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Old    Tarek Richey (tarek)      Join Date: Jun 2011       11-06-2012, 4:57 PM Reply   
In recent news, Jake Burton (Carpenter) released a press release in which his end goal is to restructure his business and bring all focus back to his core brand... (Burton)

There is a lot of heat and fire regarding his decision to dissolve and eliminate such brands like Forum, Foursquare, and Special Blend, along with some other moves.

Got me thinking though... whether it would be a healthy business decision to eliminate brands like CWB and Obrien who in my eyes are kind of the like these other stepchildren brands to burton.

What if more focus was put into Liquid Force and Hyperlite instead of all 4 Brands?

Here is the jist of the happenings from Burton


BURLINGTON, VT (October 23, 2012) Burton Snowboards today announced that its senior management team has elected to alter the structure of Burton owned brands to better position the company, its retail partners and stakeholders for the future. The current family of brands includes Analog, Gravis, RED, anon, Foursquare, Forum, Special Blend and Channel Islands. During a company-wide meeting today at its headquarters in Vermont, Burton Founder and CEO Jake Burton explained the new structure and how it will allow Burton to focus on what it does best: make and support products that set the bar for snowboarding development and further progress the sport and lifestyle.

Specifically, Burton announced the following changes to its structure and subsidiaries. Over the next year, Analog will return to its roots of being a pure snowboarding brand based at its original home in Burlington, Vermont. Analog has a deep heritage in snowboarding from the day when Greg Dacyshyn (Burton Chief Creative Officer) and the late Jeffy Anderson (Team Rider) gave birth to the brand in Burlington, and as such, will revert back to being a winter-only brand. Burton’s Gravis brand will ultimately move its headquarters to Tokyo, Japan and moving forward will be solely distributed in Asian markets selling lifestyle shoes and bags. Gravis was established in 1998 as the company’s first independent lifestyle brand, and since then, Asia has been by far its most successful region. As a result, Gravis will now focus purely on this market and opportunity. Further, in a move that Burton has been planning for several years, the company will also start developing protective headwear under the anon brand name. Burton will continue to offer its RED helmets on a limited basis, but the bulk of helmet and optics product lines will be combined under the anon brand, which has become synonymous with quality riding accessories.

Also part of today’s restructure, Burton announced it will transition out of its Program brands (Foursquare, Forum and Special Blend), which were purchased in 2004 with the intent to keep snowboard companies in the hands of snowboarders. Burton has supported these brands for eight years and will continue to support them over the next year through warranty service, dealer support, marketing and inventory. The company will exit out of The Program brands in winter 2014, in order to better focus on and invest in Burton.

Finally, Channel Islands, which was acquired by Burton in 2006, will be unaffected by this brand realignment and will continue to design, develop and manufacture best-in-class surf hardgoods products in Carpinteria, California.

In addressing all of these changes, Jake Burton had this to say: “Burton has experienced several years of income growth since the recession and paid out bonuses to employees over the last two years,” said Jake. “That said, the economy has a voice of its own that we all have to listen to, and the message is clear: do what you do best and focus purely on it. In our case, that means to narrow our focus to the sport and lifestyle that got us here – snowboarding. We will continue to support Channel Islands in its endeavor to make the best surfboards in the world and Gravis in its new home in Japan, but when you walk through the front door here in Burlington, Vermont, it will be all snowboarding and snowboarding lifestyle all the time – driven by the Burton, Analog and anon brands.”

Jake went on to share that one of the key factors that led senior management to these decisions includes the success of Burton’s entry into the apparel and bag/pack business on a year-round basis, which has grown significantly in all seasons. The message Burton has taken from the marketplace is that for long-term success, this is the direction that the company should be pursuing, along with its core hardgoods and outerwear business.

