Fresh from ISPO – the world’s largest sports trade show hosted in Germany, Brandwave’s Key Accounts Director, Oliver Robinson rounds up all the action from the mountains and Munich this year!
First we head for snow…
Before anyone heard the words, “next stop, Messestadt-West” we kicked things off the right way, heading South to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for our pre-show ski day. Hosted in collaboration with the Outdoor Industries Association, we were joined by a solid crew of VIP industry guests for a fun few days on the hill. So say the locals, but we were treated to some of the best snow in a hundred years!
Joining us on the pre ISPO ski day were: Reebok / Red Bull / Stance / Arcade / Asics / FATMAP / OIA / OMM / Porsche / Ultra Sports Science Foundation / Jack Wolfskin / Target Publishing
…then onto the show.
ISPO continued to break record numbers of exhibitors this year despite an absence from some familiar faces and brands. In total, 334 brands of the staggering total of 2,943 brands exhibiting were first timers (Source: SGI Europe). No surprising, 41 of these were from the Health & Fitness world. The outdoor crowd contributed 57 and whopping 90 new brands from winter sports exhibited, including our neighbours over at Stance Europe & Arcade.
Image credit: Boardsport Source
If you’re gonna do something right, do it well.
CSR and sustainability stories continued to also dominate this year. Multiple brands were pledging their allegiance to reducing the 2.7-3.3 million kilos of single use plastic (SUP) that the outdoor industry alone currently produces per year (Source: European Outdoor Group Single Use Plastic Roadmap).
Hats off to the EOG who presented their roadmap to significantly reduce SUP at their breakfast event. This is one project we’re firmly behind to support.
If you are a brand though with a key marketing story around utilising recycled plastic in products and how you, as a brand, are fully behind reducing plastic waste, please please please, don’t have all your team sipping out of single use water bottles and offering booth visitors plastic cups for coffee. Unless you’re planning to add to your snazzy POS displays of crushed bottles, this level of disingenuous tokenism whiffs of BS and will only end up damaging your brand in the long run.
As our buddies over at Brands For Good say, do good and talk about it!
Battle Of The Booths
Picture Organic Clothing raised the booth design bar again with their outstanding set-up this year. Ten out of ten for originality and attention to detail to create this beauty of a booth.
If you didn’t see on our Insta stories during the show, here’s a sneak peek.
The Fort Knox
The North Face caused a stir with their version of Fort Knox, which housed the European trade launch of FUTURELIGHT. Designed to be the worlds most advanced breathable-waterproof outerwear technology, you’ll have to wait until next winter to get your hands on and test it for real.
Image credit: The North Face
Materials & Wearable Tech Storm The Awards
On the topic of materials, ingredient brands and the textile chain are increasingly working together to make some really great stuff happen for next season. We’re not talking innovation for the sake of innovation, but genuine solutions to meet wearer demands such as monitored thermo-regulation, self-cleaning and accelerated performance. It’s predicted that old material favourites, natural fibers and textiles are all set to be reimagined come 2020 but with a savvy injection of tech.
Dan Takes Centre Stage
Digitalisation, individualisation and the importance of audience segmentation also dominated the show as key themes, which perfectly tee’d Brandwave’s Founder & CEO Daniel Macaulay up ahead of his keynote talk “The Competitive Edge – new opportunities in sports marketing and how you can capitalize on them.”
Dan delved into how the industry’s leading sports brands are utilising emerging digital technology alongside key psychological marketing trends to build greater, more direct, and more tailored relationships with segmented audiences.
He covered the rise of underground conversations taking place across dark social and how the role of Over The Top media platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Facebook are shaking up the way sports fans are consuming content.
Thanks to advancements in technology we are seeing a huge shift of use for AR tools as they move away from being seen as a gimmick to powerful and often relatively simple tools to drive purchasing and engagement behavior.
Put Your Hands Together For Tony Hawk.
On the Monday, we were graced with action sports royalty in the form of Tony Hawk. He spoke pragmatically on the influence that sport has had on his life, the importance of remaining curious and how sometimes to turn pro, you just need to “tick the pro box”. As the forefather of bringing skateboarding to the mainstream, he’s excited for the Olympics next year and seeing skate teams from unlikely places such as Ethiopia, Cambodia and all corners of the world compete.
Lets get Digital, Digital.
Last but by no means last, introducing ISPO Digitize. After years of being a key theme at the show, represented by individual brands at varying levels (think back to last year and adidas’ awesome digital retail store tech area) it was recognized by ISPO that digitalization needed it’s own dedicated platform in hall C5. Digital is a big ol’ beast for brands to get their heads fully around to realize the ever increasing influence, prominence and importance in our world of all thing sport but this platform is a fantastic touch-point to keep your finger on the pulse.
Naturally, virtual reality and e-sports also played a larger role at ISPO this year more than any before. Love or loathe it, e-sports are here to stay and it’s intrinsically intertwined with mainstream sports. We’re not talking a trend here… this is more of a cultural revolution that’s not going anywhere and should be considered in any long terms plans whether you’re in the sports industry or one of the many major non-endemic brands that have already been grabbing a piece of the action.