To fight, to quarrel



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Vendetta – “to fight, to quarrel.” Vendetta Helmets is fighting back in response to the epidemic of long-term head injuries that has recently embodied the nature of football. A study done by the National Center for Injury Prevention found that “47% of high school football players say they suffer a concussion each season, with 35% of those reporting multiple concussions in a single season” (Shaw 2011). One can assume these numbers are greater at the collegiate and professional levels, where the blows to the head come at much greater impact. Our helmets, using padding that was inspired by memory foam, will mold to a players head and provide superior protection for a player in a football game. Vendetta Helmets will also feature a one-of-a-kind cooling system that is integrated into our foam padding to provide extra comfort during those brutally hot days. Vendetta Helmet’s patented technology has never been seen before and is by far and away the best choice of helmet for any football player at any level of play.

Consumer/Market Analysis
The sporting industry is a constantly growing and helmet safety is one of the hottest topics in sports today. The sport of football has quickly become America’s most popular sport with an estimated 17 million kids playing organized football in youth leagues all the way through the high school level.

The protective sporting equipment industry is booming in today’s economy, last year the industry was estimated to be a $738 Million dollar industry (Protective Sports Equipment Manufacturing in the US: Market Research Report). This year the numbers are increase due to the sudden concern of concussions throughout the sport. As of right now, the market is completely owned and dominated by two companies: Riddell and Schutt Sports. Collectively, Riddell and Schutt Sports own nearly 95% of the market while the other 5% of the market is shared by Xenith (a newcomer to the industry) and Rawlings (mainly known for baseball and clothing, made a return to the market after taking a 20 year hiatus from the helmet industry). Riddell is easily the biggest name in the helmet industry as they are the official outfitter of the National Football League and dominates on the college level as well. After years of dominating the market, it is quite surprising to see that from the numbers from 2001 Riddell only owns approximately 37% of the market. With between 7-8 million kids playing organized youth football, Schutt sports decided to take a different route in making their name in the market by making youth leagues their target market. Targeting the youth market resulted in Schutt Sports owning nearly 57% of the market in 2011. As a new company entering the market, our plan is to go directly after the youth market just as Schutt Sports has done in the past. As soon as we get our company cemented within the youth helmet market, we will then have a good enough reputation to finally branch out and hit the College and Professional target market.

Due to our product being a very specific or a “Specialty” product, the Market size will obviously be somewhat limited. Our goal within the first year of full production is to make a splash within the market and take over between 5-10 percent of the market. We are fully aware that this may be a difficult goal to achieve but we strongly believe that our product is good enough and unique enough to stand up against the titans of the industry on day one. Within 5 years we plan to own at least 25% of the market, making us one of the biggest names in the helmet industry. Within 10 years Vendetta Helmets will be the biggest name on the market and the current big names like Schutt and Riddell will look up to us.

Our market potential is through the roof. We believe that the product that we are putting on the market is going to satisfy all of the consumer needs (safety, style, reliability, technology). We know exactly who our potential customers are going to be and there are potentially 17 million customers out there to go get. Competition is strong but we believe our product is and will continue to be far superior to the competition. As the industry grows, so will we, to become the best you must be willing to evolve and as technology and the industry changes we will be ahead of all of the changes that will come. We have hired an elite group of engineers to help us stay ahead of any trends that may come our way. With all of the factors listed above, we truly believe the Vendetta's Market Potential is tremendous.



Consumer behavior is exactly what is going to make us successful in this industry. Over the last 5 years, the media’s concern on concussions and head trauma has been intense. There has been a much larger focus on safety especially on the youth level. Putting out an elite product when it comes to safety in this day in age will change the industry as we know it. The Vendetta Helmet offers a level of safety that has yet to be seen in the industry and that is why we think the product will be so successful. Consumers will be our backbone and their concerns are what will drive us.

Competitors
A brief overlook of our main competitors:

Riddell: Started in 1939 by John Tate Riddell when he invented the first plastic suspension helmet (Hillard, 2012). Ever since that day Riddell has been the biggest name in the football helmet industry. You can see the Riddell helmet just about everywhere. Riddell is the official helmet of the NFL and dominates the College level as well.

