Anyone who is active in the shooting sports industry is accustomed to an unending bombardment of surveys and studies, each theoretically imparting some gems of truth that are intended to convince one that they will give a sales edge, or market advantage that cannot be ignored.
It is easy to become jaded because the truth is that there are no shortcuts to success. Luck can play a role, but shortcuts are out. That said, one recent survey showed a number of things, including where brand loyalty fits into the overall picture.
This poll was somewhat different from others in that it looked at what shooters and anglers actually buy rather than what some talking heads in a focus group belched out during a well-choreographed marketing session. Not surprisingly, brand loyalty is still huge.
If you think about it much, it is a no-brainer. Shooters especially are not known for their progressive outlooks on life in general, or anything in particular. Comfort zones involve familiarity – familiarity with specific kinds of products, brands, you name it.
Witness the fact that Model 1898 Mauser design rifles remain “current,” or that Model 1911 handguns are selling better now than they did in the early days of the 20th Century.
With that in mind, the folks at Leupold & Stevens up north in Beaverton, Oregon are pumping a riflescope line that carries the Redfield name. There was a time not all that long ago when the two brands where slugging it out in the sales trenches as head-to-head competitors.
But things changed in ’08 when Leupold bought the Redfield name (now 100 years old, but two years younger than the Leupold brand). Redfield is a brand that saw a variety of owners during the past few decades.
New is the Redfield Revolution scope line that includes four models -- 2-7x33mm, 3-9x40mm, 3-9x50mm and a 4-14x50mm. Pricing goes from $129.99 to $219.99.
Leupold has been wrestling with ways to address the lower end price market for quite a while. Their flagship scopes always have been on the upper end of American brands, and in recent times, the company has come out with even higher end models while offering one comparatively more affordable line.
But at the new Redfield price point, Leupold is hitting a piece of the market it never really has had, and in a tight economy, it makes total sense.
As impressive to me as the resurrection of the Redfield brand happens to be, the exciting part of the bigger picture is that Leupold is making a bold market statement in the process.
These are the kinds of things that are done when companies are strong and being bold within the marketplace. It’s an offensive move, and that is heartening to see. In the current economy, many outfits that are in a squeeze are going on defense.
That’s what makes the shooting sports industry so great. There are always some companies that bring new things or brands to market.
Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a former WON Guns and Hunting Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.