Bauerfeind are a world class medical brand in orthopaedic injury rehabilitation. They initially approached Landor as a possible partner to help them realise their global consumer brand ambitions. In their role as orthopaedic injury leaders, Bauerfeind had become increasingly involved in the world of elite sports with their products becoming the mainstay of leading athletes around the world. From their partnership with the Olympic Games they recognised the potential for Bauerfeind to innovate and become a sports brand targeted at the consumer enthusiast. This offered a substantial potential consumer market for the business to expand into within Europe and beyond.
However with their business almost exclusively driven by insurance reimbursement they needed outside expertise to drive consumer market innovation if they were to accurately capture consumer insight, define the appropriate channels, and develop the optimum brand positioning and launch strategy. Leading the pitch team at Landor I subsequently drove the project after the winning the business. For the next 18 months we worked with their CEO and his support team to define a new business model that would drive Bauerfeind to innovate and grow in line with their global consumer ambitions.
The project spanned global research, strategy development, business model evaluation and channel viability. Bauerfeind’s plan was to ultimately recruit a senior marketer from the consumer sports industry who would take the project forward from Landor. However despite a search across the industry, Bauerfeind were unable to locate a suitable hire and approached myself to take on the challenge. Having a great deal of personal commitment to the project and respect for the Bauerfeind management team I accepted.
Insights gleaned from the research highlighted the powerful sense of social loss and esteem damage suffered when sports injury prevented enthusiasts from participating with team members and friends in their favoured sport. The creation of an accessible ‘elite athlete’ level injury service offered a faster track to recovery that was simply unavailable at the time. It also provided Bauerefeind with new channels and markets worldwide and an opportunity to showcase their orthopaedic support products in a more consumer environment.
Los Angeles was chosen as the location for a global launch test market with a retail sports injury clinic and orthopaedic services provided on a pay-per-use basis. Bauerfeind products were to be professionally recommended, fitted and dispensed on site. The project required location analysis and search for premises, the design and implementation of the retail branded clinic, staff recruitment and training and the creation of a sales and marketing team. The timescale to launch was 18 months!
The impact on awareness of the Bauerfeind brand in the US was significant. Through an associated program of elite team support across the key US sports, Bauerfeind products were seen being worn by highly athletes and teams. This created an enhanced efficacy perception as well as an elite sport status with consumers for the brand.
For Bauerfeind this was their first foray into the consumer world of non-reimbursement orthopaedics. Retail trading was challenging but toughened the business with regards consumer branding. It also provided the basis for channel experimentation and to explore the opportunities provided by clubs and sports associations as new channels partners. Over the next few years the business remains commitment to growing its presence in sports and will grow its franchise across multiple channels to achieves it objectives.