Scandinavian Mind X Poc
Harvesting the heritage of POC’s safe legacy
Protective gear pioneers POC was created by skiers and bikers for all those pursuing their passion. Born on a ski slope with a mission to keep athletes, and those inspired to be one, safe. But how do they keep up their scaled-down Scandinavian design and modesty alive?
15 Mar 2022

This is part one of three in a brand study of POC. This part covers the heritage and origin story of the protective gear company.

It’s been over a century since Daniel Starch, the American psychologist and one of the pioneers of market research, developed his theory that advertising had to be seen, read, believed, remembered, and acted upon, in order to be effective. Since the 1920s, when the science of determining the inclinations, motivations, and buying behaviour of customers took off, there have been countless consumer studies conducted. Sifting through the findings of the vast majority will yield the vital importance of two factors that attract customers — quality and uniqueness.

The crucial element then follows of communicating those product attributes with the target audience. Starch advised that, “Much advertising copy would be improved immensely by doing away with brag and substituting actual facts about the merits of the article.” Here, the Swedish modern protection company POC has always had integrity. With signature Scandinavian modesty, POC has never indulged in exaggeration since its inception in 2004.

Founded by Jan Woxning and Stefan Ytterborn, the latter who grew up on ski slopes, deeply into racing downhill skiing, with two sons that followed in his slipstream.

— We founded POC with the mission to save lives and reduce the consequences of accidents, for skiers and gravity sports athletes, by developing better and more accurate products, says Jan, who is still an essential part of the company today.

From day one, there were no outlandish claims, no liberal embellishments of the product’s virtues, just hard facts allied with an unswerving commitment to creating protective equipment and apparel that works to the highest possible standards for safety and performance. This central drive to invent, innovate and raise the bar struck a chord with many elite athletes, who participated in the development process from the early days onwards, testing and confirming ideas and concepts.

This is the cornerstone of POC’s heritage and serves as the foundation of trust for the brand’s roster of professional athletes and its ever-expanding consumer community.

— We started off focused on the performance element, Monica Lindström, Head of Apparel, explains — how a product works, breathability, aerodynamics, compression, but of course there’s always been the protection element. That’s our DNA and that’s what we’re always striving to improve.

This core commitment to performance and safety has been globally recognised and POC has been awarded more than 70 international design awards to date. As a trailblazer in the field of snow sports and cycling, POC is now present in over 45 countries and has multiple design and technology patents, plus a growing team of POC athletes who are consistently winning World Champion Gold Medals, the last Winter Olympics included.

Lina Elfstrand, Chief Marketing Officer says:

— We’ve always believed that the safest helmet is the one that you choose to wear. We don’t talk about design much in our process, but we have a very strong design language… a Scandinavian design ethic that translates through the whole of the collection. POC’s range has evolved from cutting edge ski helmets to include bike helmets and an array of mountain and road essentials for men, women and children, from spine protectors, jackets to gloves and many more accessories.

The appeal of POC has never been restricted to performance cyclists alone, and the brand has always enjoyed the support of urban cyclists – the daily commuters and city riders who form an important part of the POC community.

As a way to explore the unknown and cross-fertilise ideas, POC established POC Lab — a scientific forum comprising some of the world’s foremost sports medicine experts, brain scientists, and specialists in spinal cord injuries, who advise POC on emerging science and new trends that can be taken into the development of the most reliable and advanced protection possible.

POC Lab is instrumental in inspiring POC collections, such as POC’s first ever cycling collection in 2014, which was focused on Attention, Visibility, Interaction and Protection and brought a new idea to the road scene, promoting safety for road cyclists. Another was POC’s first city and commuting collection, POC and Forth, which focused on wearable technology, innovative connectivity, and advanced fabrics for commuters and urban cyclists. Both AVIP and Poc and Forth were recognised with the prestigious Design S trophy — Sweden’s national design award that commends creative and innovative solutions across all fields.

POC plants a flag in the ground right between the twin goals of the best possible performance, and the highest level of protection. The company’s commitment to these objectives speaks to the Founder’s original motivation for founding the company — saving lives — and the heritage of POC is inherent in the brand values.

Monica Lindström, who is the force behind many of POC’s concepts has been instrumental in the expansion of POC into apparel. She says:

— POC has a really strong heritage in helmets. Everyone knows that we started with ski helmets and then proceeded to bike helmets and now we’re establishing the awareness of apparel. We’re expanding possibilities and doing more of what we want to do… and in everything we do, we have our safety mission and a focus on making the best apparel for extreme conditions.

The way you do anything, is the way you do everything. In that respect, we can expect the POC legacy to continue its growth and maintain its dedicated focus on the safety and performance of the POC community.

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