Schutt Sports: Founded in 1918, Schutt sports made their first splash in the football industry when they invented their version of the helmet faceguard in 1935. (Schutt Sports, 2012) Due to their cheaper prices, Schutt Sports has become the leader in the youth market owning over 57% of the market.

Xenith: Breaking into the industry in 2006, Xenith prides themselves on their innovative thermoplastic shock absorbers. Xenith has become a respectable name in the helmet industry. (Xenith.com, 2012)

Rawlings: After taking a 20 year hiatus of producing helmets, Rawlings is back in the market with their NRG Helmet.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths: The biggest strength for our company/product is the safety and reliability that our product provides to the consumer. Our innovative memory foam will provide safety and comfort that hasn’t been seen anywhere else around the market. Our technologically advanced cooling system will provide a feature that has yet to be seen and will be a must have feature to any customer. Word-of-Mouth will also be one of our big strengths once the players put on the helmet get on that field, realizing how great of a product we have produced. Parents will also be a strength because they all talk to each other and word about the product will travel.

Weaknesses: Our biggest weakness will be competing within a market in which two companies own 95% of the market. We know it’s going to an uphill battle but we believe that our product is good enough to take away a huge chunk of that Market. Another weakness would be that since our helmet is a specialty item and we will have to figure out new and creative ways to advertise to that small buyer market.

Opportunities: Once we are able to get our company to certain level of comfort we are planning on branching our brand out and introducing shoulder pads and clothing to our consumers. We cannot just rely on our helmets to carry us. We must be able to introduce new and innovative products to keep our company interesting and profitable. Another opportunity is going to be international marketing. With American Football becoming more and more popular overseas, it will allow us to take our brand to an international level.

Threats: Our biggest threats are obviously going to be the titans within the industry (Riddell and Schutt Sports). Another threat is going to be the media's constant scrutiny of concussion prevention. With a larger focus on what we produce and how it holds up, we will have to stay on top of our game. Another threat is going to be the constant technology advancements throughout the industry. It seems like every few years a company is developing new and innovative helmet components.

Product and Marketing Strategies

Our helmet is designed to increase safety and decrease injuries that occur during normal participation in the game of football. One of the most influential differences in this helmet is the fact that it has padding, much like memory foam, rather than air pouches that most of the helmets on the market have. These air pouches tend to deflate, therefore causing safety problems. Once the helmet has been fitted appropriately to the player, their head will be surrounded by a much more effective source of protection in comparison to those used in the past.

In addition to the memory foam, another important aspect about our helmet is that there will be a cooling gel within the memory foam that is activated when heated up. This will keep the player much cooler during the game and ensure that they will not overheat. By having the cooling gel integrated in our new age memory foam, Vendetta Helmets has created the safest helmet yet.

When designing this product, we were thinking of something that could take over the market because it has something that no other product in the industry has. The technology that is used to make Vendetta Helmets will help create its own niche in the industry that could make us successful. In doing so, all the revenue generated will not come in by simply putting the product on the shelves and hoping people will buy it. We have outlined certain target markets, and it’s competitive advantage along with how we are going to position the helmet.

Vendetta Helmets will be positioned in the market in a way that will be more expensive but will also make the buyers more willing to purchase due to its safety. Our helmet will be priced at a more expensive rate because of the advanced technology that will be incorporated within it. Due to the advanced technology it will make buyers more willing to purchase because of the overwhelming factor or safety. Spending more money on this helmet is good for the consumer in the long run because it will reduce or eliminate possible medical costs in the future.

By using certain marketing strategies, Vendetta Helmets will be targeting specific markets like families who have children who play football recreationally. In addition, we will be focusing heavily on teams and leagues to create a very efficient marketing plan. In order for our company to use the hybrid approach of push and pull strategies, we will plan on selling the helmets to the various markets mentioned. When selling the helmets to individuals, we will be targeting student athletes and younger children who play recreational football. By doing this the company will be using push strategies as the helmets would be purchased in retail stores where employees would attempt to sell the helmet to the buyer.

