Amsterdam, July 6th, 2020- While many industries are struggling to keep their heads above water, the cycling industry is one of the few industries that is booming right now. So as the era of Corona carries on and 2020’s paradigm-shifting pandemic remains a theme of nearly every conversation, the team here at Twotone decided to make a concerted effort to really understand how our clients have been affected by Covid-19. Has it actually been a blessing in disguise for our clients and the industry at large? What adversity has been overcome and how did they do it? We asked five of our clients one question: “What are the top 3 changes you’ve made to run your business to accommodate corona conditions?”. We hope these insights will help you understand what has been going on in the cycling industry, learn about what has worked for our clients, and identify what could potentially help your business, even if you’re in a different industry.
Cannondale, a premium brand of the Cycling Sports Group and a division of Dorel Industries, is a global cycling industry leader. They have a strong heritage in design, development, and manufacturing of high-performance bicycles, apparel, and accessories. As Twotone has been working with both the global team and the Benelux team, we decided to give you a global and more regional perspective on the current events. Sofia Whitcombe, Senior Public Relationship Manager for Dorel Sports, oversees all the PR projects from ideation to execution and is based in the United States. Her colleague Ruben van Loon is located in the Netherlands and is responsible for managing Cannondale and Fabric’s marketing activities in the Netherlands and Belgium.
- Unity over productivity – “Everything around the world is remote now”, Sofia says, “the company is still figuring out and learning to see what effect this shift will have in the future. The global team has weekly meetings with the regional leadership. Sofia, who has been working remotely for years, used to talk to her team once or twice a week, now they have daily check-ins. Around the world, checking in with the teams has become much more of a priority as people don’t see each other every day. This created the workplace to have a more human side to it. Everyone is experiencing this situation differently which requires teams to work more in unison, help each other, trying to be more empathetic, and learning to be more patient. The biggest thing that has changed is the interaction. There is much more interaction, while it does take away from productivity and add up a few hours to your day, this is really what the people need right now.”
- Assisting with Shop Stress – Bikeshops in the US, Belgium, and the Netherlands have been really busy. Customers are mostly coming by to tune up their bikes since they’re commuting with and riding their bikes more than ever. In order to meet their dealers’ needs and partially relieve them, Cannondale started the Ship-to-home program. Consumers can now call up their closest dealer to place an order of the bike they saw on the Cannondale website. The consumer does not have to leave the house, the dealer sells them the bike and Cannondale ships the order directly to the customer. Not to be confused with Direct-to-consumer, since they will continue to solely sell to bikeshops. However, this program makes it easier for shops to sell bikes without having to have them in stock. Bike shops are still selling out and Cannondale is trying to accommodate their dealers to the greatest extent possible and according to local guidelines.
- Launching without events –During the pandemic Cannondale still launched a few new bikes. While new models are typically launched with an event and nice ride, these were, of course, all canceled. The approach of recent launches changed to become more personal. Even though there were no group launch events that included face-to-face time with the team and often a few media rides, launches became individualized to each journalist. Although virtual, media were offered one-on-one time with Cannondale’s product team to receive a deep dive of each new product, then the new bike was sent directly to them allowing them to not only have a very clear understanding of the bike, but also really get a feel for the product on their local terrain.
For Cannondale, getting back to basics with improved communication with colleagues and editors a like reintroduced a personal aspect of work that had been lost in the hustle and bustle before and by introducing a means to support shops but get bikes to quarantined customers, they kept sales, press, and morale up despite the global slowdown.
Interested in reading about Twotone's conclusion and knowing more about the common themes that emerged in all interviews? Check it out here!