episode 100: Kimo Seymour, Life Time Fitness

“In the end, we just want to tell a story about what we’re doing at events like this and make it relatable from the pro level to the guy or gal just coming off the couch, jumping on a gravel bike and attempting something like even a 25-miler at Dirty Kanza.”

– Kimo Seymour, SVP Operations, Athletic Events & Media Division of Life Time

EPISODE PREVIEW:

Welcome to Channel Mastery’s 100th Episode!!! It’s been two years of love and commitment to driving success for specialty…and we’re just getting started.

To celebrate this milestone, I’ve invited a very special guest from a very special crossover of my personal life and my professional life. This year, I competed in my second Leadville 100 MTB, and it’s official: I’m a lifer. My guest for Episode 100 is Kimo Seymour, a fellow lifer. Kimo has not only raced in 12 (!!) Leadville 100 races, he’s also served as race director and now oversees all of events and media for Leadville’s parent company, Life Time.

We cover a lot of ground in this episode, from event marketing to community building, and from content to strategic brand partnerships. The essence of our discussion revolves around a challenge that all specialty businesses face: how do we focus on profitability without losing the authenticity and the passion that brought us to this field in the first place? Can corporate entities co-exist with homegrown events?

The answer is heck yeah. Not only can they co-exist, but together, the opportunities to have a positive impact (on local economy, on the experience, on the growth of a sport) grow exponentially. It requires caretaking and listening and genuine connection with the people who are the heart and soul of any event. It requires thoughtful and strategic brand partnerships. Ultimately, to build a community through shared experiences and values, it requires that we put the humans first.

GUEST PROFILES:

Kimo Seymour

Kimo Seymour is Senior Vice President of Operations for the Athletic Events Division at Life Time.  Following a 15-year career in real estate development, Kimo purchased the Red Rock Company, (events production) in 2008, which has since been acquired by Life Time. He joined Life Time in 2011 as the brand director for the Leadville race series. Currently, Kimo oversees the Events and Media business across the complete Life Time portfolio.

Kimo is also an active endurance athlete, having completed eleven Ironman’s (six in Kona), 12 Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike races, 24-hour mountain bike races and multiple marathons. He is a father of a 23-year old daughter, Makena, and a 21-year old son, Kai. Kimo and his wife Julie remain very active in the racing community, participating in many Life Time events annually.

TOPICS COVERED:

strategic brand partnerships, metrics beyond financial, endurance events, narrative brand storytelling, founders stories, building community around experience, user generated content driving engagement, value equation of sponsors, strategic content marketing, joint venture branding, data acquisition and analysis

SELECT QUOTES:

“I never want to say to our team that fiscal discipline isn’t important. It certainly is. But we also, we get measured on some other metrics that really provide benefit to Life Time, more than just the profitability of an events business.”

“Where I think we differ is, I think we build a community. And you said it a couple times earlier: community around an experience is what we’re building.” 

“A sponsorship or partnership is only as valuable as the investment you make in activating it.” 

“In the end, we just want to tell a story about what we’re doing at events like this and make it relatable from the pro level to the guy or gal just coming off the couch, jumping on a gravel bike and attempting something like even a 25-miler at Dirty Kanza.”

“I think that we get just as much useful information out of hearing from athletes. …‘How did this event make you feel?’ To me that is just as, or more valuable, than data we can get from something like Athlinks or ChronoTrack, while there is certainly value there [too].”

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