Increasing the company’s focus on Burton has also been demonstrated by recent significant investments in Burton’s headquarters and infrastructure. These include the acquisition of the building next door to its Burlington, Vermont headquarters where the company not only built Craig’s, a new 10,000-square-foot R&D and prototype facility, but also Area 13, a 6,000-square-foot Burton/anon/Analog wholesale showroom. Craig’s (named after the late Craig Kelly) is known as the most advanced and sophisticated snowboard prototype facility in the world where ideas are conceived, built and on-snow in less than 24 hours. Area 13 is Burton’s marquee showroom where retailers from all over the world can come to Vermont to see future product lines. Like today’s announcement, both of these examples demonstrate the company’s commitment to the long-term growth, progression and success of the Burton snowboard brands.

In closing, Jake went on to state the following: “I take full responsibility for the decisions that led to the creation (or acquisitions) of these ancillary brands, and I similarly am the individual ultimately responsible for the decision to realign and focus more purely on what made this company from the start. Clearly, the most difficult aspect of this decision and transition is the people affected. The employees and team riders associated with these brands have poured their guts into making it happen. Their level of commitment has been extraordinary, and we will do everything we can to help support them through this transition. There is never a good time for moves like this, and we could have delayed the announcement, but it isn’t our style to perpetuate a myth. Clearly this transition will pose challenges along the way, but in the long run, everyone will see the results of our commitment to our core business.”
Old    Jason Callen (westsidarider)      Join Date: Feb 2003       11-06-2012, 6:06 PM Reply   
Interesting thought but I think it's a little more difficult in our small industry. Every territory is different as far as best selling wake brands. I don't think any of them are doing better than the others
Old    the not so naked chef (electricsnow)      Join Date: May 2002       11-06-2012, 8:55 PM Reply   
I think this is an interesting question, but cwb and obrien are actually nothing lilke the program brands in terms of influence. The program brands were all "core" brands at one point, sponsored some of the raddest riders, produced some of the most progressive videos, and they were able to change faster than the industry giants. Theres a lot to it and i was highly influenced by those brands. I just wanted to state that from a branding and influence standpoint, jake is wiping out legends. Cwb and obrien don't have the same cultural influence....but i suppose that's coming from someone who wasn't as impressed by ski brands. But they truly don't have the branding influence, video library, etc. But this isn't to say their teams aren't talented.

What's crazy is the forum 8 was a "response" to burton's 7 series, and burton ends up with the final say in the end. It's crazy to me.

I might be completely missing your point, but i had to speak up!

Last edited by electricsnow; 11-06-2012 at 9:01 PM.
Old    Delta Force (wakebordr11)      Join Date: May 2001       11-07-2012, 4:51 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by electricsnow View Post
I think this is an interesting question, but cwb and obrien are actually nothing lilke the program brands in terms of influence. The program brands were all "core" brands at one point, sponsored some of the raddest riders, produced some of the most progressive videos, and they were able to change faster than the industry giants. Theres a lot to it and i was highly influenced by those brands. I just wanted to state that from a branding and influence standpoint, jake is wiping out legends. Cwb and obrien don't have the same cultural influence....but i suppose that's coming from someone who wasn't as impressed by ski brands. But they truly don't have the branding influence, video library, etc. But this isn't to say their teams aren't talented.

What's crazy is the forum 8 was a "response" to burton's 7 series, and burton ends up with the final say in the end. It's crazy to me.

I might be completely missing your point, but i had to speak up!
I have limited knowledge and involvement (relatively) of the board industry, being a snow skier. I see what Jake is trying to do - be less of a conglomerate and more of a core board brand. His message of 'growth and bonuses' is all well and good but anyone who knows the sport, knows Burton has been losing to players like ROME, Never Summer, Jones for a long, long time. It also saddens me to see the legends die and I wish someone would buy the brands... Corporate America, buy buy buy when the green is flowing and kill the brand when you feel the pinch...

This also shows in my opinion, what I feel I've heard and witnessed in the past 2-5 years... Snowboarding has been in a lull. When I was in jr highschool and highschool, EVERYONE snowboarded... that just isn't the case as much. I feel there are less people entering the ski/snowboard industry and less skier to snowboard converts than there were 10-20 years ago... Sad.

