Brand Building, Trend Chasing, & Our Advice to Ski, Bike, & Running Shoe Companies (Ep.259)

Ever been mad about a brand killing off or changing your favorite product? Ever been confused by the sea of very similar-seeming products that a brand makes? Well today, I’m talking with our bike editor, David Golay, and our running editor, Matt Mitchell, about brand identity, creating customer loyalty, trend chasing, and more in the ski, bike, and running industries, and what advice we have for companies in each of these spaces to reduce customer confusion and increase the staying power of brands, product lines, & individual products.


  • Building Lasting Brands & Product Lines (4:37)
  • The Two-Year Product Cycle (17:54)
  • Outdoor Industries vs the Fashion Industry (30:22)
  • Operating like tech companies vs luxury goods companies (32:28)
  • Importance of a cohesive design aesthetic? (43:11)
  • Establishing loyalty to a product line (46:33)
  • What Matt would like to see from Running Companies (54:10)
  • Trend Chasing (58:29)
  • Anti-Trend & Brand Identity (1:06:30)



9 comments on “Brand Building, Trend Chasing, & Our Advice to Ski, Bike, & Running Shoe Companies (Ep.259)”

  1. Fascinating conversation guys. In the ski world, when Jonathan you were talking about the Mantra and staying true to a line, my mind immediately went to the Enforcer. That ski has kind of become a brand within a brand. And in that same vein, when you were discussing anti-trend brands, Nordica definitely seems to fit the bill (continuing to make heavy, mildly tapered skis when the ski world was chasing the lightweight, tapered, Soul 7 trend)

    • ‘Brand within a brand’ – well put. Definitely a product line worth building upon for decades.

  2. Really enjoyed this sideways look across the industries and will be definitely thinking about and implementing some of the things raised. Such as clear brand identity, redundant range bloat, not apologising for specialising.
    As a company Fauna is still young but, I have some strong opinions about what a ski brand should and shouldn’t be doing –

    -skis are tools not treasures and should be priced that way. We make beautiful skis, but we don’t charge the price others do for a similar look.
    -unless it’s for skimo, (especially freeride & freestyle) skis should have the thickest standard bases (1.8mm) and edges (>2.2×2.2mm) for basic level durability. Everything less is just planned obselence.
    -annual top sheet changes is just fashion, skiing is not fashion and it devalues the work done by top sheet artists.
    -ski development should not be a standardised cycle. Good, complete design doesn’t need constant tweaking around the edges.
    -‘this years skis’ needs to die. It devalues the product design, confuses consumers, forces retailers into bad sales & discount cycles and is ultimately bad for the environment and the industry’s economic sustainability.
    -gimmicky technology that makes fractional difference should stay in racing where it’s decided on factions of a second.
    -the ski industry is stuck dicking around in the shallow end of sustainability, we hope to change that soon.
    I’m sure there are more but these are some of my principles.

  3. Considering how often trail runners go through shoes and how everyone is – in theory – trying to be more sustainable, wondering if a brand has made a boa mounting system that you can move from your old shoe to new shoe (new shoe just has the mounting slots and you reuse the old boa)? I’m assuming the shoe/sole wears out long before the boa system does.

    Could keep some boa plastic out of landfills and probably lock a customer into being on the same platform for at least a few years while you just buy shoe refills.

    Did I just launch a new shoe company?

    • I think you did. Exactly how the installation / implementation of a removable system would work is certainly a question … but doesn’t seem like one that would be impossible to solve…

  4. I have been listening to the podcast for a while and my son is looking at traveling to canada for a while and suggested the spot membership and so happy that he has done it. thanks very much for this, feel very happy now as he mountain bikes and snowboards.
    We are in Western Australia!

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