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Rossignol - Ski mogul

 

  Rossignol - Ski mogul
Rossignol
ski mogul
by Vivian Manning Schaffel
January 3, 2005

Rossignol is the brand for those who obsess about black diamond trails and the mountains of gear required. Having sold over 50 million pairs of skis, Rossignol has been in the ski manufacturing business since 1907, endorsing Olympic competitions since 1924.

 
The Rossignol Group is the sector leader for the ski category with a world market share of 24.1 percent, offering a full range of products for all ski disciplines (alpine, Nordic, snowboard) and all ski product families (board, binding, boot and pole).

But the brand doesn’t just do skis. Rossignol’s expanse of business embodies its tagline, “pure mountain company”; the Rossignol Group is a leading competitor in the winter sports business as well as textile goods and accessories, also operating under the brand monikers Dynastar, Lange, Look, Kerma, Hammer, Hot, Original Sin and Risport. We recently paid a visit to Rossignol.com to see if it is as strong a competitor online as off piste.

Empowered by its position as world market leader, Rossignol has developed a strong global brand identity online with web identities for the US, Canada, and most of Europe, as well as Asia and Japan, and a Rossignol International site. The US version is a high quality site, impeccably designed and flush with a decent amount of value-added content to inspire impassioned ski junkies—a move that reinforces its leadership position.

 
 
Rossignol - Ski mogul When arriving on the home page, users are greeted with a postcard mountain vista with an option in the lower right corner to launch a series of impressive ski race photos set to techno beats. A top navigation bar directs visitors to each product line, Alpine, Nordic, Snowboard, and Outerwear. Receiving prominent virtual shelf space on the home page is Zenith, the hot new ski of the season. A click on the Zenith ski icon launches a Zenith-centric mini-site that incorporates Flash technology, augmented with more hip techno music to drive home the product tagline “pure innovation, pure performance, pure satisfaction.” (Users can kill the sound, which is a considerate feature.) Graphics of the skis and detailed attribute information can be obtained by simply rolling over the image of the ski or clicking on a model number. It also has a download feature so users can preserve the Zenith image on their own computers, a smart branding tool.

Another example of strong online branding can be found on the Race Centers page. It leads users to branded Rossignol retail centers, also known as “the best race shops in the country,” a statement that drives home the category leadership positioning. The page comes complete with a race center locator, and a link to a product selector guide in the form of a downloadable PDF that helps users pick which skis, equipment, etc, will fit best according to their size and needs.

The Rossignol Racing section is another area stamped with Rossignol from top to bottom. Visitors can find out about professional Rossignol sponsored Alpine or Nordic ski events, and get race results and news from an Alpine Cup World correspondent. There is a Rossignol Racing area product page that allows users to see which products are being featured in the races, a savvy feature to inspire enthusiasts. The team area launches a mini-site designed like a mock photo album, augmented with upbeat music. Photos of racers, their stats and interviews are featured like trading cards on each page.

Rossignol.com’s general messaging is effective because its general language is casual enough to appeal to young irreverent snowboard culture but subdued enough to speak to more sophisticated ski and snowboard aficionados. An effort is made to address younger site visitors with areas that refer to Rossignol as “Rossi.” It’s an age old but effective branding tool, creating a personalized sub-brand identity to forge a relationship with a targeted segment. The Sign-Up with Rossi area gets users to provide a decent amount of demographic information with a promise to send the latest about athletes and their exploits, what's up in technology and any breaking news that's worthy of sending—an organic way to build a contact database. Inside Rossi is a reiteration of the brand mission in youth speak, with more news, wallpapers and downloadable images.

It’s hard to find fault with Rossignol.com. Each site area is strategically implemented, targeted yet cohesive with the site as a whole. The look and feel is on par with the superior design sensibility of the product and brand identity. Messaging is used to reinforce its category leadership position throughout using creative methods that strike a delicate balance between younger and older, novice and professional skiers and snowboarders alike. Overall, Rossignol.com provides an effective and inspirational venue for the product line as well as numerous branded offline pursuits. Well done.

 

Vivian Manning-Schaffel is a freelance writer who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

     
*Due to the constantly changing environment of websites, some reviews may no longer reflect the current website for this brand.
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