COVID-19

172: Joe Wold, Founder Of LifeHandle, Successfully Launched His New Company During The Pandemic With The Help Of Friends, Family and Kickstarter.

Joe Wold, Co-Founder of LifeHandle, a versatile sling created to handle anything, shares their founding story and Kickstarter journey.

171: Stephen Regenold, vp of strategy at lola digital media

VP of Strategy, Stephen Regenold focuses on connecting with Lola Digital Media’s and AllGear’s consumer through authentic content and new sites

170: Rob DeMartini, ceo of usa cycling offers insight into the long-term strategy of the organization

USA Cycling CEO, Rob Demartini, talks about the monumental growth of the cycling industry through 2021 and the importance of newcomers.

169: Gareth Richards bridging the gap between outdoor industry professionals, brands and specialty retailers

Outdoor ProLink CEO, Gareth Richards talks bridging the gap between brands and consumers, and the value of industry Pro’s referrals.

#166: scott buelter, ascent360 ceo on consumer trends for specialty retailers in 2021

Scott Buelter, Ascent 360 CEO discusses consumer trends focus in 2021 Q2, specifically hitting on the bike and ski industries.

#164: robin thurston, outside

Outside Inc. CEO, Robin Thurston, discusses the company’s recent acquisitions, COVID-19 and plans for the future.

162: Snowbound Festival, sustainability at trade shows and welcoming newcomers to winter sports with Brian Stephenson

Brian Stephenson, Director of Snowbound Festival discusses a new membership platform, the future of in-person events and much more.

160: mastering your multi-channel mix through authentic content with scott brady, overland international

“If you have specific knowledge and you engage with a consumer or reader or a business partner in an authentic way, then it shows as this will always be successful.”

– Scott Brady

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Learn how Overland International is utilizing a multi-channel approach to marketing – print, podcasting, online, email – to connect with its customers. 
  • Why authenticity is so important in your marketing strategy – it makes all the difference and Overland International is doing an amazing job at it! 
  • The future of consumer shows, like the Overland Expo. Is there still a place for shows like this today? 
  • Overland International’s secret sauce to making newcomers feel welcome – and how this is the key to success for the industry.

EPISODE PREVIEW:

Scott Brady of Overland International has been a path burner for the overland community for years, and continues to lead the charge when it comes to connecting, engaging with and welcoming new participants to the industry. Overlanding, which has grown into a nearly a trillion dollar industry was once thought of as separate from the outdoor industry, but Brady continues to tie together the two into a broader ecosystem that is beneficial for everyone. 

In this episode, you’ll hear how he’s mastering a multi-channel mix to continue to connect with his established audience on channels he owns, while also welcoming and engaging new enthusiasts. He also highlights the importance of continuing to diversify the fans and followers of the sport for long-term industry success. We also touch on predictions for the future of consumer shows like Overland Expo and the challenges we’ll face in years to come because of the pandemic and shutdowns. 

Overlanding may be a lesser known branch of the outdoor industry, but it’s one I’ve been excited to keep an eye on for the past few years and even more so while studying how the consumers have changed and shifted their behaviors and preferences because of COVID-19.

GUEST PROFILES:

Scott brady

Scott is an adventure driver and consultant who has worked on various specialty-vehicle projects for auto manufacturers, aftermarket companies, and television producers such as Top Gear. He is a passionate photographer and writer with international credits, the only American to have won the esteemed Outback Challenge, Morocco, and a Tread Lightly Master Trainer. Business ventures during the past decade include the Overland Society, Expeditions West, Expedition Portal, and Overland Journal. He has traveled through over 60 countries and across every continent. His most current project, Expeditions 7, is a round-the-world overland odyssey in two 78 Series Toyota Land Cruisers. After reaching the end of the road, he enjoys canyoneering, climbing, and mountain biking. Scott lives in Prescott, Arizona.

TOPICS COVERED:

Scott’s military background, growing an audience, overland outdoor recreation, how COVID shifted vacationing for families to promote more vehicle-based adventure travel, forums in the overlanding community, working in the outdoor publication space, the evolution of the overlanding community, mastering your multi-channel mix

SELECT QUOTES:

“The less siloed we are and the more inclusive our communities are and the more we openly share information, the better. And I would actually say that one of my greatest hopes with all of this was to have much broader inclusion of outdoor recreation is because they also take much better care of the planet. That was always one of our greatest concerns with overlanding was to make sure that it didn’t go down the road of four wheel driving, which is nothing wrong with that, but I wanted it to be about travel and the outdoors. So this broad adoption of overlanding by the outdoor community means we have better stewardship. We have better care for the environment. We have people who better understand that and are more quickly to adopt it with their vehicle as well. So I see that as a big positive.”

