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It’s official: Bombardier is now BRP, Inc.

June 28, 2004
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Officials of Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc., (BRP) held a press conference in Montreal recently to explain the latest happenings with the new operation and to tell us how the new company is different from the old recreational products division of Bombardier, Inc., the giant international transportation company.
I couldn’t attend because of a scheduling conflict, but I did hook up with Jose Boisjoli, president and CEO of BRP, by phone to talk about how the new operation is going.
You may remember that Bombardier Recreational Products was sold by Bombardier, Inc., to a group of investors last year. The recreational products business is now officially known as BRP. There are several key differences between the two companies, says Boisjoli, and BRP has begun a major marketing push to distance itself from its former parent.
Unfortunately, even though Recreational Products has adapted the new BRP name, it still uses Bombardier as part of the name for its ATV business under a licensing agreement with Bombardier. It seems to me that this highly visible tie only serves to confuse the issue, rather than clarifying things. Perhaps BRP should come up with a new name for its ATV operations, one that doesn’t use Bombardier. A product brand name would be more consistent with BRP’s other product names: Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles,
Sea-Doo personal watercraft and sport boats, Johnson and Evinrude outboard engines, and Rotax karts and engines are well established brands.
Why not complete the package with an ATV brand specific name?
New logo reflects the past
Perhaps the most visible evidence of changes at the new company is its logo, a modernized version of the Bombardier sprocket logo that’s been around for nearly 50 years.
The new logo is actually pretty cool, especially the color version that adds blue to the black/white version. However, it’s still very suggestive of the Bombardier gear logo. Perhaps a new, much different, logo will come later, as BRP matures and creates its own completely separate identity. And it’s certainly going to want that when it does its IPO (initial public stock offering) in the next few years.
The new logo represents BRP’s new identity, one that Boisjoli is eager to develop as being distinctly separate from that of Bombardier, but yet still reflects ties to its history. After all, the company began with the snowmobiles developed by Joseph-Armand Bombardier, ones that used his unique patented sprocket.
Boisjoli’s goal is to have BRP recognized as the global leader in giving customers “the most innovative, most exciting and most responsible recreational experience.” BRP wants to be known as the company that is innovative, accessable and passionate about powersports.
That won’t be easy to do, given all of its competition, nor will it be easy to develop a unique positioning statement. For example, look at Polaris Industries, one of BRP’s major competitors. If you read its 2003 annual report to shareholders and the wave of materials prepared in celebration of its 50th Anniversary, you’ll see two major themes: Innovation in product development and passion for the sport.
The final portion of Boisjoli’s three-step approach is to create a new perception of accessibility for BRP audiences. Apparently BRP feels that Bombardier is perceived as cool, distant and too corporate. The new BRP will be accessible, youthful and exciting, not corporate and controlled.
“We’re moving from a B2B company to a B2C company,” Boisjoli told me. “In the past, we were a bit distant because Bombardier was for big groups. And OMC changed us; we’re more global, we have a different view of the world than we had before.”
Dealerships obviously will reflect the changes, but that will come slowly. Signage for Sea-Doo and sport boats will change next year and others will will follow in 2006. Changes across the dealer network are expected to be completed by 2007. psb

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