Premium Training For Premium Brands

If you’re not a hunter, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of SITKA Gear. The Montana-based company exists to build gear for hunters who are unwilling to compromise on comfort, safety, and performance.

Hunters sit in a field in Sitka gear

SITKA Gear engineers clothing for hunters that demand the most from their gear.

SITKA follows a simple rule when it comes to creating its clothing: build gear that expands comfort, safety, focus and success in every hunting situation. This means working with chemists to invent new quieter and more comfortable textiles and fabrics, optical and veterinary biologists to learn how animals see, and digital concealment experts to create new camouflage which makes hunters nearly invisible to animals. Its athletes and employees then spend thousands of hours testing gear in the harshest conditions, from the slopes of Denali to the swamps of Florida.

For a company which puts so much effort into designing its gear, they started to wonder why they didn’t approach product knowledge training the same way.

“We had this feeling of ‘If we’re going to make best in class products, why would we not want to have the very best training available?’,” said Brad Yeomans, SITKA’s Direction Of Sales.

Product Knowledge Training In The Outdoor World

Training in the outdoors world is no easy task. A brand’s message and identity can get lost in the fray of hundreds of stores and thousands of employees selling all varieties of gear.
If you’re familiar with the Outdoor Industry, you know product training usually comes pre-packaged on platforms hosting as many brands as possible, each one nearly indistinguishable from the other. Employees train on product knowledge and, in return, get a discount on gear. Although this is a fine method for gaining peripheral knowledge, it often falls short when a company needs deep dives or true product expertise into its brand or gear from retail associates.

SITKA was struggling to convey the importance of its brand and gear with the industry standard training. The lookalike platforms couldn’t provide the level of product training or proper insight into the company’s culture or what sets SITKA Gear apart from the crowd.

SITKA faced this product knowledge problem head-on and with its usual eye for quality.

“It was important we provide better training for our dealers and employees, Yeomans said. “Customers sometimes knew more than the people selling the gear.”

The reality was if SITKA was going to provide the premium training it wanted, it would have to find a new way to deliver it.

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The front page of Sitka's Product Knowledge Training Platform

The front page of “The Shed,” SITKA’s Wisetail implementation

Wisetail: Premium Training For Premium Brands

Both SITKA and Wisetail are lucky enough to be based in Bozeman and soon enough the companies came together with an idea: to create a platform that would build the SITKA brand, culture and community in the same place its team could learn and communicate. “The Shed,” SITKA’s Wisetail implementation, was born a few months later.

With roughly 900 associates and employees in need of training, SITKA crafted the platform to look and feel like its brand with the company’s stunning imagery and authentic storytelling as its backbone. They designed a new content flow that took team members through each of the brand’s lineups of Whitetail, Big Game, and Waterfowl gear. It was set up so that the more training someone completes, the more of a discount they get on SITKA gear, a system they call Learn to Earn. Not only did this new training model incentivize team members to learn more, but it created more interaction around the brand and its products.

“We’ve seen way more engagement than this time a year ago,” said Yeomans. “People are stoked.”

Training As A Competitive Advantage

More than just training, SITKA views its relationship with Wisetail as a competitive advantage. They hope to see the positive feedback about The Shed translate into increased revenue as well as a spike in sales and a broader brand awareness overall from the increased training offered to associates and sales reps.
“The whole deal of what we’re doing with Wisetail makes us so much different from everybody else,” said Yeomans. “Someone buying other brands at a store isn’t going to have the same experience they get with SITKA”

a description of the Learn to earn program from SITKA gear