Further boosting its weather-beating product portfolio, Altura continues its evolution with some freshly recruited talent. BikeBiz talks to brand director Clint Vosloo about some key developments…
You’ve been with Altura for over 6 months now, what attracted you to take the role in the first place?
I had spent 16 years at Mizuno, working within a global role across all apparel and accessory categories in Europe, North and South America, and felt ready for a change in career. I had known Simon and Julie Ellison for a few years and we had been chatting about the role at Altura for some time. After working within a large global brand environment, like Mizuno, it was refreshing to see how the Altura/Zyro way of working was quicker, more agile and driven – this appealed to me.
Add to that the equity and potential that the Altura Brand has within the UK market, as well as potential export markets and it was a simple decision from my side.
Tell us what changes you have already implemented:
I established a clear direction for the Product Creation and Marketing Teams to follow for SS16. We now have a very concise brand direction with clear brand and design DNA, vertical messaging, performance silos and a clearer marketing voice.
We also have a brand strategy of ‘Simplify to Amplify’ that allows Altura to have a stronger, simpler branded foundation and deliver a clearer identity and voice to market, with the intention of growth into export markets.
Have you made additions to the team since you joined?
I am pleased to say that we have recruited some great people to the Altura team. Our Design and Development Manager, Sophie Laliberte, joined Altura shortly after I joined the team. We had worked together in my previous brand, so we knew each other’s working methods well. She has worked hard to boost the team and we now have a small team of specialists working within Altura, and I’m really happy with that. At my previous brand, we had huge teams within each of the global performance categories and it created problems with direction and decision making.
The Altura Team is smaller and more agile and we can react quicker to changes.
What are the biggest challenges faced by Altura currently?
Altura is a very well known cycling brand in the UK Market, with a very healthy business, which we are building on. But our largest challenge is how to grow into export markets. It is a challenge that we are embracing and I am working with the team to establish our 2020 Road Map that outlines key milestones to achieve our end goals.
You talk about a new brand direction, tell us more about this:
Our brand direction is based on delivering products to improve the cyclists experience in the saddle. All products, in future collections, are based around the DNA of ‘Engineered Performance’ to support our Brand Vision – To make Altura a leading performance cycling brand.
The Product Creation Team is working to deliver products with a more premium technical brand identity and we are working with some of the leading fabric mills in both Asia and Europe to source and develop new fabrics to use in all future collections to deliver on this new premium identity.
We will also be supporting the product direction with improved marketing collateral to drive the new brand direction home in the 2016 seasons.
What are the highlights of the new AW15 range?
We have launched a new Commuter Collection, based on our leading NightVision Technology that is really exciting. Research provided the Product Creation Team with a clear direction for retroreflectivity that we believe offers improved visibility when riding in low light conditions. Most accidents between cyclists and motor vehicles occur when a cyclist turns in front of traffic, and is not visible. We have launched a range of Altura products that offer 360˚ NightVision reflectivity using ‘Flow Zone Reflective’ detailing located in strategic dark-zone areas for maximum visibility.
We call this NV360˚.
Our Head of Marketing, Jon Sherwood, created an ingenious campaign ‘Darkproof’ that delivers the message of the Altura brand and the NightVision product category perfectly.
What reaction have you had from retailers to the new range?
It’s still very early to gauge a reaction, but initial feedback has been extremely positive. The sales teams have experienced fantastic sell-in periods and all signs point towards a season that delivers on sales that are beyond our expectations, which will be further boosted by the in store promotion material we are providing,
What support are you providing to retailers to help them sell Altura in store?
The relationships between Zyro and retailers is very important and we try to do everything possible to maintain these. We are preparing a fully rounded product and marketing plan for the season that delivers on sell-in tools and sell-through support wherever possible – allowing the Zyro Sales Team to support retailers as much as possible.
What exciting things can we expect to see from Altura in 2016?
Altura’s brand identity will be stronger, clearer and directional – with products being clearly categorized into Performance Silos across our categories.
Go-to-Market messaging and products will all deliver on engineered performance with improved fits, proprietary fabric technologies and improved features and benefits.