Leupold: A Century of Brand Building


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Leupold has been a household name for outdoorsmen for decades. But the five-generational, family-owned, Oregon-based company that is known for its optics accessories didn’t start off as a scope manufacturer. In fact, the Leupold brand as we know it has gone through a substantial evolution since its establishment in 1907.

A Brief History of the Brand
In the beginning, the company was called Leupold & Voelpel, named after the two brothers-in-law who started the business. They specialized in the repair of survey equipment, and eventually designed and manufactured the first water level recorder. After having the name Leupold & Voelpel for some time, the company changed its name to Leupold, Voelpel and Co., and continued to invent and produce products similar to the water level recorder.

Eventually, the company began to take shape into the brand they are known as today, Leupold & Stevens, one of the leading manufacturers of sights, scopes and binoculars. The story goes that Marcus Leupold missed when he took a shot at a deer because the scope lens had fogged up, so he decided to make a better one. After years of research, the Leupold scope for rifles enters the market.

Target the Correct Audience
The Leupold scope continued to evolve over the years and was eventually supplied to the U.S. military. In fact, Leopold scopes are still used by the U.S. Army, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps, Secret Service and the U.S. Navy today. It’s important to note that the scope technology our troops use is also easily applied to their civilian weapons. It’s not hard to understand why Leupold dominates the industry when servicemen and women continue to purchase and promote their products after they leave the service.

The Leupold brand also captured the attention of sport hunters from all around the nation. Their line of optics allowed them to make a name for themselves in the outdoor industry on a local and national level, and can be found among shooting supplies offered at many retailers. They knew their audience and directed their brand toward that audience’s needs.

Learn the Building Blocks of Your Brand
So what can you learn from the evolution of the Leupold brand? Always evolve, constantly create and look to your audience for guidance in how your brand should grow.

The best way to build your brand toward more sales, quicker recognition and overall business success is to identify and relate to your audience in the same way that Leupold did with theirs. They saw soldiers using their scopes and mounting systems after leaving the service and jumped on the opportunity to promote their brand as a household name, not just a military one.

Once a brand is developed enough to be easily identified, it becomes easier to build. Your audience’s needs are constantly changing, and they expect those needs to be met. Your brand should never be static, it should always be evolving within its industry and surpassing your audience’s standards.


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