Trademarketing Resources
Case Studies Polaris


Brands: Polaris ®

Product: Rugged Outdoor Footwear

Since the introduction of the Polaris ® brand in 1954, Polaris has always meant ruggedness, durability, and dependability. Even more so, the brand has become synonymous with the outdoors. Riding a Polaris snowmobile or ATV allows a person to not only tame the elements but to enjoy oneself while doing so. Further, though today the ATV is Polaris’s largest selling line of vehicles, the company traces its roots to the rugged winters in Minnesota and the snowmobile that it arguably invented to deal with the snow and cold that come that time of year. Against that background, Polaris has positioned the brand as “The Way Out ™” in all of its activities, including its advertising and promotional efforts. “The Way Out” means to the consumer that the brand is the way to get out; get outside, get outdoors, get out and get away from your day-to-day obligations and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer.

TRI’s Concepteation™ process quickly identified that footwear was a natural brand extension for Polaris. The consumer feedback was very strong on both appropriateness of the brand for the product and the consumer’s intent to purchase should the product become available. Armed with a compelling message supported by indisputable research data, TRI’s sales force set out to find the right partner to bring Polaris Rugged Outdoor Footwear to market.

The TRI Solution
Once again, the challenge faced by TRI was not simply to find someone willing to license the brand, but to find someone that shared the vision of the brand and would be able to develop and market a line that would meet the demanding expectations of the Polaris consumer.

Ultimately, in 2002 a license was executed with International Seaway Trading Corporation (ISTC) of Boca Raton, Florida. For over 65 years, ISTC has been a front runner in global footwear and has established a reputation for quality, service and partnership with its customers. Even better, key executives of the company traced their roots back to the Midwest and were Polaris enthusiasts. They knew the brand and knew how to translate the brand equity into a footwear line.

Utilizing their long-standing relationships with Target Stores (headquartered near Polaris in Minneapolis), ISTC took prototype designs to the buyers at Target. In reality, Target was relatively happy with their then-current footwear supply arrangements. Many months and a series of meetings later, Target ® agreed to test-market a line of fall and winter boots and shoes, choosing to first leverage the 50+ years of heritage the Polaris brand brought to the Winter season. The results of the test market were resoundingly positive. Target agreed to roll the line out system wide. Polaris ® Rugged Outdoor Footwear unit sales there totaled over a million pairs.

Today, literally hundreds of SKU’s are available spanning virtually all styles and fitments – men’s, women’s, and children’s. The cost/value relationship represented by the Polaris shoes and boots has never before made it to the market. The degree of insulation, water-resistance, comfort, and durability represented in the Polaris line has never before been offered in its price-point. Distribution has now shifted into a broader base of retailers, spanning mass and specialty retailers. Year after year, sales continue to increase. The license is a “win” for the consumer, for ISTC, for Polaris, and for the associated retailers. It is TRI’s ability to ensure that the licenses it writes work for all the stakeholders that makes TRI unique in the licensing industry.

For more information on the Polaris Licensing Program, please click here.

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