It is a common position in many other industries, but it is pretty much a first in our Sport. And it could only be in a company like Starboard, a company driven by innovation.
Erik Berglihn, born in Norway and Marketing Guru, is the new “Growth Manager” for Starboard. He looks and researches the real world, finds new market tendencies, new needs for the market and reports it back to HQ to adjust their production and marketing strategies.
During the last week of March, as part of a two weeks World tour, Erik flew to the UK to visit shops, schools, holiday companies and the RYA to understand how the UK industry really ticks and how initiatives could be introduced.
Erik says ‘ Starboard has established it’s design reputation by delivering very innovative boards into the market. But we must now evolve with the sport and recognise that we may need to change our own marketing and development process to get windsurfing growing at the level it deserves. Last week I was in China and what turned out to be a standard importership meeting ended up with me meeting representatives from the Chinese government agreeing to look at manufacturing with the purpose of making windsurfing a major sport. Their windsurfing Gold medal had an incredible effect on this country. My job is to also listen and see what is happening at the consumer level – and then introduce strategies to help increase the participation of windsurfing. I think the UK has one of the strongest windsurfing markets in the World – you have fantastic shops and the RYA seem to have a very effective schooling and Olympic structure’.
The last stop on his UK tour was with Andy Biggs. Andy Biggs has just finished opening his new shop premises on Hayling Island. Andy reports; ‘ Family watersport activity is growing and we are seeing a phenomenal growth in Stand-up-paddleboards with the windsurfing option. If all the predictions about more people taking holidays in the UK are true – then we will be ready. We have all the latest windsurfing products in stock and plenty of beach activities planned for 2009’.
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