Shampoo manufacturer Alpecin confirmed as title sponsor for new Swiss cycling team Katusha-Alpecin
Through this partnership with the reorganized Katusha-Alpecin WorldTour team, the German company is emphatically pursuing its international strategy as a sponsor of cycling.
"By joining forces with Katusha-Alpecin, which will be a Swiss-based international cycling enterprise in the future, we are gaining access to enormous opportunities for delivering our brand message," says Eduard R. Dörrenberg, managing partner of the family-run manufacturer of the successful men's shampoo Alpecin. Alpecin's cycling strategy published in 2014 in conjunction with stars such as Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb lent a powerful boost to the whole sport in Germany. Public interest was also measurably stimulated, and was reflected by the renewal of coverage of the Tour de France by ARD, among other things.
Dörrenberg mentions that two years ago many people were very critical of their involvement, but now it is already a great success. "In addition to better publicity for the sport and the Tour de France's return to Germany, we have been able to celebrate the historic victories of John Degenkolb and Simon Geschke," adds Dörrenberg.
"The team, the cyclists, the entire organisation and Alpecin as the title sponsor will begin the 2017 season with a fresh start with a clear international direction," says Dörrenberg in response to the question why Alpecin decided to support a project that evolved from the sport in Russia.
Mr Dörrenberg has said that he was personally very impressed with the huge step taken by the owner of the team and clothing brand "Katusha", Igor Makarov, together with Alexis Schoeb from Switzerland in implementing the innovative marketing concept in the 2016 season. "We see major opportunities for this new approach. We want to drive the project forward together from 2017 onwards and to gain the benefits for Alpecin. This will be an exciting task and it is the next logical step. In addition to possible sporting successes, we will continue to support German cyclists and positively change cycling as a whole," says Dörrenberg, looking ahead. "When marketing and communication are concerned, experts require a uniform approach. With our triad of sponsoring, our additional activation measures and renewed traditional online and offline media campaigns, we are moving in a new direction," says Dörrenberg, highlighting the strategic background.
The shampoo manufacturer is thus systematically pursuing the goal of making Alpecin a global brand. "Thanks to the major victories of the Giant-Alpecin team in the past two years, we have gained real recognition abroad as well as a foothold in many new markets and thus we have reached our first milestone," states the managing partner.
Eduard R. Dörrenberg (managing partner of Alpecin)
Why are you changing the team after two years of sponsorship?
Cycling is no different to football, where players, managers and sponsors can change every year. It's part of the game. New and interesting line-ups have arisen for us since our partner GIANT decided to end its involvement as main sponsor – different than initially planned – at the end of the 2016 season. Furthermore, as important changes were made in the team, we had to review our strategic goals. We then realized that we could, and should, take a new and, for us, very exciting direction in view of the current situation.
Does the change to Katusha signify a departure from German cycling?
Quite the opposite actually! We will compete with at least three German cyclists and with Tony Martin as the German figurehead. We will also continue to intensively focus on cycling in Germany. Alpecin has already assumed responsibility in the past two years, supporting championships, race organizers and young talent. Our involvement was also followed by the renewal of coverage of the Tour de France by ARD. This coming year, we are looking forward to the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in Germany, and there should be the renewal tour of Germany in 2018. All positive developments!
What is new about the Katusha-Alpecin team?
International cycling is becoming more and more professional. Just like the team, we see major opportunities to make cycling even more popular and successful. New steps need to be taken to attract the public in the long-term - for example, with the idea to market the team beyond the sport itself, by creating an own clothing label or with events and other media products. We find this extremely interesting and very promising. We are certain that such a systematic and innovative approach is perfect for us as a company and for our brand Alpecin.
Alexis Schoeb (board member of Katusha-Alpecin)
Since two years Alpecin is doing sponsoring in cycling. You probably recognized sponsoring activities also besides the team sponsoring. What do you expect from this partnership?
We are pleased that Alpecin embraces the opportunities of our innovative marketing concept. Riders like Alexander Kristoff, Tony Martin and Ilnur Zakarin are the perfect ambassadors for our brands. The last months we could already notice their effect on brand awareness of KATUSHA Sports. Alpecin will have the same access to this opportunity to deliver their brand messages. We found each other, we are on the same wavelength, and look forward to having a long marriage together.
Why is team Katusha-Alpecin under Suisse UCI license from January on?
As we are now a real international team, it was logical to change the team to the neutral Swiss nationality. Moreover, all Katusha company offices have been located in Switzerland during the last eight years. Our move to Switzerland is especially symbolically important.
Christian Riedle (managing partner of Intelligent Research in Sponsoring)
Is cycling really a useful platform for sponsors?
That depends on a variety of factors, of course. It is not easy to generalize about the different industries. Our surveys have shown that 73% of all people asked thought cycling sponsorship would be good or very good for Alpecin since cycling and Alpecin are both very masculine.
However, there are individual factors that determine the success or failure of such involvement. A stage win results in extended coverage for the team and sponsor. But you also need the stars in the team. Half of all interviews for the Team Giant-Alpecin were for John Degenkolb during the past Tour de France.
Dr. Wolff Group press release