Burton Durable Goods

Burton's Randy Torcom Discusses Establishing The Brand In A Year-Round Market

Starting with Spring/Summer 2015, Burton's apparel and bag categories will operate under the name "Burton Durable Goods." As Global Brand Director of those categories, Randy Torcom has been tasked with reaching year-round consumers and getting them to relate to the brand on and off the snow. We talked to Torcom about the marketing challenges associated with bringing a well-known snowboarding brand into the year-round market, and got his thoughts on some general marketing issues.

How will you engage the year-round consumer? Are there new mediums that Burton hasn't used in the past primarily being a snow company?

The same way we've been successful captivating them with winter. Quality product supported with compelling and relevant brand content. Yes, we'll be working with a number of new media partners and event organizers outside of the winter sports industry.

Is there a specific niche you're trying to shoot for?

It's less about creating a niche and more about knowing the type of year-round consumer we're targeting. Snowboarding will always be a priority for Burton. However, to evolve – we know we need to start captivating a broader demographic. Ultimately, our goal is to create brand differentiation. Not only with a superior year-round product offering, but also with how people perceive the brand through the look and feel of it.

How does Burton's strong brand legacy in snow affect your ability to differentiate in other year-round markets?

Our brand legacy and heritage is exactly what sets us apart. In a crowded and mundane outdoor market Burton brings a fun, alternative, and laid back approach. For streetwear, our passion for urban culture and function is apparent in the offering, all while remaining true to the aesthetic of our mountain heritage.

Photo Gallery: Preview Burton Fall/Winter 2015 Men’s & Women’s Bags

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How did your previous experience prepare you for this role?

Having the opportunity to work for Burton through the anon. and Analog brands, that's what's prepared me the most. Gaining an understanding of how the organization operates has been invaluable for my transition. I've been fortunate to observe, learn, and be mentored by the best people in the industry.

What are some key personal benchmarks that you've set for yourself in the short term?

Create a simple and compelling brand message which consumers can really wrap their head around. Provide clarity around what makes Burton a relevant year-round lifestyle brand.

How do you establish/differentiate that brand message from the one that already exists for Burton as a snow brand?

We know it will take time. Message consistency coupled with quality products that speak well to alternative outdoor seekers and streetwear enthusiasts will be the key.

Have any parts of your personal marketing philosophy changed over the past few years? How are those changes reflected on your current strategies and execution?

I've gained a good perspective on the power of "brand", crafting brand identity, and using those things to win over the hearts and minds of consumers. In my new role I'm focused most on simplifying our brand message.

How do you balance communicating innovation and telling great product stories while also simplifying the overall brand message?

By prioritizing. We have to be one thing before we can be a lot of things. Once our brand identity for apparel and bags (Burton Durable Goods) has had time to resonate with consumers, we can then begin focusing more on dynamic storytelling for specific product collections and technologies.

Photo Gallery: Preview Burton Fall/Winter 2015 Men’s & Women’s Apparel

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What do you see as some of the most significant external challenges to your success right now?

Evolving the consumer's mind-set so they turn to Burton as a go-to, year-round brand. The first step is just letting them know we're here. The company is making a large monetary commitment to ensure we're able to get our message out amongst our target demographic.

How much of a role do analytics and market research play in your strategic decisions? What kind of data do you study?

Sales reports and market trending data are always useful reference points. However, consumer feedback, and of course, team rider input, are the things we pay closest attention to.

Why did the camping collection with Big Agnes make sense for you strategically and how does it helps accomplish the goals that you discussed earlier?

We've always felt camping rounded out the brand story for Burton's approach on the outdoors. We didn't want to be perceived as just another company making camping gear. We wanted to do it in a way that embraced Burton's spirit and also provided the product quality people have come to expect from us. Aligning with a renowned brand like Big Agnes legitimized out effort and brought a level of attention we wouldn't have been able to attract on our own. Combining Big Agnes' technology with Burton's flair has allowed us to bring a truly unique and fun camping collection to the market.

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