Trademarketing Resources
Case Studies Polaris Ride Ons

Polaris


Brands: Polaris ® Sportsman

Product: Children's Electric Ride-On Vehicles

Background
Polaris Industries and its Sportsman line of ATV’s have been industry leaders basically since there have been ATV’s. The Polaris Sportsman ATV is known for its ruggedness, dependability, and durability. The Sportsman leads the way in both work and play applications.

TRI’s Concepteation™ Process uncovered a strong desire in the Polaris customer base for a companion product to the Sportsman ATV that was targeted to the youth market. The Polaris consumer is typically suburban, married, and with children. The kids in these families wanted to be able to have a vehicle to ride when Mom or Dad rode. More importantly, they wanted to be able to emulate Dad. They weren’t looking for a mere toy. They wanted a vehicle that looked like a real ATV and one that shared all the ruggedness of the adult vehicle.

TRI’s challenges in this endeavor were many:

  • Find the right partner or partners that could share the vision and make it a reality
  • Work with the licensee partners to build a vehicle that would meet the demands of the Polaris consumer and Polaris management. If a line of children’s ride-on vehicles were to be sold under the Polaris brand, they would have to be built to the same standard of care as would have been the case had Polaris itself built the vehicles.
  • Work with the licensee partners and their retailers to ensure that the product line met the needs and desires of the retailers and that the ATV’s could be sold at competitive retail price points.


TRI’s task wasn’t simply to find someone that wanted to license the Polaris brand for children’s ride-on ATV’s, but to develop long-term relationships with key distribution partners. A “win” had to be found for Polaris, its customers, its dealers, mass retailers, and the licensees. In the end, it would take over two years of effort to bring the program to fruition and even longer than that to get the product to market. Success has been very rewarding, though!

The TRI Solution
TRI’s PUMP™ System identified all the significant players in the children’s electric ride-on category, both at manufacturer and retail levels. TRI opened a dialog with those players. This process ultimately entailed not only a category sale (many participants had not produced ATV ride-on vehicles before), a "licensing sale" (many had never licensed a brand before, preferring to sell generic vehicles), and a Polaris brand sale. After literally hundreds of discussions, TRI brokered a unique arrangement that met all the constituent needs outlined above. Peg Perego came on board as the manufacturer of the product and to handle distribution to mass retail. Peg was also to handle distribution to mass retail. RC2 also became a party to the license, with their focus being sales of vehicles to the Polaris dealer network.

Even at this point the objective was only partly met. Peg Perego, working closely with TRI, presented concept vehicles to key retailers in 2003. While the reception was positive, the retailers provided input into the designs that the retailers believed would make the line even better. Since the line would only be tooled once, this conundrum had to be resolved: Should we sell the product that was already designed (the retailers indicated they would buy it), or should we incorporate the changes (and thus miss the 2003 Holiday season)? Ultimately, it was decided that the long-term success of the line was more important than the short-term sales.

The retailer input was incorporated into the product. Shipments began in 2004. The line became a world-wide sensation, selling hundreds of thousands of units. Products were introduced that targeted both boys and girls and various age groups. Features like independent suspension were introduced to the category for the first time.

The product line’s success continues today and a plan is in place to ensure even more success in the future. Vehicles that allow two children to ride at the same time were introduced in 2006. Products with even more play-value are on the drawing board!

Please click here to request more information on the Polaris Licensing Program.


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