Edited by Andy Pike
Chapter 6: Sports Equipment: Mixing Performance with Brands – the Role of the Consumers
Atle Hauge INTRODUCTION We provide high quality, protective technical gear for work survival and sport. We work and play in the harshest environments on the planet to learn what’s needed to create the best performance gear possible. We work closely with people who work and/or play outdoors more days than they are indoors to continuously optimize the technology and design of our products. (Norwegian sports and outdoor equipment manufacturer Helly Hansen’s homepage, http:// www.hellyhansen.com/about-us, accessed 25 November 2009) Most theorists, literature and studies on how to survive in today’s highly competitive and global economy seem to agree on one thing – innovation is the key to success (Porter 1990; Scott 1995; Storper 1997; Maskell and Malmberg 1999; Florida 2002). This mirrors the widespread belief that continual improvements are the basic elements required to maintain dynamic competitive advantages. The innovation literature is broad and abundant (Malmberg and Power 2006), but a common feature is the notion that few good ideas develop in a vacuum; innovation is a collective process and involves different kinds of social interaction (Asheim 1999). Innovations are in most cases less the product of individual firms than of the assembled resources, knowledge, and other inputs and capabilities that concentrate in specific places. However, most of the innovation literature has had a bias towards the firm and/or groups of firms. Less has been said about how these superior products find their way to the consumers. When it comes to consumer preferences, there is often an implicit assumption that the...
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