Annecy lake and its surrounding
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European Outdoor Forum at Imperial palace
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Imperial palace - Conference venue
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ISPO dinner cruising the lake on the floating restaurant MS Libellule
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European Outdoor Forum, Group photo after the first day conference
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Networking lunch in front of the lake
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The European Outdoor Forum, the first ever conference for the European outdoor industry, in Annecy, France, has just finished. To get a real feel watch this review from french television by clicking here.

The event brought together key players to discus the market and its issues in a relaxed environment, providing information to help participants make better decisions, while shaping the future of the outdoor industry. The time outside the conference was spent developing relationships and networking with peers.

The ispo dinner on the opening night,  attended by over 120 members of the industry, was onboard the MS Libelulle which cruised the Lac D’Annecy throughout the evening. Diner was followed by a passionate speech by Paul Petzl, one of the European fathers of the outdoor Industry. Paul gave his vision of a collaborative approach to business and its ethics and summed up by expressing his desire for the outdoor industry to use these values to face the future.

The first day started with an introduction by Jean luc Rigaut, Mayor of Annecy who welcomed all the guests to his “home”, Annecy. David Udberg, President of the European Outdoor Group and Jean Luc Diard President Outdoor Sports Valley then both explained how their organisations were developing business tools that would be soon available to help the industry moved forward collectively.

The first presenter up on the podium was Elizabeth Laville Founder and chief entrepreneur at Utopies.
She gave us her view on why the pressure was now on for the whole industry to meet a new morale business responsibility and that those companies who moved forward first would benefit the most. Michel Desbordes Professor of Sports Marketing, University Paris South then examined the theory of sports marketing and how it differs from marketing in other fields of activity. The morning session finished with a break for the SGI Europe-the Compass lunch in the restaurant at the Imperial Palace.

After lunch Pierre Jarniat, PEAK Development Manager and Consulting partner at Thesame introduced a new way of thinking about innovation based on a collaborative approach between suppliers and buyers. The final presentation of the day started with Ed Stevens, Chairman and CEO Shopatron Inc asking two members of the audience up on stage to play a bit of game theory, not sure if Ed got his 50 euro’s back! He then evaluated the future of ecommerce for branded manufacturers, looking particularly at mobile commerce.

The second day of the forum started with Prof. Eckehard Fozzy Moritz, Director of SportKreativWerkstatt marching on stage to the sounds of AC/DC to demonstrate how brands can build long term forecasts in a structured manner, that will enable them to identify potential outdoor markets many years ahead. Cortney McDermott , head of CSR & Sustainability at The North Face Europe and Chair of the European Outdoor Group’s Sustainability Working Group followed by offering ways for the industry to get started in sustainability and ended up by presenting the audience with the forums sustainability gift. Everyone was given a small tree to take home and plant, from small things grow big ideas ! After the break for the Performance day Lunch Eugenio Di Maria Founder and CEO SGI-Europe examined the latest trends from the wider sporting market to demonstrate what the outdoor brands could do to cope with the new economic reality in his presentation titled Business Strategies for Tougher Times. 

In the final presentation, Digital natives, in the mind of the new consumer, Antonia MCcahon, Managing Partner Fullsix, examined how values and attitudes of today’s younger consumers are being dramatically changed by the internet. 

The event was closed by Jean Luc Diard President Outdoor Sports Valley and Mark Held Secretary General European Outdoor Group and 210 delegates left with a tree under their arm, happy memories and much to contemplate.

Companies attending the forum included:

Adidas, Aicad, Aku, Altimax, Assosport, Azimut, Baralo & partners, Bergans, C.A.M.P, Coalision Group, Coleman, Columbia, Deuter Sport, Dolomite, Eider & Millet, Eso Es! Konzepte, European Outdoor Group,  Falke, Ferrino, Fullsix, Fusalp, Gelert, Gore, Hark Solutions, Hi-Tech, Hi-Tec Sports PLC, Icon Outdoor AG, Innovaski, Intersport International, IPAC Consulting, ispo, Italian Outdoor Group, Icebreaker, Itech, Jean Laporte Consulting, Julbo, Keen Europe, La Compagnie du Bain, Lafuma, La Sportiva, Lowa, Lowe Alpine, Lizard, Mammut Sports Group, Marmot Mountain Europe, Merrell, Monnet Sports, Mountain Riders, MHW Montrail, MP Consulting, MySystemD, Novation, Odlo, Oz Conseil, Outdoor Industry Association (USA), Outdoor Show, Patagonia, Performance Days Show, Petzl, Recco, Regatta, Salomon, Salewa, Scandinavian Outdoor Group, Scarpa, Scott Sports, SGI Europe, Shopatron Inc, Sigmax Europe, Smartwool, Sport Achat, Sport Pulsion, SportKreativWerkstatt, Spot One, Sportler, Stabilo International GmbH, SWiTCH, Sympatex, Tatonka, Tecnica Group, The Northface, Thesame, Tricouni, TSL Outdoor, Utopies, Vibram, Vuarnet, Wintersteiger, Wolwerine, Zerogrey and more...

Pictures of the event are accessible here.