Lars Ollberg, Chief Operating Officer, Group’s businesses and distribution, Rapala VMC Corporation, has worked for Rapala VMC Corporation for over 30 years. The company is a leading global brand in recreational fishing equipment, and one of the most international corporations on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. Ollberg recently partook in Aalto EE's Strategic Pricing programme. He affirms that participating was time and money well spent.

Rapala offers premium quality for the mass markets. “We want to be where the consumer is. We sell high quality consumer products, but always in the channels that sell quantity,” Ollberg says and explains that Rapala’s annual sales are approximately 300 million euro – which roughly translates into the company selling products for one million euro each day a year that consumer stores are open.

“The average price for our product is around 10 euro, which means that 100 000 consumers choose Rapala every day. We have at least 50 000 retailers all around the world, and a great deal of products and product categories. In our business, it is too easy to price things based on the same principles we have always used. I discussed strategic pricing mechanisms with colleagues and we agreed that what we need is to find a pricing structure where we can maximise volume and price. Aalto EE’s Strategic Pricing programme gave me excellent tools to do this.”

Ollberg says studying at Aalto EE was intensive. “As with everything in life, the more you give the more you get. I was thirsty for knowledge in strategic pricing, so I definitely got a lot out of the programme,” Ollberg asserts.

“I enjoyed the studies. The programme was well structured. The instructors were very competent and good at activating participants. All in all, I was very satisfied with the experience,” he confirms and reminds that strategic pricing is applicable to all business. “During the programme examples ranged from pricing the London Olympic tickets to pricing rocks at a rock crushing plant. Whatever the example, they had one thing in common: the best price is the one that yields the best profit.”

“The Aalto EE programme gave me great analysis tools for setting the optimal price – which by the way is not the same thing as the highest possible price,” Ollberg underlines and says that he still has all the material from the Strategic Pricing programme on his desk and that he refers to it from time to time.

“It was one of the best short programmes I have ever participated in. Strategic pricing should not be overlooked in any industry. At Rapala, our business comes from vast amounts of 5 to 10 euro sales. Small streams create a large pool and in this business, you need to have the right tools to appreciate a 10 cent difference in pricing. The cents add up to millions.”

Ollberg affirms that the programme has changed the way he works to a certain extent: “I take less for granted. Now I have excellent tools for strategic pricing and I am better equipped to have discussions on strategic pricing with my own organization. The strategic pricing programme is a great wakeup call.”

Ollberg says he is happy to recommend the programme. “I think I might start the recommendations by advising my own sales managers to take part in it. It would make it even easier for us to discuss issues so that everyone has the same information and tools,” he ponders and emphasizes the importance of learning at Rapala.

“At Rapala, we have to ensure that pricing and brand marketing are done just right for retailers to choose us alongside their house brands, which are becoming increasingly popular. One of the key reasons why we take part in training is to keep us ahead of the game and make certain we keep earning our place under the sun. Continuous learning is what makes the difference: I think that a company’s attitude toward learning determines who will make or break it in global business.”

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