear vendor to own and manage every step of its process, from tanneries and production to stores, which is what has made the company so sustainable. Although the half-century milestone certainly qualifies as a fitting occasion for a big public celebration, ECCO is taking a lower-key approach by launching a global campaign that highlights its tradition and heritage as a company of shoemakers. ECCO’s 50th anniversary initiative is slated to run through April and includes print and online components (but no TV ads), along with in-store elements designed primarily for ECCO retail doors and other branded space
In 1963, ECCO established its first
APRIL 8, 2013
“The culture of ECCO is very different from other brands,” explained David Helter, Sales Director Sport Specialty for ECCO USA. “It’s a big company with a small-company mentality, especially in its treatment of employees. It’s all about making the brand better, not about pleasing Wall Street. It’s very refreshing. As a private, family-owned business, ECCO doesn’t need to be the biggest or richest—the goal is to be as good as we can be.”
such as shop-in-shops. Kicking off this week is a Facebook sweepstakes called “Love Your Leather” that celebrates ECCO’s leather-making process and offers consumers a chance to win a different leather product each day of the contest. Internally, the company is marking its birthday with internal publications, including a book, as well as a global conference scheduled for July at its headquarters in Denmark.
Toward that end, the company intends to “celebrate its past with an innovative twist,” said David Quel, President of ECCO USA. “Although Danish culture is very humble, we want people to know that we’ve been making shoes for a long time and we’re proud of our results. We want to continue to be leaders in direct injection technology, and to provide stylish, functional shoes in all categories. We want to deliver innovation across all product groups.” t shoe factory in Bredebro, Denmark.
APRIL 8, 2013
On the casual comfort side, the object is to put a modern twist on old favorites such as the iconic Joke model that first hit the market in 1978. “We just launched a new, limited edition of the Joke for global distribution that has moccasin construction, injection molding and funky colors,” noted Felix Zahn, Product Director of ECCO America. “We want to continue to grow and build our style business by giving the footwear a more modern look and feel, but without sacrificing comfort.” The men’s BIOM Zero minimal golf shoe (SRP $190) has a zero drop heel to bring players close to the ground. Direct injection sole construction provides maximum flexibility, and a BIOM anatomical last promotes natural foot position.
In the U.S., key growth areas include the women’s market as well as the golf and outdoor categories. “Within the past 12 months [the U.S.] has gotten a lot of focus from Denmark,” said Helter. “The Asian market is slowing down, and the U.S. is becoming a bigger piece of the business. Right now, the U.S. market accounts for 20 percent of ECCO’s global business, and in the golf category the U.S. market comprises 50 percent.” He added, “We’ve seen dramatic growth in golf and ECCO now has the #4 spot in the U.S. golf footwear market.” In fact, Helter pointed out that four million pairs of golf shoes are sold in the U.S. each year, and
APRIL 8, 2013
The men’s BIOM Evo Racer running shoe (SRP $130 textile, shown here; SRP $150 leather) provides an anatomical last, unlined uppers, and direct injection sole construction for natural movement.
680,000 of those pairs carry a retail price above $150. ECCO currently has a 53 percent share of that premium market.
“We believe we can grow organically in premier offcourse golf retailers and there’s also lots of potential in green grass shops, so we plan to push hard in the next two to three years,” said Helter. “Part of our strategy in golf is to open up the brand one or two price points below what it
The men’s BIOM Hike (SRP $235) includes low-profile construction for a natural feel, anatomical 3D foam for comfort and fit, and a rounded heel and forefoot for a smoother and more natural push-off and heel strike.
APRIL 8, 2013
is now [extending down into the $120 to $140 retail price range], which would double our market potential.” Regarding golf footwear trends, he believes that “the minimalist category is exploding.” As evidence, Helter reported that during the PGA Merchandise Show that took place in late January, ECCO sold out its full U.S. allocation of minimalist golf shoes on the first day.
The men’s BIOM Terrain (SRP $215) features low-to-the-ground construction for increased stability and responsiveness.
