The world of archery retailing is made up of more small suppliers by percentage than nearly any other industry. In this world, there are no individuals more responsible for the success of so many small business owners than Fred Bear – the founder of Bear Archery. To this day, an award recognizing marketing innovation in the field of archery is given in his name. Bear Archery traces its beginnings to 1933. Fred Bear passed away in 1988. The business model that he developed allowed men and women across the industry to open up small archery shops for themselves – eventually making their passion a full-time profession and a way to support their families. By 2005, the company, without Fred’s involvement and under conglomerate ownership, had lost its prominence in the industry. It was not known as a top supplier in what was by then a thriving industry with elite and skilled manufacturers and marketers.
Preparation for a comeback.
Escalade Sports purchased Bear Archery in 2005. Bear began to engineer a comeback – driven by product development. DBD pitched to become part of the marketing team, and topped three other outdoor sporting goods marketers to be selected by Bear. The effort, first hitting the market in 2006, has met with success and weathered economic ups and downs to place Bear among the industry’s top-tier suppliers by 2012. Today, Bear takes its place among brands such as Mathews, Hoyt, and Bowtech. Bear’s market position began in 2005, when much of the industry’s marketers were awash in hype over sometime baseless feature or performance claims. For Bear, it was simply true that they were making a high-quality product again – and at more than modest prices. The first new Bear communications reinforced to the audience that 1) Bear was not “about the hype and high cost,” and that 2) with Bear you received “performance above price.” Both statements are still true of Bear. By 2012, the company’s industry leading product development has made Bear a sought after product at any price point. Likewise, aggressive print, unique TV and pioneering web & social communications keep pace with the product. The compelling truth remains that Bear loyalists are paying only for genuine performance.
The latest Bear marketing solutions include the introduction of a bow called Anarchy.™ Bear Archery loyalists and prospects are ask to “Rise Up. Join Us.” The message is that the bow is the peoples’ bow – and not the result of a company building a bow that satisfies a need of the company, or which conveniently fits a manufacturing capability. It’s another genuine message from Bear. The Anarchy is the result of Bear product development, on the shoulders of other great Bear bows. And it’s the result of customer feedback. It’s not a product that hypes a feature. It’s not a product that tells the customer what they ought to want. It’s a bow that gives hunters the genuine performance they’ve asked for.
New branding solutions included:
• Anarchy™ Bow identity
• In-product identity
• New Bear logo evolution
• Motion spot for outdoor sport TV networks
• Trade and consumer print