Wakeboarding should take note of this, especially since Archer - owning a large stake, is not unlike some of the big players in the snow industry. With the wake industry being about 5-10 years behind snowboarding, I hope we don't see the death of brands/markets...
Old    Dave O (wakedaveup)      Join Date: May 2012       11-07-2012, 5:56 AM Reply   
So stupid, guys like Peter Line dedicated the past decade to building the Forum brand and now all those guys are basically out of jobs and sponsors.
Old    Small Light (stephan)      Join Date: Nov 2002       11-07-2012, 6:32 AM Reply   
I think the comparison is not a very good one. For one, the wake industry is smaller and people like having choices. If you were to eliminate two of your four marketable options, all you would be doing is giving your consumers less ways to buy your products. Its even more significant when you figure that there are only two other "heavy hitters" that are selling boards, so literally taking 1/3 of the big board brands off market just for $#!T$ and giggles.

While you may think CWB and Obrien are lesser brands, they fill a niche in many markets around the world. Additionally they sell a ton of what keeps board companies alive, tubes and beginner packages.

Burton has over extended itself and they are feeling the pain. Its too bad that they couldn't find a way to keep some very influential brands/people in business.
Old    Delta Force (wakebordr11)      Join Date: May 2001       11-07-2012, 11:42 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephan View Post
I think the comparison is not a very good one. For one, the wake industry is smaller and people like having choices. If you were to eliminate two of your four marketable options, all you would be doing is giving your consumers less ways to buy your products. Its even more significant when you figure that there are only two other "heavy hitters" that are selling boards, so literally taking 1/3 of the big board brands off market just for $#!T$ and giggles.

While you may think CWB and Obrien are lesser brands, they fill a niche in many markets around the world. Additionally they sell a ton of what keeps board companies alive, tubes and beginner packages.

Burton has over extended itself and they are feeling the pain. Its too bad that they couldn't find a way to keep some very influential brands/people in business.
I think being smaller could be even more detrimental when the sh*t hits the fan. One thing with being smaller though, is small companies have a harder time, especially with lawsuits galore from king bob himself. "Giving your consumers less options" - could be construed in the corporate world as "they'll still buy LF if we nix O'brien" . There is a lot of redundancy in product lines in wakeboarding. Pro model boards ride differently but I don't feel they are THAT different when it comes to a basic style or shape... just my opinion.

To get back to it... I don't think this is on the horizon anytime soon, but it most certainly is possible, especially if profit margins begin to dwindle and people buy less wakeboards in the future - gas goes up, boat prices go up... core riders aren't the target market with boat builders anymore. Families who buy the boats will buy a board and hold it for 5 years because it only got used 10 times in that time period.... just food for thought...
Old     (simplej)      Join Date: Sep 2011       11-07-2012, 12:29 PM Reply   
WELL
i work with a small shop, brand new so i get a bit of the view behind the scenes.
The owners went to every brand looking for a traditional line of boards; got shut down by everyone except slingshot, because he is too small and took on slingshot
how can you grow a small sport if youre not even helping a small start up ski school in new england where support is pretty much nil...
aside from that, all these brands are off shoots of ski companies aside from LF, where as burton. When you buy from these brands you support a monopoly, when you buy slingshot you support a small american business. same thing with humanoid, ronix, etc etc...
in terms of the same shape, slingshot is kind of doing things right i feel. 3 rocker lines, 9 " shapes". if you want flex you buy the atomic core boards, stiff-er you buy ballistic, a traditional board feel you get a lyman or whip. no need for 8 pro models with hardly any differences, and basic shapes and park shapes, and beginner shapes... why does watson have 3 pro models? because watson's name sells boards..
Old    Tarek Richey (tarek)      Join Date: Jun 2011       11-07-2012, 1:23 PM Reply   
One point of interest of Jake not giving up or selling the trademarks for the brands is seeing those brands become "zombie brands"

By "zombie" I mean snowboard brands like Lamar, Sims, Morrow, etc who once upon a time were right there near the top.. but then went broke and sold off to become cheap low-end "zombie" brands that fill box stores and flood the market with cheap ****.

Its difficult being a mom and pop run retailer and having to deal with the internet flooding the market with overstocked items with discount websites like steep and cheap and seshday to name a few.

How are your core shops supposed to survive and compete with this?

It totally ****s everyone!

