In the series of interviews with some of the most important FIS partners, it is time to feature Halti (www.halti.com) that has been the official FIS Official Clothing Supplier since 2007. Martti Uusitalo, Vice President of Halti, discussed his company's long-term engagement in support of ski sports.
FIS: How does sponsoring help Halti meet its marketing and communication goals?
Martti Uusitalo: For Halti, ski sponsoring is an essential part of our brand building and even our brand's core message. Being part of the top level alpine ski racing circuit and the major ski events greatly enhances our credibility in the marketplace. At the same time, we consider sport sponsoring one of the most effective and affordable ways to gain global visibility.
FIS: Please describe the different ways that you are directly involved in ski racing.
Martti Uusitalo: Among our ski engagements, we have sponsorship or partnership relationships with organizations such as FIS or the Finnish Olympic Committee, national teams such as the Finnish and Bulgarian Alpine Teams and the Canadian Cross-Country National Team, and individual athletes such as Denise Karbon (ITA). And we have just finalized the agreement to be the Official Clothing Supplier of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2011 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER), which will be our third consecutive Alpine Worlds since Are 2007. The specific goals of each partnership differ somewhat but are based on visibility and attractiveness to our target markets and market segments.
FIS: What is it that makes the FIS partnership special for Halti?
Martti Uusitalo: For Halti, the product testing conducted by FIS race professionals plays an especially valuable role for the FIS Official Clothing Supplier partnership. Several of the FIS staff put our products to great use in often highly demanding conditions for dozens of weeks a season. Being an official FIS partner also helps build our status in the market, in particular among the purchasers of the major winter retailer chains and the core alpine ski racing fans, who know that the FIS professionals appreciate the high quality and technical details of our products. This partnership also helps us differentiate ourselves from the other premium products in our market. We really think FIS is an optimal partner for us in many ways.
FIS: What was your personal skiing highlight in the past season and what do you expect from the upcoming season?
Martti Uusitalo: For me personally, a very memorable highlight was the exciting fight for the ladies' giant slalom World Cup crystal globe in which Halti skier Tanja Poutiainen (FIN) prevailed in the end. Overall, I enjoyed the long and snow-rich winter which really helped bring winter sport back on the big public's radar screen. We look forward to another good winter with plentiful snow but are also excited to see Kalle Palander, a Halti shareholder, return to the slopes after 1.5 years of injury-related absence.