- Virtual industry summit is attended by people in about 50 countries
- The sports and outdoor world discussed the opportunities created by digitalization, sustainability and health
- Nobel Prize laureate, star athletes and CEOs serve as idea generators
The ISPO Re.Start Days served as a virtual summit for the sports and outdoor industries on June 30 and July 1. The live digital conference brought together top speakers and industry representatives – they took part in more than 60 interactive sessions and discussed future opportunities, new approaches and motivation factors in the process. People from about 50 countries logged into the conference and took advantage of the opportunity to network during the industry’s biggest event of the summer.
Dittrich opened the conference with a conversation with Kristina Vogel, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in track cycling, and the extreme mountaineer Jost Kobusch. The upshot of the conversation: The sports and outdoor industry should think like an athlete as it works to overcome the crisis. Vogel, a quadriplegic following a training accident, said: “We can’t change today. We can only change the future.”
In addition to athletes, a large number of brand representatives took part in the conference, an event for which ISKO and Polartec served as the main partners. The speakers came from such companies as Adidas, Adobe, Bluesign, Columbia Sportswear, Daimler Mobility, Deuter, Ebay, Intersport, Jack Wolfskin, Mammut, Oberalp Group, Saalfelden/Leogang, Schöffel, Sport 2000 and Sympatex. They shared their experiences in recent months, discussed the sources of their new energy and motivation and offered their thoughts about the future.
During a panel discussion with high-profile experts, Christoph Engl, CEO of the Oberalp Group, called on the industry to stand up and be counted: “More and more people want to know what we really stand for. This is something that brands can express through their products. When consumers purchase these products, they become part of a community and express their views.”
Professor Muhammad Yunus, a Noble Peace Prize laureate, spoke at the ISPO Re.Start Days about the important role that sports will play in the shaping of the future. During his interview at the digital conference, he not only demonstrated that he, at the age of 80, can playfully master online meetings, but also shared some inspiring thoughts about the future with the entire industry.
“It is a time for reflection,” Yunus said. After all, people will not be able to simply go back to the way they were following the corona virus. “Sports are like a pyramid,” Yunus said: “The star athletes form the tip. Millions of amateur athletes who look up to these world class performers are underneath them. Professional athletes and business executives must be consciously aware of this role model function: When athletes say that they do not want to return to the old world, people will listen to them. They are role models!
Digitalization, sustainability and good health: How has the view of these global megatrends changed since the corona crisis began? To find some answers, participants had an opportunity on the second day of the event to view a large number of presentations and attend focus workshops on the issues of digitalization, sustainability and good health.
One of the speakers who addressed these focus topics was Marcel Beaufils, Senior Project Manager of Rheingold Marktforschung. During his keynote address, “From Brand Purpose to Industry Purpose,” he described his hypothesis for the future: “Good health can also mean being crisis resistant. Sports play a key role here. People who were able to remain involved in sports during the crisis noticed that they still maintained control over their lives and the crisis itself. Sports have become their own type of crisis management system.”
Corona has also left its mark on the backpack specialist Deuter – but not in a completely negative way, said Martin Riebel, the Managing Director of Schwan-Stabilo Outdoor with the brands Deuter, Maier Sports, Ortovox and Gonso. Of course, Riebel said that the lockdown was a shock. At the same time, though, it brought about a change. “We are now taking a completely different approach to informing our sales partners around the world,” he said. “We are active in 50 countries. Today, we can digitally reach every single representative, no matter how distant the country. We are able to share the same message all the way to every employee in the back office and in far-off regions. These are the lessons that we would not have had with corona.”
Peter Ottervanger, Head of Retail at the European Outdoor Group, took part in an interactive workshop titled “How can the new start be pulled off?” He underscored the role that sustainability plays for the outdoor industry: “Sustainability is essential for the future business activities of every company.”
The extreme mountaineer Jost Kobusch also said that he had thought more deeply about the issue of sustainability in recent months:“The ISPO Re.Start Days were a great way to use the down time, talk with experts and see how we can take off again. Personally, it was a good time for me to think about what I am actually doing.”
The many questions, discussions and personal examples of the conference participants shared during the individual sessions showed one thing: Networking and professional discussion will play a big part in the industry’s new start.
Reiner Gerstner, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Schöffel Sportbekleidung, said:“It is critically important for the industry to get together digitally, if not physically, and discuss things. This gives us a chance to see the things we have in common and the many opportunities that we now have in the sports and outdoor industry. I felt very good after the conference and realized that there are many positive aspects that will help the industry jointly move forward. After all, you can always achieve more if you work together.”
Jochen Lagemann, an Advisory Board member of OutDoor by ISPO, also saw a tremendous willingness to communicate among all people who attended the ISPO Re.Start Days: “The conference offered more than 100 top speakers. This showed us quite clearly that everyone is willing to share his or her learning successes with all of the others. This is very valuable. Over the long term, you can move forward only with collaboration.”
Representatives of the sports and outdoor world have optimistically begun to enter a strong and sustainable future for the industry. The numbers shared by Mark Held, the President of the European Outdoor Group, provided reassurance. In a survey conducted by the European Outdoor Group (EOG), 98 percent of companies said they would survive the crisis. An important conclusion by the EOG president: “The industry will emerge from the crisis in a strengthened position.”
During the final panel discussion, Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, an environmental activist and a former CEO of Patagonia, called on the industry to forcefully tackle the issues of sustainability and environmental protection. In terms of these areas, she said: “It’s not enough to be good. We have to be great.”
The planning for ISPO Munich 2021 is moving full speed ahead right now: The world of sports will get together in Munich from January 31 to February 3, 2021, for the world’s largest sports business trade fair.