Marmot is launching a new brand position heading into OR that is designed to more thoroughly explain to the consumer exactly what the Marmot brand is all about. The new brand statement that summarizes this positioning is “Marmot For life – People, Product, Planet.” In addition to new retail POP, advertising and websites, Marmot is hoping this positioning will put the brand in a better position to address new markets and consumers.

“We’ve had this brand essence statement, Marmot, For Life for a long time. I think it’s going on 15 years now. It’s something we still find very meaningful and still want to keep for a long time, but we were realizing that we need to better explain what that means to the consumer. There are a lot of different potential meanings of Marmot, For Life that people could interpret on their own,” Tom Fritz, Marmot’s vice president of marketing told The B.O.S.S. Report. “So, the last few years, we’ve been branding the company as ‘Born Professionally.’ The concept behind this was to highlight our involvement with guide services and outdoor professionals to differentiate the brand and to help us test and design our gear. Now, we’ve realized that that was a somewhat narrow positioning and only really describes part of the essence of the brand.”

Currently, the company feels that the “People, Product, Planet” tag line encompasses the entire brand and more thoroughly explains what Marmot, For Life means. Fritz went on to explain that the “People” aspect of the new branding is about all of the altruistic, social responsibility initiatives that the company is sponsoring. The “Product” aspect is essentially the same message as the former “Born Professionally” branding communicated. Marmot will continue to work with guide services and outdoor professionals to put performance first in the design process. The “Planet” aspect involves both internal programs to reduce Marmot’s environmental impact and design initiatives that are creating greener products for consumers.

“We started the re-branding effort on the website because we can control it very quickly and get the project started. So, we started on-line and now we have launched it nationally, which means the ‘People, Product, Planet’ message is starting to make its way into magazines right now – in fact I think you can find it in a couple of magazines today.” 

“Also, an entire wall of our tradeshow booth will represent Marmot, For Life – People, Product, Planet. Finally, our POP for the Fall season will incorporate the same message. It’s all coming to the point where the world will understand this message by the end of this Fall.”

The “People” aspect of the new branding is something that Marmot has been involved with since the company’s inception, but recently the non-profit organizations that Marmot supports, like the dZi Foundation and Guide Dogs for the Blind, have been asking for more public recognition.

Fritz is very quick to point out that Marmot is not trying to green-wash any aspect of their business, but they do want to point out areas where they have made real progress. “We were very careful with our wording and the message we decided to deliver to consumers,” said Fritz. “We finally decided we wanted to start talking about it because it is important for the consumer to see what we are doing – the more the consumer sees of these eco-initiatives in the marketplace, the more they will become eco-conscious. But we are very cognizant of the fact that we do not want to make it sound like Marmot is the most eco-conscious company in the world, because honestly we are not. Our president, Mark Martin, he’s a very eco-conscious consumer and he has made it clear that we are not going to come close to green-washing this brand.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the company is balancing the demands of the “Product” aspect of their message with the demands of the “Planet” aspect. Until recently, green materials that could be used in Marmot’s equipment and apparel forced designers to sacrifice performance, price or durability. Now, with the next generation of recycled and renewable synthetics working their way into the supply chain, Marmot’s designers are able to incorporate features like recycled insulation into their sleeping bags, organic cotton, soy and hemp in sportswear, and recycled polyester & nylon in other products.

The final aspect to the focus on “Planet” is the new markets that this message opens up for the brand. Fritz said that the new brand positioning combined with their focus on creating greener products will accomplish two things for Marmot and its dealers. The Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability, or LOHAS market is a rapidly growing niche that currently accounts for over $200 billion in the U.S. Fritz is hoping that the “People, Product, Planet” branding will not only help the Marmot brand gain some traction in the LOHAS market, but also attract this new consumer group into more outdoor retailers.

“First and foremost, we are a specialty outdoor company and we hold those relationships very sacred. We will look at each distribution opportunity separately and decide whether it makes sense based on where our dealers are located. However, the LOHAS consumer is on our mind, as is the urban consumer. Those are two categories that will help our company grow. LOHAS is really a natural fit for us, because some of our eco-friendly products already appeal to those folks,” said Fritz. “I also think that the more we can attract a new consumer to outdoor specialty products, the more likely they are to walk into an outdoor specialty shop. Very quickly, the U.S. is becoming a sustainable country – it seems to be everything we talk about.”

Marmot is building its brand awareness with this consumer through its PR efforts and incremental advertising efforts, which will grow as the distribution channel grows for the brand.  Overall the re-branding is designed to hold on to the “Born Professionally” roots of the brand, but also embrace a new, emerging specialty customer that is quickly gaining influence in mainstream culture.