Essay on Columbia Sportswear Company

2712 Words 11 Pages
“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise”
- Gert Boyle, Chairperson of Columbia Sportswear

Columbia Sportswear Company (Columbia) is a leader in the competitive active outdoor apparel industry. A company propelled by their differentiation strategy, leveraging innovation, brand equity, and strong marketing in the design, manufacture, and distribution of outdoor apparel. Columbia’s product lines include everything from outerwear and footwear to camping equipment and skiwear. It has grown from a small hat company in the 1930’s into a company with a global strategy and a physical and online presence spanning Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Europe.
To fully appreciate the evolution of Columbia from “a corporation that
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Boyle, with some quick thinking, used a home alarm to contact the police and escaped unharmed. (2) After the incident, the local police chief stopped by Boyle’s home, but “made the mistake of wearing a North Face jacket," …"The police chief asked if she [Boyle] was all right. True to her personality Boyle said, 'I was OK until that jacket walked in here.'" (2) Even in the most unimaginable and frightening situation Boyle stays true to herself. Her continued commitment has been a driving force behind Columbia’s growth and profitability, proving that “the buck still stops with Ma.” (3)

Strategic Problems and Challenges Columbia Faces
There are numerous challenges facing Columbia, as they strive to achieve their goals and corner the outdoor activities apparel market. These challenges include effective management of seasonal fluctuations in business and maintaining profitability through economically challenging times. Although Columbia has the reputation as a leading innovator with cutting-edge technology and high quality outdoor activity products, the industry is highly competitive. The increasing popularity of performance and technology driven outdoor activities apparel has made this sector of the market attractive to several competitors. Columbia is faced with the challenge of protecting their intellectual property from competitors and counterfeit operations. Furthermore, a

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