Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Capital of Texas Triathlon & Wounded Warrior Championship

“No person was ever honored for what he received.
Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge

Wounded Warrior Project Benefit Dinner announcement as of April 15 - Frank Denius will be the keynote
speaker! http://www.woundedwarriordinner.com/

This year I am doing some work with the Capital of Texas Triathlon which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this Memorial Day Weekend. Not only does this give me an opportunity to increase my knowledge of yet another segment of the cycling/multisport industry, but allows me the chance to support the Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project which is the beneficiary of CapTexTri.

The Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project is a partnership between Disabled Sports USA, its chapters and the Wounded Warrior Project, providing year round sports programs for severely wounded service members from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict and the Global War on Terrorism.

Forty-one years of experience has shown early intervention with active sports results in successful rehabilitation, leading to employment. The “Wounded Warriors” and their family members are provided these opportunities free of charge, including transportation, lodging, adaptive equipment and individualized instruction in over a dozen different winter and summer sports.

Programs take place at sites throughout the United States of America offering Wounded Warriors the opportunity to integrate as participants and mentors in their home communities.
The Capital of Texas Triathlon wishes to honor those who have given so much for our country by building  Memorial Day Weekend around the Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project. Starting off with a benefit dinner on Thursday May 27th, a proposed ride with wounded veterans on Saturday the 29th, and culminating with the Wounded Warrior Championship Race on Monday the 31st, this weekend is for them.

How can you or your company help our heroes?

Your company:
Event sponsorships (see brochure with demographic info)
Multisport and Fitness Expo
Sponsor a Wounded Warrior athlete to compete at CapTexTri
Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project Benefit Dinner (Thur. May 27th at the Austin Hyatt)
      Corporate Table Sponsorship starting at $1,500 (recognition and table seating 10)
      Donate items for raffle, live or silent auctions
Email Sponsorships@CapTexTri.com and please reference DareToBrand so I can follow up with
you directly.

You: If you live in Austin we need:
Volunteer committee members for CapTexTri
Volunteer committee members for Wounded Warrior Benefit Dinner
      Email for committees at Sponsorship@CapTexTri.com and reference specific committee you can help

Race day volunteers (Memorial Day, Monday May 31st)
Register as race volunteer here http://captextri.com/triathlon-volunteer.php

I invite you all to take advantage of this opportunity with me to show our disabled service men and women how much they are appreciated. Our help can make a difference in their lives.

Please contact me direct at DareToBrand@gmail.com for detailed sponsorship information.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Concept Designs In Cycling/MultiSport

Everyone has heard of the Detroit Auto Show, right? This is where all the big names come out to show off their visions of the future of automobile manufacturing. We love to see the amazing new designs, the elegant curve of a fender, the bold statement of chrome a grill, the unusual way the doors may open, etc. This is their way to show the world what wonderful new boundaries they are pushing in style, technology, function and safety.

Concept designs naturally bring about the curiosity in us. We all get excited when we hear that XYZ Company is going to unveil a new technology or design and we can't wait to see it, right? This is true even if it may be something that isn't completely ITU or UCI legal... for now. Concepts are the best way to show the consumer just how far ahead you are thinking as well as how hard you are studying the sport and the needs of the consumer/athlete.

The lack of concept designs in the cycling/multisport industry has kept technology from moving forward as much as it could. For the most part, all technological advances that we see at shows like Interbike are built within current UCI/ITU standards and are part of regular product line to be delivered to retailers the following season.

So why hasn't the cycling/multisport industry typically made use of concept designs? Coming from the manufacturing side of multisport I can tell you that there are two sides to this issue.

Manufacturers in this industry are stretched thin from what I've seen. This means very little if any research is done in coming up with new materials for their own brand. Materials used are most often the ones most easily found and broadly marketed. Yes I do understand about supply as well, and some super high tech materials are produced in low quantity due to price and/or demand. One thing that producing concept designs does is start the process of demand which eventually requires these materials to produced more readily. If no one ever started designing aircraft out of carbon fiber, the abundance would not be near what it is today.

Factories have a pretty set list of materials to use for what they assemble. If you go to them and tell them you want a wetsuit for example, they give you a list of materials that they use and you pick which ones you want them to make it with in order to hit a certain price point. You may also submit your own patterns or work with them to develop some with you. This process almost discourages thinking out of the box because it takes time and money and the factories are usually reluctant to come up with new techniques for assembly and even new equipment to achieve what is needed. Factories can and must be coerced to step beyond their current limitations in order to move ahead.

The companies in the cycling/multisport industry who invest in concept designs are the ones who will ultimately succeed in not only standing out from the crowd, but earning credibility as the authority on the design of a particular product.

Here's a thought, in order to consider something a concept doesn't mean it has to be that from top to bottom. How about "concept on a budget"? That is, take a product from your sellable line and plug in a part, section or feature that is conceptual. In some manufacturing instances this may not work but you will have to figure that out on your own.

Back up your concept. A concept product that looks like everything else, is, well nothing really. At least in the consumer's eyes if it fails to look, function or feel special you will hardly get any attention with it. This also falls in with marketing. The other thing to keep in mind is what it will do for the consumer. A concept design should do something better. Faster, stronger and lighter are all barriers we try to break through in sports. Talk is cheap; you need verifiable numbers that can prove what you are accomplishing.

Include your sales and marketing people in your proposed concept design BEFORE you start. They should be able to tell you if what you propose is something that the retail buyer and consumer needs. Producing concepts which are not congruent with these needs in mind is a waste of time and money, not to mention that you will lose credibility from the industry and consumer.

Don't make the mistake of starting a brand with a concept if you don't have a sustainable, sellable line. What happens in this case is that the consumer says "Wow! That's really cool! So what do you make that I can afford/use right now? Nothing? Oh, well I guess I'm going to have to take my excitement and go purchase something from someone else.” No matter how cool or advanced your concept is, if you don't have something right there to direct the excitement and money toward that they CAN buy, you will inevitably look like, well... a schmuck.

So what are you waiting for? Make this part of your budget and get to work!