Spyderco Name Recognition?

Discuss Spyderco's products and history.
JD Spydo
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Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby JD Spydo » Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:39 am

I've been a fan of Spyderco's great blades since I got my very first Spyderco folder all the way back to 1995 when I got a Stainless handled, GIN-1, full SE , MARINER model. And I've never looked back. Actually I got introduced to Spyderco and Benchmade both around the same time period>> as well as about 6 other high quality knife companies that I became aware of.

What really baffles me when I talk to most of my friends is that still to this day I don't run into very many people who even know that the Spyderco knife company even exists. And I'm talking about hunting/fishing buddies of mine and several close friends I've made over the years as well. You would think by this point in time at least a fourth of the general public would have at least heard the name by now :confused:

Again I've even including friends who are avid outdoorsmen, hunters, fishing fanatics and to some degree even survivalists who still are not aware of Spyderco's great name. With the Spyderco name being synonymous with superb quality and knives for about any cutting job I find that to be kind of strange in a way. OK I realize that all of us have different interests, hobbies and pastimes. But I would think that in the last 20 years or so their name would be more recognizable by now. Or maybe it's the part of the country I live in? Do any of you see what I'm talking about? And are there any Spyderco dealers in your locale?

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sparky2016
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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby sparky2016 » Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:59 am

Yes, I think what you say is true. I think most of us enjoy passing along the word, or a knife, to let other people know.

IMO most of their knives, especially the most functional ones, are not great looking at first, to those who don't appreciate them. Honestly it takes a while to appreciate how functional the design is - the Spyder hole and the humps, etc - how great they are to work with, and the thought and testing that goes into every detail of every design. Then one sees the beauty of them.

Lots of people don't really use their knives, so they may never get past how they look at first sight. Other people buy stuff that looks cool to their friends. The tacticool, auto opening, etc segments.

Retailers don't sell stuff, mostly. They want products that sell themselves. TBH that's not Spyderco, for the broader market.

And of course cost is a factor for many (and byrd knives are even much less known).

And yeah, there's probably a better way to message these in the marketing campaign. Just pictures of the knives aren't going to sell most of them.
Last edited by sparky2016 on Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby ladybug93 » Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:07 am

i have a friend who always says he thought he liked knives until he met me. he’s got four spydercos now and carries them almost exclusively.
spyderco makes some great models, but the salt line is really where it’s at for me. i’m really surprised it’s not more known than it is. a lot of people live in coastal areas around the world and would benefit from extremes corrosion resistance.

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby JD Spydo » Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:24 am

ladybug93 wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:07 am
i have a friend who always says he thought he liked knives until he met me. he’s got four spydercos now and carries them almost exclusively.
spyderco makes some great models, but the salt line is really where it’s at for me. i’m really surprised it’s not more known than it is. a lot of people live in coastal areas around the world and would benefit from extremes corrosion resistance.
You make a good point about Spyderco's Salt Series>> I would think that every one of these outdoor/sports retailers would want the entire Spyderco Salt Series in their sporting goods, hunting, fishing and outdoor line ups. Those Salt Series Knives I do believe would sell themselves once a few people started to test drive them so to speak.

But even among retailers I've talked to in the hunting, fishing, outdoor stores it literally shocks me as to how few of them are even aware of Spyderco here in the year 2019 :confused:

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby Naperville » Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:41 am

This has got to be an issue with Spyderco's marketing department, but if you knew how difficult marketing was you would curl up in a ball and cry.

I'll tell you one thing. I had a small web hosting company for a few years and it is really really hard to convince someone to buy your product, even if it is unique to the entire market, and the best in it's segment. You literally have to educate people about your product, why they need it, where they can get it, in a small ad that you have to entice them to read. One ad is not usually that expensive, but in order to reach people, and make any headway, you have to hit them with it for months on end. The returns are abysmal.
Spyderco Collection: Military (S110V), Bob Lum Darn Dao(CPM-154), Yojimbo 2 (1 in S30V & 2 in 20CV), Sustain(20CV), Native 5(Maxamet), Jumpmaster 2(H1), Province(4V). SHORT LIST: CF Shaman(S90V), Lum Tanto, Native Chief(?), Street Beat (AEB-L, NioMax or Nitro-V at 63HRC).

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby JD Spydo » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:02 pm

Naperville wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:41 am
This has got to be an issue with Spyderco's marketing department, but if you knew how difficult marketing was you would curl up in a ball and cry.

I'll tell you one thing. I had a small web hosting company for a few years and it is really really hard to convince someone to buy your product, even if it is unique to the entire market, and the best in it's segment. You literally have to educate people about your product, why they need it, where they can get it, in a small ad that you have to entice them to read. One ad is not usually that expensive, but in order to reach people, and make any headway, you have to hit them with it for months on end. The returns are abysmal.
Thanks for that really informative post Naperville :) Because everything you said is 100% right on. That's why sales people get paid so highly in many cases. Because even with the most high quality products or services no matter how good they are need to be marketed and sold>> which as you stated in many instances is not easy. This may be more of a topic of product recognition rather than "name recognition. It just makes perfect sense.