And for the cheap entry level stuff, I agree that it can help make sports more accessible with packages etc, but **** when you can get similar technology for 1/3 the price.... again the core shop gets screwed!

Lastly, something else that drives me nuts is that reps need to have their lines in select shops for specific territories. My competitor has the same lines I do and the reps are ok with that? Total bull ****!
Old     (simplej)      Join Date: Sep 2011       11-07-2012, 2:57 PM Reply   
archers control of half the market
keeps prices high
SAME BS THE BOAT INDUSTRY PULLS WHEN YOU CANT GO TO DIFFERENT DEALERS OF THE SAME BRAND

where is the free market
Old    Small Light (stephan)      Join Date: Nov 2002       11-07-2012, 11:13 PM Reply   
If you are looking for free market, I believe you are free to start your own company. Unfortunately the costs are high to get started in the manufacturing of wakeboards and the profits are low. Few investors want to get involved in a business with those limitations. Free market means people are free to explore an option that may or may not be profitable. When exploring a small niche they quickly learn the finances of it, they then exercise that freedom and don't start a wakeboard company.
Old     (yeahhh)      Join Date: Feb 2011       11-12-2012, 12:24 PM Reply   
If you think Burton "Killed" these brands then read a little of this. Please don't be ignorant.

http://www.angrysnowboarder.com/burt...t-falling-yet/

To stick to the point, I'm not sure what would happen if they restructured the brands. But one thing is for sure, more brands like Humanoid and SS with diverse teams is what wakeboarding needs now.
Old    Tarek Richey (tarek)      Join Date: Jun 2011       11-12-2012, 1:58 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by yeahhh View Post
If you think Burton "Killed" these brands then read a little of this. Please don't be ignorant.

http://www.angrysnowboarder.com/burt...t-falling-yet/

To stick to the point, I'm not sure what would happen if they restructured the brands. But one thing is for sure, more brands like Humanoid and SS with diverse teams is what wakeboarding needs now.
That dude is pretty on top of it. I met him a few years back when I was living in Denver. That CO scene is pretty large and I am sure he knows whats up.

What bothered me the most was the timing.... i had just had my Burton/Forum reps come through and do clinics, and then boom... the news flash..

Just sucks to be sitting on a decent inventory of gear knowing the brand is unstable.

And your right about the smaller guys like humanoid etc....

Its not easy because the branding and reputation of HL or LF are so huge. People need to embrace the new and give something else a chance.

I help out with the Phalanx Wake stuff here and there... and getting people hyped on **** aint easy!
Old     (yeahhh)      Join Date: Feb 2011       11-13-2012, 11:03 AM Reply   
Yes, the fact that they sold shops a 2013 line, got it into the stores, and then dropped it is ridiculous. They should've waited until the end of the season. People would've found out at SIA this winter anyway, so who knows.

Yes HF and LF have a huge presence, but look at the way SS and Humanoid are getting loyal followers. I think Phalanx has taken the wrong direction with their branding and team. They are essentially using a loved shape - very similar to the old Vandall on Company and people aren't going nuts over it. And we all know It's not the construction of the boards. They need a whole new image and much better art direction if they want a following.

Bringing on Ricky G was a bad move in my opinion.
Old    RileyBangerter (steezyshots)      Join Date: Feb 2008       11-13-2012, 3:20 PM Reply   
FYI Obrien probablydoes more business than LF and Hyperlite combined in Tube sales. I'm not sure if that's true but I know Obrien does a S load of Tube business. There is more to the water brands than just wakeboards and wakeskates. So I doubt that would ever happen
Old    Mark (biggator)      Join Date: Jul 2010       11-14-2012, 5:50 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by steezyshots View Post
FYI Obrien probablydoes more business than LF and Hyperlite combined in Tube sales. I'm not sure if that's true but I know Obrien does a S load of Tube business. There is more to the water brands than just wakeboards and wakeskates. So I doubt that would ever happen
..not to mention the big-box store beginner packages. I'd suspect that they sell a TON of those kind of things to boaters who just want to let their kids 'try it out', so they grab a package at Costco or something.

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