During the winter of 2010 an outerwear company by the name of Causwell made a big splash in the freeski community. Causwell had a very unique brand position, brining a much needed breath of fresh air to ski fashion. 2010 was smack dab in the middle of the ski fashions dark ages; were pretty much every person skiing in the terrain park resembled a king size bag of Skittles. Causwell based the majority of their first season release focusing on earth tones that could be fashionable both on and off the mountain.
Yes, there was an outlier that really resembled a bag of king size Skittles.
The promotion plan Causwell used to enter the winter outerwear market was untraditional and spot on. Instead of taking the traditional approach of debuting their outwear line up at Snow Sports Industries of America’s annual Trade Show (SIA). Causwell’s first move was unheard of at the time, releasing a cross promotional video with their parent company Surface Skis. Surface Skis was founded in 2004 and already had a large customer base that Causwell was able to utilize. The video was named Surface/Causwell Team at PC featured up and comers John Ware and Jeff Kiesel wearing only Causwell. After being filmed and edited Evan Heath the video was uploaded to Newschoolers and Vimeo. The video was very well revised from the skiing community racking up a combined 27 thousand views. Causwell knew how to communicate with their target market; there was no big press release about this cool new outwear brand. The video was simply uploaded, the views and comments about their outerwear poured in.
Causwell continued to ride out with their current brand image of being primarily for terrain park skiers for one season; until realizing it was possible to expand towards other aspects freeski world such as backcountry skiing. To access this market Causwell enlisted the help of Eric Pollard. Eric Pollard is more than just an innovative backcountry skier, he is a creator. The owner and head editor at Nimbus Independent a video production company focused on adventure and backcountry skiing. Eric is also renowned artist in the winter sports world designing his own pro model ski with Line Skis from the ground up since 2003, goggles with Dragon Alliance and accessories with Dakine. Eric’s taste was the perfect compass for Causwell’s new brand direction and image.
Causwell took a more traditional and professional route informing the public about their collaboration with Pollard; releasing the news to freeskiing media outlets Freeskier and Newschoolers. After the fire had started to burn out, Pollard and Causwell reignited the fire at the 2011 SIA Trade Show premiering his outwear line. Here are some photos from the first press release for Causwell and Eric Pollard Collaboration
Of course Causwell had a unique promotional plan for Pollard’s outwear line besides a press release and the 2011 SIA Trade Show. To continue feeding the flames Pollard and Causwell also released images of his outwear line in action on Facebook. These images were captured during their big picture promotional plan with Nimbus Independent and their En Route video series. The En Route video series was about skiing in unique locations such as Arlberg, Cascadia and Alaska. The other element besides skiing in these videos was the lifestyle Pollard and the rest of the Nimbus Independent crew take part in to produce their videos. The lifestyle aspect of these videos acted perfect opportunity to promote Causwell as functional both on and off the ski hill.
The En Route series was a success racking up views and shares with ease. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the business relationship between Causwell and Pollard. In early 2012 Pollard left Causwell, for long time accessory sponsor Dakine to help develop and design their outerwear. To this day no official statement has been released to why the separation happened; rumor has it the separation was related to payment.
After the separation with Pollard, Causwell started to slowly modify their brand image. The skiing content slowly stopped, changing outdoor lifestyle and then on to fly fishing. Yes, fly fishing.
This rebranding happened because Eric Pollard is such an influencer and legend in skiing. Having make an announcement about Pollard leaving Causwell would have been a very bad branding play and would have greatly effected their brand affinity. If Causwell wanted to continue to be a leader without Pollard; there legitimacy would have been heavily questioned to those who have never owned the outerwear.
It seems Causwell’s down fall was due to putting all of their eggs in one basket with Pollard and Nimbus Independent; to be the primary piece in their promotion campaign for the 2012 outerwear line. Because he is such an influencer the idea makes great sense on paper, the idea seemed like it could never fail from a marketing stand point. If Pollard would have not left Causwell, the brand would have been destined to taken off, making them a large player in the ski outerwear world. This is a great example showing what can happen to a brand if an influencer in a specific niche is added, promoted heavily, and then deserts the brand.