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Superbrands case studies: Berghaus

The Berghaus brand is synonymous with adventure and innovation. Founded in 1966, Berghaus has for more than four decades pushed the boundaries of what is possible with performance outdoor clothing, rucksacks and footwear. Throughout that time, the company has equipped and supported expeditions to the most demanding environments on the planet and the Berghaus team of sponsored athletes is a mix of iconic names and cutting-edge talent.

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Market
The outdoor market was in its infancy in the 1960s, populated by small, enthusiastic businesses. It has since grown into an industry that is worth hundreds of millions of pounds in the UK alone. Starting life as a small business in Newcastle upon Tyne, Berghaus soon established itself as a leading player in this emerging market sector. By the early 1970s, the brand had already delivered a category defining product in Cyclops, the first internal framed load carrying rucksack.

With one outstanding piece of kit, Berghaus earned a reputation for innovation that it has continued to enhance to the present day. Now, Berghaus designs and sells a wide range of performance outdoor clothing, footwear, rucksacks and accessories, and the market is getting bigger every year as more people buy into the outdoor lifestyle.

Achievements
The list of Berghaus' significant innovations and awards is too long to print in full here, but includes: launching the first commercially available Gore-Tex jacket in Europe; the Extrem range of technical products for the most demanding mountaineering challenges; the Millennium Product Award winning Nitro sac; the phenomenally successful Extrem Light range of clothing, footwear and rucksacks; and BioFlex, a rucksack system that allows the wearer to flex, twist and pivot at all times -- launched in 2005, the system was presented with an innovation award by the outdoor industry and has again redefined the load carrying sector.

Over the years, specialist outdoor magazines have tested hundreds of Berghaus products alongside the competition. The brand's products have won a huge number of 'best in' tests and reader awards, along with plaudits for berghaus.com and the company's advertising. In addition, in 2006 Berghaus was presented with a Queen's Award for Enterprise, for innovation demonstrated throughout the company.

Product
Berghaus designs products for a vast range of outdoor activities. Whether a consumer is climbing the toughest peak, scaling the highest rock face, skiing off piste in deep powder, mountain biking at breakneck speed or strolling through gentle countryside, Berghaus has clothing, footwear, rucksacks and accessories that will meet their needs.

Recent developments
Over the last few years, Berghaus has introduced a raft of new innovations and products. In 2005, the company launched the award winning BioFlex back system and followed it up with Next Generation -- Berghaus products for kids. The brand's most technical range, Extrem, continues to develop with the recent addition of mountaineering footwear, while the rest of the footwear range has been given a dramatic and successful makeover.

In 2007, Berghaus introduced the Ator collection -- high performance multi-activity outdoor products delivered in a stylish package. Ator has made a strong impact in its first season and will be expanded in 2008, and joined by 365Life, an outdoor inspired lifestyle range that incorporates organic cottons, recycled fabrics, vegetable tanning and other natural materials -- a serious step by Berghaus to start reducing the environmental impact of its products.

Promotion
Testing and promoting these innovations and products from across the Berghaus collection are some of the world's leading outdoor adventurers. Sir Chris Bonington has gained legendary status in the world of mountaineering and continues to explore unclimbed peaks into his 70s. At the other end of the generational scale is Leo Houlding; still only in his mid 20s, Leo's achievements have already placed him firmly in the climbing community's elite.

Alex and Thomas Huber from Germany are the masters of big wall climbing, while Spanish climbing sensation Carlos Suarez is a recent addition to the team. Meanwhile, former catwalk model Anniken Binz now travels the world to find high places from which to base jump in the latest Berghaus products, and mountain bike free-rider Rob Jarman has tested his kit to the extreme in his pursuit of adventure.

The latest addition to the team is Andy Kirkpatrick -- climber, journalist, film maker, comedian, lecturer, photographer, gear guru and much more, Andy specialises in "hard core" expeditions to very cold, very remote places. Everyone in the team not only promotes the Berghaus brand but also works closely with the company's product team to contribute directly to future range developments.

As well as using the exploits of its sponsored team, Berghaus continuously strives to use creative marketing techniques to bring its products to life for the consumer. For a brand that operates in a traditionally specialist market, Berghaus continues to deliver communications support that makes an impression on a much broader audience. Employing print, outdoor and cinema advertising alongside online viral campaigns and proactive PR, the Berghaus brand maintains a very high profile in the UK and abroad. Contemporary images, clever copywriting and standout executions ensure that Berghaus is a byword for imagination and innovation in promotion as much as in product.

Brand values
There is a true spirit of adventure that runs through every aspect of the Berghaus brand and its people. Berghaus is as vibrant and restless as ever, constantly innovating and finding new ways to deliver even better products for anyone who lives the outdoor dream or is inspired by what it represents. Products that bear the Berghaus brand ooze quality and high performance and people choose them because they know that they won't let them down.

Things you didn't know about Berghaus

  • Berghaus is a rough German translation of "mountain centre", reflecting the name of the shop in which the brand was born -- LD Mountain Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1966, there was a strong demand for quality German or Austrian outdoor products and using the name Berghaus provided the fledgling company with some instant credibility.
  • When Berghaus launched the legendary Yeti Gaiter in 1978, the rubber bands that enclosed the boot were for a while made out of rubber acquired from a local tyre dump. The product is still recognised as offering the highest level of foot and leg protection available, and continues to be used on major expeditions around the world.
  • The founders of Berghaus sold the company to the Pentland Group in 1993. Pentland, based in London, has an extensive portfolio of international sports, outdoors and fashion brands.
  • Born and bred in North East England, Berghaus has always been based in the region and the company is housed in a purpose built headquarters in Sunderland.

Timeline
1966
Berghaus is founded in Newcastle upon Tyne.
1972 Cylops, the first internal framed rucksack, is launched.
1977 The first commercially available Gore-Tex jacket is launched into Europe. The following year Berghaus develops the unique Yeti Gaiter.
1982 The original A.B. (Adjustable Back) Carrying System and the unique Occipital Cavity further enhance the company's reputation for rucksack innovation.
1986 Berghaus launches Extrem, a range of serious mountaineering roducts for serious mountaineers.
1998 The Nitro is introduced. Its unique Limpet carrying and compression system, combined with ultra modern styling, earn it plaudits far and wide including a Millennium Product Award.
2003 Extrem Light is launched. The integrated, lightweight range of clothing, footwear and rucksacks is designed to help people go faster, further and in more comfort.
2005 Berghaus launches the world's most innovative back system to date, BioFlex.
2006 Berghaus footwear reaches new levels of performance with a comprehensive relaunch.
2007 Ator, a stylish high performance outdoor product, is launched.

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