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby JonLeBlanc » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:35 pm

I've encountered very few people who know of Spyderco, even among some knife-carrying persons. Of course I know some, but mind you I live in the "Sportsman's Paradise" so while there must be more, I encounter relatively few. Louisiana loves it's billboards, so I might suggest if Kristy (or Brandon is it?) passed along the word, the company's marketing dept should consider a nice big ad. "Reliable, High Performance," a nice picture of a Pac Salt, some camouflage netting, whatever... I'm hardly an expert. But there could be a giant market here waiting to be tapped.
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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby JD Spydo » Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:10 pm

JonLeBlanc wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:35 pm
I've encountered very few people who know of Spyderco, even among some knife-carrying persons. Of course I know some, but mind you I live in the "Sportsman's Paradise" so while there must be more, I encounter relatively few. Louisiana loves it's billboards, so I might suggest if Kristy (or Brandon is it?) passed along the word, the company's marketing dept should consider a nice big ad. "Reliable, High Performance," a nice picture of a Pac Salt, some camouflage netting, whatever... I'm hardly an expert. But there could be a giant market here waiting to be tapped.
That might just be a good idea Jon>> And the Salt Series of their main line up would be great for that part of the country. You could have a picture of one of them skinning a gator with one of the Salt models. That idea could have possibilities.

I also think there just needs to be some home town, Mom & Pop knife shops that carry high end knives like Spyderco and others. And that part of the country could probably provide enough business to keep a traditional retailer going. I'm getting to where I try to support my local retailers and if the average American were to think about the benefits of doing so they would too.

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby ladybug93 » Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:41 pm

i tried passing the salt line on to a scuba shop here in hawaii. i showed them one i had on me and they seemed to think it was cool, but they were not motivated to add to their lineup of titanium fixed blade dive knives. they even had a few cheap looking folders there. maybe that's what i get for talking to a sales clerk instead of someone in management... at any rate, they had never heard of spyderco, the salt series, or even h1. there is a large market out there for salt knives in the outdoors that's being missed completely. spyderco could benefit from focusing more on that market.

and then maybe i'd get a few more models that i want in salt versions too instead of ten thousand tool steel sprints and exclusives per year. ;)

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby Naperville » Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:56 pm

JD Spydo wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:02 pm
Thanks for that really informative post Naperville :) Because everything you said is 100% right on. That's why sales people get paid so highly in many cases. Because even with the most high quality products or services no matter how good they are need to be marketed and sold>> which as you stated in many instances is not easy. This may be more of a topic of product recognition rather than "name recognition. It just makes perfect sense.
It's just my opinion. I always marketed to established businesses, never to "end users." I had a loose "team" of sales people, and I outsold them all. You have to be excited about the product, communications and sales, or you simply cannot do it. It was strictly cold calling.

All that you need to do is to be honest about the product and describe what it is that it does. Apparently that is too hard to do. Of course, until everyone was trained, I use to go along and help them close sales. As soon as I quit babysitting, they went right back to low sales.

I gave up the business after proving time and again that sales could be made, but solid full time sales people are expensive, and commissions are seen as a negative. It is hard to motivate people to start at 7AM to 8AM, be there when the proprietor gets in and close the sale.
Spyderco Collection: Military (S110V), Bob Lum Darn Dao(CPM-154), Yojimbo 2 (1 in S30V & 2 in 20CV), Sustain(20CV), Native 5(Maxamet), Jumpmaster 2(H1), Province(4V). SHORT LIST: CF Shaman(S90V), Lum Tanto, Native Chief(?), Street Beat (AEB-L, NioMax or Nitro-V at 63HRC).

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby tbdoc4kids » Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:06 pm

Spyderco seems to do pretty well as is. I would not want them to sacrifice quality to produce a greater volume of knives, and we just went through the “they’re not making enough” with the Crucarta Shaman. I trust Sal, Eric, and the gang to make the right decisions for the company.

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby JD Spydo » Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:55 pm

tbdoc4kids wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:06 pm
Spyderco seems to do pretty well as is. I would not want them to sacrifice quality to produce a greater volume of knives, and we just went through the “they’re not making enough” with the Crucarta Shaman. I trust Sal, Eric, and the gang to make the right decisions for the company.
Respectfully I wasn't talking about Spyderco making sacrifices to the quality of their product to get more name recognition. I was simply saying that with the super quality of the knives they made and how they had fans and end line users but yet their name just isn't out there the way I would have expected it to be by now.

They've been in business I believe since 1978 I believe I was told once. But on the other hand I have no idea how long BUCK, CASE or KaBar had been in business before their names became commonly known. With all things considered and as long as I've known about and have used their products I would think that many more people would be at least familiar with their business name by now.

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby wrdwrght » Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:18 pm

Spyderco is known well enough where it matters to have made the Glessers and their crew successful in a niche not needing throngs of customers.

