Adding a RECCO® reflector to their product enables brands to talk about safety and show that they care about it
Manuel Duermoser is Global Brand and Marketing Manager at RECCO AB who claims that in order to make and keep the Brand Promise, it is crucial for a company to answers not only “What”, but the “Why?” question as well. Impressed by their Ingredient Brand and their “Be searchable” slogan, we decided to speak to him and find out how RECCO® established a must-have Ingredient Brand in the outdoor market, successfully expanded from winter into summer activities and further integrate their searchable technology into everyday consumer products.
1. With its memorable and well thought-off slogan "Be Searchable", RECCO® became the absolute must-have Ingredient Brand in outerwear, helmets, protection gear and boots for hundreds of outdoor brands. How did you successfully established your Ingredient Brand?
It all started with talking and listening closely to our rescue experts, who use our detectors at their daily job looking for buried people in avalanches or lost people in the outdoors. After all, their comments condensed down to that they want people to Be Searchable when they are outdoors. Meaning this starts with wearing bright clothes, a whistle, a RECCO Reflector, an avalanche transceiver, GPS beacon, cell-phone, etc. Rescuers always want to help as fast as they can and in order to do so they need to find one first.
The RECCO technology is by its design a very simple solution for the user to be searchable. It is a passive transponder, small, light and does not need any power. This passive transponder called RECCO Reflector enables the rescuer to always find you with a RECCO detector. You are searchable. Since it is such a simple and robust solution it was natural to start to integrate reflectors into winter and outdoor products. So, the users become searchable by just wearing their usual gear. There is nothing that can be forgotten, the reflector is just there for the case it is needed one day. So, there is a functional/ technical benefit to promote and introduce RECCO as an ingredient part of another product.
However, since the technical function of RECCO does not contribute to the core function of the product itself, like it does not make the jacket more waterproof or provides a better grip to a shoe, it is even more a necessity to answer to the consumer the question “Why?”. The answer is our brand, what we stand for and what we promise to deliver.
"Through our brand promise we deliver not the core function of the product which we sit in, we add an additional dimension to it, which we call safety dimension. Adding a RECCO reflector to your product enables you to talk about safety and show that you care about it in an authentic way. Building on the real opinion of rescue experts from around the world that is: Be Searchable."
2. From the start, RECCO® was focused on the avalanche awareness as being a part of the snow safety equipment. Recently, you expanded into the field of summer outdoor activities; how come you've recognized the potential of brand expansion in that area as well?
The vision to use the technology not only for avalanche burial rescue but also to look for people lost in the outdoors was there from the very beginning when everything started in 1983. However the technology was simply not available at that time to make it possible.
Over the course of time the development on the cell phone market enabled us to adopt technologies and elements that eventually were used to build what we have to today.
Now we have a tool that will enable rescuers to cover large areas of open terrain fast by searching from a helicopter. We are still using the same technology, what happened is an evolution of the detector, the search unit itself. It became much bigger and stronger. Rescuers will hang it on the helicopter and scan the area beneath them. An area of 1 km2 can be covered within 6 minutes. Since it is still the same technology it works with all kind of RECCO reflectors ever sold and to be sold.
What was most important to keep the development work ongoing towards the summer market was again the close contact to our rescue experts already using the avalanche rescue system. Listening to their feedback we had no doubt that there is much a bigger demand for a tool that helps to find a missing person in the outdoors compared to the avalanche rescue tool. Purely because people get lost year round all over the world.
3. Your latest innovations are the RECCO® rescue reflector and the integration of your searchable technology in a watchstrap. What do you expect from the integration into consumer products from Recco® for the future of your brand?
By expanding our system from avalanche rescue to year-round search and rescue, we also expand our relevants to completely new types of markets and consumers. A large number of people move in the outdoors with different kind of interests and motivations. We are basically relevant for everyone, being in the outdoors, since the risk to get lost and missing is present to everyone.
To figure out where to focus on first, we asked again our rescue experts, who are the people they are looking for the most? Hikers, was the most common answer.
Being aware of that we developed RECCO rescue reflectors available for consumers, that are meant to be attached to their product, like backpack or helmet. Which means the reflector becomes a part of the natural gear of the user.
Introducing direct to consumer products gives us also the opportunity to define and show the monetary value of RECCO rescue reflector, which reflects back onto the value of reflectors integrated inside a jacket or shoe of our partner brands. At the same time the consumer reflectors will enable a faster growth of the year-round system, more people will have the opportunity to become searchable in the areas where RECCO SAR Helicopter Detectors are in place.
To start with watchstraps is very exciting for us. Due to the broad spectrum of our new user base, we favor universally used products through out different demographics and interests and watches are definitely part of this category. Stepping more into these segments of consumer products will not just offer a great potential to actually make more people searchable but also to reach more people to create awareness to Be Searchable when in the outdoors. Eventually more people will be searchable and this will help rescuers to save lives.