CCM HOCKEY: THE RE-LAUNCH OF THE U+ PRO SKATE
Since the first introduction of its automobile skate in 1905, Canada Cycle and Motor Company Limited (CCM) has been a dominant player in the hockey skate market. By introducing numerous hi-tech features into its products, CCM has been able to establish itself as a major competitor in the world of hockey skates, ranking 3rd in the global market share ranking of the Skates market for Hockey Equipment Companies (Exhibit 7). However, with recent changes in demand and technological advancements in the hockey skate market, CCM has been experiencing drop in market share and sales. As the hockey skate market matures and becomes more concentrated with a few large competitors (Exhibit 6), the competition to provide high-quality top-notch products increases. With the hopes of satisfying the most critical target segment of consumers aged from 12-18, who are known as “the Boss”, CCM launched its new line of skate known as U+ Pro that incorporated the U-Foam technology which had the ability to take unique shape of each individual foot. The production and launch of the U+ Pro skate was rushed as CCM took aggressive marketing actions to push its product through to its retailers and finally to reach the end users. As a result, the new line of skates started experiencing quality issues soon after, mainly in its durability, and CCM has since attempted to fix this problem through re-launch of its new and improved line of skates known as U+ Pro Reloaded. CCM has decided to change its traditional launch strategy of releasing its products in March/April, and instead decided to release during the fall hoping that consumers, having acquired these skates in the fall, would use them in the coming summer (Refer to Appendix (A) for detailed timeline of events leading up to the decision). CCM now faces a major decision in deciding the marketing and positioning strategy for their new line of U+ Pro Reloaded skates, which has been overshadowed by the U+ name whose potential for success was missed in the minds of consumers. In order to recommend an effective execution of the launch strategy for the U+ Pro Reloaded, the industry, external environment, and the competition in the industry will have to be evaluated first. This evaluation can be conducted using Porter’s five forces analysis which includes the assessment on 5 main forces that pose as threats on the industry (Refer to Appendix (B) for detailed analysis of the 5 forces). According to this analysis, it seems that the ‘threat of substitutes’ poses the strongest force on the hockey equipment industry. This means that, in their new product launch strategy, CCM will have to think carefully about emphasizing on the reasons as to why consumers should help preserve the hockey tradition as well as the passion for the sport, rather than thinking about switching to other cheaper sports. Moreover, since the buying power of consumers is low, rather than paying attention on price, CCM should pay more attention towards providing the ‘Boss’ segment of younger consumers with the intangible qualities that these consumers look for in a product, such as endorsements by superstar NHL players, as well as these consumers’ aspiration to look good in the skates and to be a player with finesse. Hence, CCM can possibly look into re-allocating more of its product launch budget towards marketing and production. After analyzing the external environment, the industry as a whole, and the competitors within it, one can go on to look at CCM’s current position in the marketplace, and evaluate on the development of the initial new product launch process to see whether changes are needed. Since its early beginnings, CCM has managed to establish itself as the pioneer in providing products with hi-tech functionalities. CCM has been better known in the world of hockey equipment for its skates due to its creation of the Tackaberry boot in 1937, which was the first pair of...
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