In the performance realm, ECCO is gaining momentum in U.S. athletic and sport specialty retail—especially in the outdoor side of the business where the brand’s consumers tend to be younger than in the dress and casual categories. “Our strategy is to reach our consumers through the best and most premium retailers in the market on both the sports and comfort sides,” said Quel. “Our plan isn’t to be mass distributed or to have the lowest price points; we want the product to be sold at premium price points in premium outlets.” In the outdoor market, ECCO is focusing on key retailers such as REI and EMS, as well as grassroots outdoor specialty shops.
APRIL 8, 2013
The women’s BIOM Evo Trainer textile (SRP $150) has a technical textile upper with an integrated fit frame system and anatomical collar that provide foot support and a sock-like fit.
Internationally, Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific represent ECCO’s largest growth markets. “Asia Pacific is our fastest-growing region, and those consumers tend to be younger and more focused on premium and luxury brands,” said Quel. “We are very well established in Western Europe, particularly Scandinavia and Holland, and are seeing moderate growth there. Eastern Europe, including Russia and Ukraine, have huge potential, and in North America, the U.S. is still a big growth market.”
The women’s BIOM Ultra (SRP $160) includes an anatomical tongue and collar, a reinforced support cage, and a slim and flexible sole construction that encourages a natural stride.
Overall, said Zahn, “We want to present a unified brand message and experience while also developing specific shoes for specific regions, along with bigger collections for each market. Global alignment is a big initiative for ECCO.”
APRIL 8, 2013
JUDY SPIES... PAGE 30
According to Quel, the key to ECCO’s ongoing success and longevity depends upon smart growth. “We don’t want to do anything negative to the brand,” he said. “For the U.S., we want to get the product just right for the market. Making a product that resonates with consumers is our biggest challenge and our biggest opportunity.” Click here to learn more about ECCO’s heritage.
APRIL 8, 2013
ISSUE 1316 APRIL 22, 2013
The Weekly Digital Magazine for the Sporting Goods Industry
Ecco Celebrates By Thomas J. Ryan
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n 1963, Karl Toosbuy sold all of his belongings and left his job in Copenhagen to pursue his dreams in the field of shoemaking. Taking along his wife Birte and their five-year-old daughter, Hanni, Toosbuy arrived in Bredebro and took over a vacant factory that eventually became the first home of Ecco. Since then, more than 350 million pairs of Ecco shoes have been sold. Anchored in a heritage of functionality, quality and craftsmanship on the platform of Scandinavian design, the Danish shoe manufacturer has become the world’s second largest manufacturer of casual footwear, and over the last decade with its
Toosbuy wanted make shoes that lasted longer and enabled people to move naturally. In 1978, the Ecco Joke launched to become the brand’s first breakout shoe. Following Toosbuy’s principles around making shoes Michael Hauge Sorensen, to follow the function of the Ecco's chief operating foot, the iconic style stood out officer in the marketplace at the time for its flexibility, lightness and comfort. With the Joke, Ecco also became the first shoe manufacturer to stamp the name and logo of a company on the soles – literally making Ecco able to leave footprints around the world.
Ecco Joke, relaunched by Ecco, was the first shoe to carry the company logo on the sole.
Hanni Toosbuy Kasprzak is owner and chairman of $1.3 billion (sales) Danish shoe manufacturer, Ecco, founded by her late father in 1963. The brand, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, can be found in more than 1,000 stores in more than 90 countries.