Furthermore, by incorporating the pull strategy, Vendetta Helmets will only create helmets on a need basis when teams would order the helmets in bulk. That way the cost would be much lower because they would not be going through a retail store and the team can get the helmets right from the manufacturer. A goal of the website will be to attract more teams to buy directly from the company and get more teams to buy our helmets for all of their players. Another way that our company will create large buyers is by setting up presentations to various football organizations and investors which in turn can create large amounts of sales. We would only be manufacturing products on an as need basis.

Price

We will use competitive and premium pricing strategies to succeed in the football helmet market. The football helmet industry is dominated by two companies, Riddell and Schutt, which account for 90% of the market share (Lazich 2009). Our goal is to use a premium pricing strategy relative to the other companies that have 10% of the market, and use a competitive pricing strategy relative to Riddell and Schutt. Therefore, we will distinguish our product from the lower quality products, but also challenge top products by offering our product at a lower price. Our competitors’ prices are as follows:




Name

Price

Riddell 360

$376.99

Schutt Vengeance DCT

$255.00

Xenith X2

$235.00

Rawlings NRG Quantum Plus

$260.00

(“Riddell 360 Helmet,” “NRG Quantum Plus,” “Xenith X2 Varsity,” and “Vengeance DCT”)

More specifically, considering our competitors’ pricing in the above table, we plan to price our Vendetta helmet at $317.95. This price will show consumers that our helmet is high-quality. However, at the same time, $317.95 makes our helmet competitive with Riddell and Schutt’s helmets and gives consumers a third option to choose from when looking in the $250-$400 price range. Our price of $317.95 implies better quality than Schutt’s helmet and more affordability than Riddell’s helmet.

In terms of cost, we strive to keep costs low, and thus be able offer our helmet at competitive prices relative to our top competitors. It costs us $196.00 to make the helmet; we will sell it directly to the customer at $317.95 ($121.95 profit per unit). Since we will be selling large quantities to retailer and whole-sellers as well, we will offer the product at a discounted price to them at $249.99 and set the suggested retail price at $317.95 with a $10.00 variance (allow the retailer/whole-seller to sell it at $327.95 or $307.95 to stay competitive). The whole goal is to make money, by setting a competitive price-point and keeping costs low we should be profitable in no time.

Furthermore, we will offer discounts throughout the year. For example, football season is in the fall and we plan to offer online discounts in the summer right before the season starts to increase sales. Moreover, we will also offer major yearly sales to our retailers and wholesalers in order to ensure bulk deals. All of our discounts will be designed to pry consumers away from our competitors and gain brand loyalty.



Distribution

Vendetta Helmets will target U.S. consumers and base its distribution centers in Florida, Texas, California, and Ohio.  Distribution centers will be located in the previously listed states because high school football is extremely popular and serious in these states (Jackson, “Talent Pool”).  Thus, Vendetta Helmets will ensure that these states will have priority in our distribution.  Furthermore, the intensity of distribution will vary seasonally. With football season beginning in the fall, distribution will increase during the summer when players are buying equipment and continue into the fall. Moreover, Vendetta Helmets will selectively distribute its helmets to traditional store-based retailers, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Sports Authority.  Vendetta Helmets will sell its helmets at all Dick’s Sporting Goods and Sports Authority store locations, but more heavily stock the stores in Florida, Texas, California, Ohio, or adjacent states because of reasons listed above.

In addition to selling helmets at traditional store-based retailers, Vendetta Helmets will also have a website on which it will sell its helmets, including customizable ones.  Consumers will have the option to change the colors, face masks, chin straps, and visors of their helmets.  E-Commerce will attract more customers for Vendetta Helmets because it offers convenience and customization.   For example, certain store locations may not have the exact product that a customer wants.  E-Commerce ensures that a customer gets exactly what he/she wants through the website’s customization tools.  Our website can be found at: http://vendettahelmets.webs.com/

In addition to selling single helmets to individuals at retail stores, Vendetta Helmets will sell helmets directly to NFL and college football teams.  Whereas middle-school or high-school players may want to buy their own helmets from a retailer, NFL and college football teams buy their helmets directly from the manufacturer in bulk purchases. For example, Riddell is the official helmet provider of the NFL (“NFL Renews Contract with Riddell Sports”).  Therefore, Vendetta Helmets will work to complete contracts with the NFL and college football teams to sell its helmets.  



