Kroll Summer Magazine

Axil: Seismic Shifts Are Taking Place In The Hearing Protection Industry

“This brand was built with the most devoted and enthusiastic professionals in mind,” opined Axil Director of Sales Tyler Smith during a conversation about the company and its past, present and future. “Our brand resonates with and speaks to our customers the same way their firearm or their motorcycle does”. “Enthusiasm and devotion” have indeed been an accurate description of perhaps not only the target audience for Axil, but also its growth and performance in a diverse, emerging market. What started as a small family business has transformed into a universal brand catering to different industries as varied as construction and professional racing organiza- tions, to hunting and competitive shooting sports. The company has experienced consistent explosive growth over the last few years with recent milestones that include a public listing on the NYSE stock exchange and securing partnerships with major companies including NASCAR and Sig Sauer. “We definitely distinguish ourselves from our competition in different ways,” says Smith as he describes how Axil technology doesn’t use traditional noise cancellation in its products, but actually a proprietary term they refer to as “compression” that utilizes digital technology to control the volume of sound allowed thru to the ears, changing hazardous noise into a different frequency entirely. This allows users to maintain critical spatial awareness when around loud industrial machinery or handling firearms in a training, competition or even emergency situation. Launched as a DTC online company, Axil has evolved into something much larger. They have a foundational strategy that increases and strengthens its relationship with

explains Jeff Brown, Chief Operating Officer. “That doesn’t just apply to innovation, or products, or even marketing. Rather, when we designed our sales plan, we designed and built it with the idea of expanding internationally and actively supporting retailers and dealers.” Examples of this strategy include giving maximum margin to retailers and giving full access for them to participate in online sales promotions. “Whether small box boutiques or big box retailers like Bass Pro Shops, our plan is to provide maximum value to both partners and customers alike.” Transitioning into a multifaceted business, dealer support for retail brick and mortar is an incremental focus for the company. However, both Brown and Smith are clear that online will continue to be a very strong and robust marketing aspect for future business, with a strong presence maintained in social media and brand awareness. “The business lines have been successful in complementing each other,” Brown says when discussing the DTC and B2B growth strategy. Axil has a full line of products running from traditional earplugs to muffs and wireless earbuds. The GS Extreme 2.0 is a cabled hearing protection product that has become Axil’s best selling product for good reason, touting the capabilities of three different products in one. Bluetooth earbuds, noise isolation headphones and electronic

earmuffs. “A lot of our growth can be attributed to the success of the GS line,” Smith says when discussing the versatile product being used by hunt- ers and industrial professionals alike. Last year Axil also released the XCOR line of wireless Bluetooth earbuds with touch controls and adjustable tips to accommodate the different needs of professionals working in hazardous noise environments. Sleek and tactical, they can be worn for everyday purposes like listening to music or taking calls, and are just as suitable for training on the firing range. Axil eventually released a less expensive non-Bluetooth version for workers and professionals that doesn̕ t require connectivity of phones or tablets, a clear demonstration of their goal to provide products to the changing demands of different industries. When asked about future products, Smith is tight-lipped, but talks about how with each product Axil has released, they have listened to their customers and released products accordingly. “The (GS Extreme 2.0) is a popular product, but a lot of customers were inquiring about a completely wireless option. So we released the XCOR with their concerns and suggestion in mind. Now we are listening to the feedback and suggestions regarding the XCOR and keeping that data in mind for future products.”

its B2B partners as well. “Axil is different from the ground up,”

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