Biom platform has increasingly been making noise on the performance side. Ecco is still owned by the Toosbuy family fifty years later and is home to 19,500 employees worldwide. “We see the changes around us every day and recognize that Ecco has an inherited obligation to stay competitive and innovative,” said Michael Hauge Sørensen, Ecco’s chief operating officer, who has headed the company over the past two years. “Five decades of shoemaking obliges.” At first, however, Toosbuy started out making women’s fashion shoes, pretty much like everyone else in the industry at the time.He soon broke with industry tradition after deciding that the shoe must follow the foot – not the other way around. Toosbuy wanted to make shoes that did not need to be broken in and delivering uncompromising comfort soon became a mantra for the brand. At the same time,
Strong sellers in the Ecco Free and Ecco Time soon followed, but the brand’s biggest seller in its history arrived in 1981 with the introduction of the Ecco Soft.The shoe’s design benefited from Toosbuy’s purchase of Ecco’s first molding machine. With the technology, Ecco could mold soles right onto shoe uppers in one simple process. With advances over the years, Ecco has become a pioneer in Direct Injection Technology (DIT), where the upper is placed into the mold, and liquid polyurethane (PU) is injected to shape an anatomically correct outsole. The process provides the strongest way to attach Ecco Free
APRIL 22, 2013 | SGBWeekly.com
the sole to the upper, forms a watertight seal without using glue or stitching, and also offers lightweight and flexibility advantages. It’s the core technology supporting the anatomical fit of its Biom series that established the brand in performance categories. But it all started with the Soft which in the early eighties delivered massive sales throughout Scandinavia and increased interest from the rest of Europe with the molding technique representing the beginning of a new generation of lightweight and comfortable shoes. The Soft remains a steady seller for the brand today. “Ecco Soft was the beginning of a new generation of products and the start-up of our innovative production technology that revolutionized shoe manufacturing,” said Ejnar Truelsen, who designed both the Soft and the Joke and remains Ecco’s chief designer today. “I believe the Ejnar Truelsen, Ecco chief designer 18 SGBWeekly.com | APRIL 22, 2013
Ecco Soft has become a classic due to its timeless lines combined with its simplicity.” During the eighties, Ecco also ran counter to an industry embracing outsourcing by taking even greater control of its production. In 1986, Ecco began producing its own leather and now counts four leather production units in The Netherlands, Indonesia, Thailand and China. A few years later in 1991, Ecco built a factory and tannery in Indonesia, which became its largest production unit with more than 5,500 employees. Factories and tanneries soon opened in Thailand, Slovakia and Xiamen, China to support Ecco’s global growth. With the two moves, Ecco now stands as the only major shoe manufacturer in the world to own and manage every step of the shoemaking process from tanneries to stores. The positioning provides the company with enviable control of product quality as well as the quality of all production processes and their social and environmental impact. While many processes at its factories have been automated, Ecco also recognizes that the key to shoe making remains the handcraft, which is time-consuming and demanding. Still today, each pair of Ecco shoes are touched by 210 pairs of hands before they reach the consumer. Such attention to detail is a hallmark of the Scandinavian design philosophy, honored for its impeccable craftsmanship, elegant simplicity and functionality. Scandinavian design first came to the fore in the 1950s with the arrival of furniture design legends such as Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl and Josef Frank, but Ecco’s long mission has been to bring a similar aesthetic to shoes. “It is not the cheapest or easiest way to produce, but it is sustainable and functional,” said Niki Tæstensen, lead designer of women’s shoes at Ecco. “In ten years it’s still workable. If you ask me, that’s the essence of Scandinavian design.” The nineties marked the opening of its first office in the U.S., which has since become Ecco’s largest selling country. By 1996, its first flagship store opened on London’s Oxford Street to signify the brand’s transition from being a wholesaler to also being a retailer. In 2011, Ecco store number 1,000 opened at the Mall of America in Minneapolis.