Diagram of channels of distribution

Manufacturer



Distribution Center



Pro or Collegiate teams Retail store Website

Consumer


Vendetta Helmets’ channel structure is direct when it sells its products to NFL or college teams, as the helmets are made by the manufacturer and shipped directly to the teams.  On the other hand, Vendetta Helmets’ channel structure is indirect when a consumer buys a helmet.  In that case, the consumer buys the helmet from the retailer.  That helmet was made by the manufacture, sent to the distribution center, and sent to the retailer before the consumer could purchase it.  Lastly, when a consumer purchases a helmet over the internet, the structure is also indirect.  The manufacturer has to make product, send it to the distribution center, and ship it to the consumer.  

Finally, Vendetta Helmets will use a multichannel distribution strategy to broaden its market.  Consumers will be able to buy helmets from retail stores, over the internet, and directly from the manufacturer.  A multichannel distribution strategy allows Vendetta Helmets to meet a variety of consumers’ needs.  First, the stores allow consumers to physically interact with the product before they purchase it.  Secondly, NFL and college teams can buy the product directly from the manufacturer.  And, thirdly, consumers can customize their helmets by using Vendetta Helmet’s website.

Promotion
One of the most important parts of promoting our product will be to get it in the hands of the athletes that will be using it. We will accomplish this through test and trial sessions in which the athletes will use our helmets and give us feedback, which will be crucial to our promotional development. By partnering with athletes, we will be able to develop testimonials. Our goal is to get recognized athletes to train with our products so that the followers of those recognized athletes will be able to identify our product with that specific athlete. Furthermore, by getting recognized athletes to use our products, the influence that those athletes have will be a driving force for further promoting Vendetta Helmets.

In order to partner up with athletes, our company will start by going to the public and private school systems of both collegiate and secondary education systems. Specifically, we will get our helmets into the athletic programs of these schools that are not under existing contracts with other helmet companies. By getting into these programs we not only give our product a platform to be used in, but we also give our product the chance for public recognition. Secondary and Collegiate level sports are all covered by the public media and as a result, our product will receive attention from many different media channels.

Another way that we will promote our product is by emphasizing the unique and patented features of our helmets. Recently, hundreds of cases have been arising related to brain trauma and injury caused by impact during football games. In certain cases, these brain injuries have been directly related to poor helmet protection. Considering our helmet, it provides a degree of safety that has never before been available to football players. With the specific safety features that our helmets offer, like the patented cooling system and memory foam like padding, we will be able to advertise and promote ourselves unlike any other helmet provider. We can seek recognition and promotion from doctors and safety agencies that our helmet protects players better than our competitors. In addition, we can appeal to the school systems. By promoting our product to the parents of the younger athletes, we have an excellent chance to gain more support and market share for our product. This aspect of our promotional efforts will greatly benefit our recognition in not only the athletic world but also in the general public.

Our company will also promote ourselves through mainstream media. By using the testimonials of trial athletes, as well as the recognition from safety agencies, we will be able to publicly promote our helmets with success. Being that we are a new company entering a big market, we face significant obstacles to overcome. However, since Vendetta Helmets is able to promote ourselves from a platform of safety that no other company can duplicate, Vendetta Helmets will immediately draw the attention of the greater public who trust the word of their fellow athletes and safety agencies.

In addition to the mainstream media that our product is already going to receive from our product placement in schools and university athletic programs, we will also advertise our product in the football venues. By running commercials and live interviews during televised events, millions of people will become aware of our brand. Additionally, since the athletic world is currently engulfed in taking greater safety measures, we also have the chance to get in magazine articles. We will pursue Sports illustrated, ESPN, as well as other written sources to further promote ourselves.

