In order for outdoor gear companies to initially establish themselves, they often attempt to carve out a niche within their industry. Developing a specific, identifiable niche can help consumers better understand the products, brand, and values of a company. And while this is a savvy strategy for an organization in its early stages, there is even more potential to be found on the horizon, and more avenues of growth for those companies to pursue as lifestyle brands.
Transitioning from a niche company to a lifestyle brand can be a challenging process in any industry, but it’s ultimately a rewarding one. At CGPR, we’ve worked side by side with our clients in order to guide, build, and grow many of these transformations, and we’ve learned a lot about the process while doing it.
By learning from companies that have made that transition successfully, you can be prepared for your own companies growth. Here is a step by step guide to turning your niche company into a lifestyle brand.
Step 1: Recognize and Fully Establish Your Niche
First things first, fully establishing and recognizing the niche of your company is a must. Within your niche you’ll find your core customer base, a high level of brand recognition, and the blueprint of success for your transition and expansion. Learn from how you gained traction in your niche area, then allow those lessons to drive the future growth of your company.
Once your niche products and brand are recognizable in the outdoor space, making the transition to a lifestyle brand is only a few steps away (but that doesn’t mean it will be easy). Much of this process will be time consuming, challenging, and maybe even a bit risky, but in the end, you’ll have no doubt that it was worth it.
Step 2: Identify Potential Growth Areas That Fit Your Brand
Part of growing from a niche company into a lifestyle brand involves recognizing the strengths of what your company is already doing, then considering what direction to aim your growth. Every expansion of your company needs to be true to your brand, or else you risk losing the core consumer base you built initially.
Once you have a solid idea of how you want to begin expanding your product offerings, you can begin to develop a much more targeted direction and focus for your growth. Any new products should stay true to the value that your customer base has grown accustomed to from your company. For example, a ski and snowboard brand shouldn’t begin to develop beach umbrellas in an attempt to grow their business, but rather look to expand into other related winter sport products.
Step 3: Figure out an Effective Marketing Strategy
If growth is your objective, marketing has to be a big part of your strategy. If you’ve already established a niche, you’ve probably already developed a unique, authentic company voice. Establishing that voice is the first step of an effective marketing campaign, so if you haven’t done it yet, be sure to identify that voice first.
In regards to the specifics of your marketing strategy, there are a number of different avenues you need to consider. We’ve written previously about how to make your brand stand out in any industry, and many of the tips in that blog will ring true for gear companies as well. For outdoor companies specifically, there is certain language that can connect with consumers. Read about that language, and other helpful marketing tips for brands, in our blog full of tips on establishing outdoor brands.
Step 4: Never Stop Improving
In order to transform a niche outdoor gear company to an effective lifestyle brand, the steps in this blog, while crucial, are just the tip of the iceberg. Take time to learn your industry, study your consumers, and develop your products. Then create an authentic, powerful marketing strategy. If the strategy is implemented correctly, your core consumers will support you every step of the day.