Moreover, I think Spyderco has not pursued greater name-recognition in order to preserve the workplace- and product-magic it has created.
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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby Surfingringo » Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:53 pm

There is definitely truth to this. I mention the brand to a LOT of people and I bet among the average Joes, only 10% of them are even familiar with the brand. I’m always surprised that they don’t have more brand recognition than they to. The silver lining to that is that Spyderco is a company making high quality products that can compete with (and often outperform) many of the brands that have a larger market share and they still only have a small piece of the pie. That translates into lots of room to grow at whatever pace they choose.

I know from my conversations with them that growth is a lot more than just marketing. I remember speaking with Sal at Blade last year when he mentioned that sales were positive and they were having a hard time keeping up with demand on some models. I somewhat flippantly suggested “why not just open another factory and increase production”. Sal’s answer was very thoughtful. His main concern seemed to be being able to hire the right people and knowing that he could take care of the people he had. Honestly, the entire crew at Spyderco is rather unique in how they approach business. I’m not saying they are allergic to money or anything but they clearly have priorities and business ethics that aren’t solely centered around generating the highest possible profit margin. I sensed that from the beginning though and I’ve done all my knife shopping with them for years.

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby hambone56rx » Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:58 pm

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Simon Sinek

Applies to exactly what Lance said! They want to operate in the way that they believe business should be conducted. Then “if you build it, they will come!”

Hamilton

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby VooDooChild » Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:24 pm

It is interesting how many people have never heard of spyderco. And how many other people will dismiss the "ugly" knife upon first look. Dont judge a book by its cover and all. I usually will tell people that they pretty much set the standard all modern folders are still following. Pocket clip, one handed operation, good steel, serrations if you are into that, etc.

Generally I almost never meet people who are into edc folder type of knives. And even fewer of the ones I do meet know about or carry spyderco. I do however thoroughly enjoy running into another spyderco fan because I almost always have a good conversation.

In my area I have only bumped into about about 4 or 5 spyderco users. Its refreshing to not be treated like a crazy person for having alot of money in folders. Was pleasantly suprised when a military diver randomly called me out on a salt series in my pocket. Those yellow handles give it away from a distance to people who know.

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby curlyhairedboy » Tue Nov 26, 2019 9:03 pm

Integrity means doing the right thing, even when nobody is watching... And that means doing the right thing for the community, the crew, and the customer.

Not many know. But those who do, choose Spyderco. :)
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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby Tucson Tom » Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:20 pm

I like the picture being painted here of Spyderco. Not rushing to grow or pursue more gold bricks as the sole measure of success.

Success can be measured by a good product, a tight crew, loyal customers -- lots of other things.
I get the impression that taking care of their employees is important to them, which deserves high marks.

As somebody told me once, "Yeah Tom, but you can go home and get a good nights sleep every night."

I too am surprised that Spyderco is not better known. Among knife nuts there is a sector that pursues other things -- looks and some kind of macho cool factor, which is not what Spyderco caters to. Fine for them guys, but I am glad Spyderco does what they do.

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby SolidState » Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:36 am

I'd say most people don't really look too deep into knives - even those who carry knives. Just ask your average carrier what metal is being used in their knife. In-store purchases at malls or retail stores typically probably hover the $5 to $25 range. You see some specialized sporting stores having Spydercos, but I think the internet owns the middie-range knife world, and the materials science gear crowd. Tech-nerdiness with ergos, function, and materials is only common to a few American makers - all somehow intertwined with Sal.

People who know about knives generally know about Spyderco, and have an opinion. I've never met someone who has seriously studied knives who doesn't know about Spyderco - especially after the PM2. Even some of those hand-hammered-only people know Spyderco because Spyderco haunts knife shows.

People do have to hold them - they have to come out of the case for you to understand. Spyderco knows this and set up their booth accordingly. They know that holding the knife is integral to understanding the form. They often have designers hanging out at the booth, in addition to Sal and Eric, to discuss ergonomics and innovations with customers.

The general store case doesn't really do that on the level. It does seem to be one of those things where enthusiasts are the ones who end up with the enthusiasm.

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Re: Spyderco Name Recognition?

Postby tbdoc4kids » Wed Nov 27, 2019 4:34 am

JD Spydo wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:55 pm
tbdoc4kids wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:06 pm
Spyderco seems to do pretty well as is. I would not want them to sacrifice quality to produce a greater volume of knives, and we just went through the “they’re not making enough” with the Crucarta Shaman. I trust Sal, Eric, and the gang to make the right decisions for the company.
Respectfully I wasn't talking about Spyderco making sacrifices to the quality of their product to get more name recognition. I was simply saying that with the super quality of the knives they made and how they had fans and end line users but yet their name just isn't out there the way I would have expected it to be by now.

They've been in business I believe since 1978 I believe I was told once. But on the other hand I have no idea how long BUCK, CASE or KaBar had been in business before their names became commonly known. With all things considered and as long as I've known about and have used their products I would think that many more people would be at least familiar with their business name by now.
No offense to anyone meant. I agree they ought to be better known, but I would not want them to alter their business model, by increased advertising for example, unless it is what they think is best for the company.

I personally love the variety of models, steels, and other materials, but suspect that is one of the challenges for smaller brick and mortar stores to choose what to carry.


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