Lastly, as stated in the Price section, our profit per unit will be about $122, but Vendetta Helmets will donate large sums of their revenue to further our research and to broaden our technological capabilities. Social responsibility should gear the majority towards choosing our helmets. Our message is simple and effective, as our company is “Preserving Memory, One Brain Cell at a Time.”



Financial Component

Do projections of sales and breakeven points make sense given the marketing strategy and marketing operations? The protective sporting equipment industry is a $738 million dollar industry (Protective Sports Equipment Manufacturing in the US: Market Research Report). Over the last few years the industry has skyrocketed due to the sudden media and global concern of football concussions. Currently, the future of the protective sporting equipment industry is almost limitless. The sport of football is played in almost every city and town across the United States and we have even seen the game spreading globally in recent years. Every level of the sport requires the purchase of helmet, whether it is an individual purchase or a bulk purchase for an entire team or league.

As a new company, we will have start-up costs that existing companies no longer have to deal with. We foresee to be operating at a loss until we are able to position and promote Vendetta Helmets accordingly. Moreover, since our product’s technology is unique and patented, we can afford to charge for the quality of our product. A Vendetta Helmet has a listed retail price of $317.95. Our helmets are priced competitively to our two top competitors. At this price, we believe that not only will the existing market be willing to try our product out, but also we believe that the market will be willing to invest in our promise as the safest helmet available. A consumer is willing to pay for safety but only to a certain extent. Once we have grabbed the attention of the athletic arena and current market, we will be able to raise our prices to allow for a larger profit margin and expansion.

At $317.95 per unit, we believe that our profit margins will be high enough to continue to reinvest and develop even safer products for our athletes. Furthermore, with our profit margins allowing us, we plan to expand our product into other contact sports such as lacrosse and boxing. Since our technology is patented this will not be difficult so long as our profits allow us to continue to pursue research and development. We plan to continue to grow our brand and take more of the sporting equipment market share. In addition, we could potentially raise prices further once the public has realized the full appreciation that Vendetta Helmets brings to the world of contact sports.



Conclusion

With strong combinations in company name, logo, and slogan, Vendetta Helmets will surely be able to deliver our messages effectively and motivate our potential clients. Our helmets will penetrate and overcome the market quicker than any other sports equipment has been able to do. Our product promises safety and satisfaction as well as delivers. As soon as we are able to get our product into the hands of fellow athletes, our clients will quickly realize there is no alternative to a Vendetta Helmet. Vendetta Helmets are developed with a technology that none of our competitors can match, which is the main reason why we will find major success in the sporting industry.

Works Cited
Ed. Lazich, Robert S. and Virgil L. Burton III. “Football Helmet Market, 2009.” Market Share Reporter.2013 ed. Detroit: Gale Group, 2013. 822 pp. 2 vols. Gale Directory Library. Gale. Towson University. Web. Nov. 30, 2012.
Hillard, N. (n.d.). Riddell Athletics: History. Riddell Athletics: History. Retrieved December 03, 2012, from http://sitemaker.umich.edu/sm101003b/history
Jackson, Dallas. “Talent Pool: Where the D1 Signees Come From.” RivalsHigh.com. Feb. 7, 2011. Web. Nov. 21, 2012
“NFL Renews Contract with Riddell Sports.” LicenseMag.com. Aug. 17, 2009. Web. Nov. 21, 2012.
“NRG Quantum Plus.” Rawlingsfootball.com. N.D. Web. Dec. 3, 2012.

"Protective Sports Equipment Manufacturing in the US: Market Research Report." Protective Sports Equipment Manufacturing in the US Market Research. IBISWorld, July 2012. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. .


“Riddell 360 Helmet.” Riddell.com. N.D. Web. Dec. 3, 2012.
Shaw, Gina. "WebMD." WebMD. (2011): n. page. Web. 3 Dec. 2012. .

“Vengeance DCT.” Schuttsports.com. N.D. Web. Dec. 3, 2012



Schutt Sports. (n.d.). Schutt Sports- History Timeline. Schutt Sports- History Timeline. Retrieved from http://www.schuttsports.com/aspx/general/historytimeline.aspx
“Xenith X2 Varsity.” Xenith.com. N.D. Web. Dec. 3, 2012.


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