Ecco's chief designer of women's shoes, Niki Tæstensen
In 2003, the innovation engine again kicked in with the introduction of the Ecco Shark, followed a few years later with its revolutionary Biom technology that has helped Ecco gain a foothold on running walls. Ecco’s Performance division was first launched in 2001 with Ecco’s Receptor technology. Erik Wolcott, director of Sport division for Ecco USA, said Ecco started off on the performance side using third-party factories and Eva midsoles like many in the athletics space. But the brand soon began bringing production more in-house and utilizing its Direct Injection expertise. The result is the Biom Series, which started off in run in 2009 but has since expanded to hike, trail, golf, sports sandals and lifestyle. Combining Ecco’s years of experience studying the bare foot with the Ecco-owned production line from beginning to end and several years of close collaboration with the German Sports Institute of Cologne, the Biom Project first started in the mid-nineties well before the minimalist movement arrived with a similar goal of trying to enable the body to absorb impact the way nature designed it. Lightweight and extremely flexible, Biom shoes are positioned between the very minimal shoes in the marketplace and conventional running shoes with an anatomical last designed to allow the foot to move as nature intended. “We make running shoes not because we have to, but because we believe we have something to offer runners,” said Truelsen. For Fall 2013, Ecco is replacing the original Biom A, B and C run series with the Biom Evo Racer and Biom Evo Trainer. The second generation of Biom features a new last shape based upon 2,500 foot scans of runners. The front of the last remains the same but a narrower heel and a more sculpted midsole lends itself to a snug fit and feeds more flexibility. A slimmer overall construction, including a lower heel drop, and a super-lightweight polyurethane compound helps reduce the weight of the shoe while also enabling Ecco to sharply lower Biom’s overall price points. Prices range from $130 for Ecco Shark
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synthetic uppers to $150 for yak leather, down from a range of $175 to $220 previously. Wolcott said the Ecco line, which will still be positioned in the premium part of the running segment, should benefit going forward as consumers have shown more of a willingness over the past year to pay over $100 for a quality running shoe. While key accounts such as Luke’s Locker and Boulder Running Company found some success with the original Biom run series, the reduced prices with the Evo Racer and Evo Trainer are also attracting a wider crowd. Erik Wolcott, Added Wolcott, “The redirector of Sport division ception is definitely getting for Ecco better. The number one issue had been the prices so the lowered range is definitely opening up some eyes.” Wolcott also said dealers continue to respond to the story around yak leather, which is three times stronger than cowhide. The Evo Racer is a featherweight shoe that combines a glove-like second skin fit with bio-mimicking anatomical support to help guide the foot to an optimal midfoot stride. The Evo Trainer includes many of the same technologies as the Evo Racer, while integrating more anatomical support for both regular and occasional runners. The Biom Trail now comes with a Gore-Tex lining to keep the foot dry in wet conditions. The model features textile uppers with a reinforced running cage to make it a supportive and light trail running shoe. On the rugged outdoor side, Ecco in 2012 introduced the Biom Hike, becoming the first natural motion hiking shoe. The Hike, which was chosen as a Scandinavian Outdoor Award Winner, is positioned low to the ground for greater motion control and is more streamlined than the traditional hiking boot. The boot's rounded heel and forefoot provide a natural stride while still providing the necessary support for the terrain. Wolcott said the success of the Biom Hike is helping outdoor become the biggest growth category for Ecco’s sport division. The lighter and faster approach as well as the color pops fit well with
the done-in-a-day or weekend-warrior trend in backpacking and has helped create excitement in the boot category. Said Wolcott, “Buyers have really gravitated toward it.” For Fall/Winter 2013, its outdoor range has been expanded with the Biom Terrain, and Biom Ultra. The Terrain is aimed even more at the day hiker wanting a sporty-looking, lightweight and agile hiking boot. The lightweight Ultra is a functional multisport outdoor and trail running shoe. Also on the performance side, Ecco entered the golf category in 1996 and has become the fourth largest producer of golf shoes worldwide. The golf side also borrows from Biom’s lessons. Combining Ecco Natural Motion and Golf Street outsole technologies, the new Biom Hybrid pairs the body's system for absorbing impact with a non-cleated shoe bottom that offers durability, comfort, traction and stability on or off the golf course. The collection is worn in competition by Fred Couples, Graeme McDowell, Thomas Bjorn and other stars in golf competition. In 2012, Ecco’s financial results rebounded from a flooding of Ecco's factory in Thailand in October 2011 that reduced its capacity overnight by a third. Revenues climbed 13.7 percent in 2012, to DKK $8.06 billion (US $1.4 billion). Net earnings increased 23.3 percent to DKK $684 million (US $119.2 million). By its three regional segments, Ecco’s Asia/Pacific saw the largest gains, rising 35.4 percent to DKK $1.85 billion (US $320 million). Its 22 SGBWeekly.com | APRIL 22, 2013
EMEA region increased 3.5 percent to DKK $4.32 billion (US $750 million). Americas jumped 20.7 percent to DKK $1.46 billion (US $250 million). Sørensen said despite the financial crisis and general economic turmoil that has engulfed several European countries to different degrees over the past four years, Ecco has doubled its revenues during the past seven years. “Our well-balanced market geography along with our enduring family ownership provides Ecco with unparalleled staying power in such times of unrest,” said Sørensen. Looking ahead, Ecco is making significant investments and activities in online channels as well as working on improving the shopping experiences wherever and whenever consumers encounter the Ecco brand. In 2012 Ecco invested more than $112 million across the company. “Faster than ever before new designs and ideas are launched in the shoe industry,” Sørensen said. “And more than ever consumers expect to have access to the shoes immediately. With consumers increasingly being spoiled for choice, Ecco is taking on the challenge of also creating thrill and exciting shopping experiences.” But Ecco won’t stray far from its founding Danish principles. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the company launched its “I’m a shoemaker” campaign this month to call out its roots as well as its controlled-production advantage. Special in-store displays, dedicated Facebook pages and a spirited walk through five decades of shoemaking are planned. “We are shoemakers at heart, and with over 4,000 branded sales locations in more than 90 countries we are, of course, also a large retailer,” observed Sørensen. “This is a business model that provides Ecco with two strong platforms in our quest to become the best shoe company in the world. While never compromising on quality shoemaking we increasingly turn our attention to consumer demands and needs.” ■
ECCO 50th Anniversary Social Recap
Social Overview •
Beginning with teaser posts on March 31st, ECCO USA’s social channels kicked off a six week long celebration
Each day for 30 days, at least one social post on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr was dedicated to the anniversarycelebration
Throughout the month of April, the Facebook cover photo changed weekly celebrating different brand milestones
50% of the brand’s Instagram photos and captions toasted the 50th
Each Thursday we participated in the popular social trending topic Throwback Thursday (#TBT) on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr
All social posts showcased 50th themes, including: passionate shoemaking, ECCO MIND, Love Your Leather sweepstakes or styling tips for ECCO products
Announcing the 50th
Celebrating Passionate Shoemaking
Celebrating Passionate Shoemaking
Celebrating Passionate Shoemaking
Spotlighting Product Design
Showcasing the ECCO MIND
Honoring our Passionate ECCO Fans
Honoring our Passionate ECCO Fans
Creating New Milestones
Celebrating Passion in 140 Characters Most Re-tweeted
Recognizing Super Fans Most Re-tweeted
Surprising our Super Fans Most Re-tweeted
Celebrating Passionate Fans
Featuring the ECCO MIND
Throwback Thursday, #TBT
Spotlighting Love Your Leather Sweeps
Anniversary Announcement Most Re-tweeted
Shoemaker Spotlights Most Re-tweeted
Shoemaker Spotlights Most Re-tweeted
Passionate Shoemaking Most Re-tweeted
Passionate Fan Collages Most Re-tweeted
Love Your Leather
Love Your Leather: By the numbers
Fan growth Fan growth (%) Sweeps entries Email opt-ins Most entries in one day Impressions (paid)
Data Source: Kinetic social recap report
5,268 11% 34,995 3,412 1,082 (Portisco) c. 110 million
Fan base grows as campaign unfolds
The Portisco attracts more than 1,000 entries on 4/21
Launched April 8, 2013 and immediately attracted new fans
Menâ€™s Tour Hybrid Wingtip and Womenâ€™s Angel Bow attract hundreds of new fans on consecutive days
Fan growth stalled as initiative drew to an end
Teaser posts drive initial interest
Diverse paid social creative drove maximum engagement
Menâ€™s Portisco attracts most fan entries
1,082 people entered to win the Portisco â€“ 5% of the total campaign entries!
Menâ€™s Androw Retro Sneaker garners most likes
Cross-channel social promotions drove entries and fan growth
Fans and influencers helped spread the news via Twitter
Key Learnings • Paid support of a compelling campaign + incentive amplifies reach attracting new fans, increases participation volume and scales earned content for deeper engagement • A diverse product mix attracts a diverse audience and is key in driving consistent engagement and unique visitors; men’s product aligned with paid support performed best • Cross-platform promotion helps drive awareness for fans across various channels, amplifying reach • Auto-populating the opt-in box for future ECCO emails helps drive email sign ups, thereby increasing consumer database
To create a drumbeat of anniversary-related content, we developed 30+ stories to tell the story of passionate shoemaking on ECCO USAâ€™s Tumblr.