“If you have specific knowledge and you engage with a consumer or reader or a business partner in an authentic way, then it shows as this will always be successful. I think that {consumer} shows will always be different from now on. I think that it will take a while for attendance to come back. Maybe not so much in the Overland space because of the rate of growth. I think that those shows will be fine, but I think consumer shows in general industry shows, in general, are going to take some time to come back. But if they focus on building specific knowledge, supporting specific knowledge in an authentic way, then they will have value in the long term. Otherwise, some other medium will take that role. And that’s the thing that I believe events have a moment in time to recognize and to engage with my opinion.

“So I believe that like what you’ve done with this podcast, which is, again, specific knowledge presented in an authentic way, it has a lot of value to people, and you own the channel, you own the outlet. So that is very powerful. So for me, I always focus on that first, which is why we have a print magazine that we send to our own subscribers that we deliver to the newsstand. It’s the reason why we have our own that we actively develop both the community on that website and the content that brings in new readers, a podcast is the same. And that’s why we started a podcast just over a year ago. We’re at a couple of hundred thousand downloads, which I feel grateful for, and it’s done well. So it’s just continuing to build those network effects that we have more control over. Social media still has a place, but we use it as a marketing tool, not as an audience development tool.

“The thing that is most important for any industry is that you see young families with children involved. If you don’t see that, it’s time to worry. So as we have seen our demographic at younger, and maybe the trips are less ambitious, but when you see their children there, and you see multicultural communities developing and you see other people coming into the, into the organization and into the industry, it’s extremely exciting. It’s super important that it continues to diversify in every way possible.”

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156: Andrew Osborn, Outdoor Research

“As consumers, as individuals, as humans, we, how we interact with brands, changes and evolves at all times, we go through these micro paradigms where we’re really excited about a certain trend. Cranberry juice popped off last year with the, the viral cranberry juice video along with fleet Fleetwood Mac. So there’s these like really like interesting, exciting micro trends that happen, but then there’s also macro trends of how consumers interact with brands and those macro trends. I get really interested and excited about when we move from one to the other.”

– Andrew Osburn, Outdoor Research VP of Brand Creative

EPISODE PREVIEW:

In this episode of Channel Mastery, I am joined by Andrew Osborn. Andrew became the VP of Brand Creative at Outdoor Research, a beloved Verde Brand Communications client, after years of working in creative studios and on the design side of advertising agencies. He started at Outdoor Research  just weeks before Covid-19 hit the states and has played a pivotal role in rebranding and guiding creative efforts throughout 2020 and is leading the charge into 2021.

Outdoor Research proved to be the leader of innovation and product development when they pivoted their productions early in the pandemic to create their face masks. In this interview, we dive into Andrew’s past work, how they quickly shifted production in the pandemic, where OR is headed next, and what 2021 has in store for brand storytelling, consumer engagement, hard goods marketing, and more.

GUEST PROFILES:

Andrew Osborn

With a background in design and interactive experience, Andrew Osborn isa creative director who blends passion and profession with a strategic focus in the athletics and outdoor industries. He currently serves as Vice President of Brand Creative at Outdoor Research.

TOPICS COVERED:

Outdoor Research, personal protective equipment, remote work, humanity in remote communications, brand vs product storytelling, strategic planning into 2021, video content, video fatigue, brands vs governments moving into the future, brand guidance via influencers, bringing Ron Greg into 2020 consumer’s minds, Mask Land, 2021 long-form video content

SELECT QUOTES:

“It was Dan Norris from one of our owners, one of our founders. He’s sort of a patriarch of sorts. He always says ‘Don’t ever waste a crisis.’ So that attitude really permeates the building. And as an organization, we have a lot of people who are sort of young in their tenure, in the organization and all are coming from pretty burly experiences. And so for me, specifically, coming from an agency background, you exist much more nimbly in the agency world…You were sort of always reacting, always learning, iterating and implementing new solutions. And so when 2020 sort of showed us it’s true self, we sort of snapped into a little bit of that reaction. There is always opportunity in a trying time. And we saw the opportunity to bring a new product, find a market, implement some of these rebrand structures and really do so in a manner that was really true to the history of the organization.”

“It’s [2020] accelerated all of this consumer mindset trend that we’ve been seeing for the last, you know, 24 months to three years of focus on sustainability, buying more than a product, wanting to be a part of a community, it’s accelerated all of that. And so when you approach these content systems empathetically and try and put yourself in the consumer’s mindset and bring them to the front of that, of that decision making tree, bring that into the front of that process rather than starting with a product or an idea, and trying to tell it to a consumer at the end it really makes a meaningful connection.”

“As consumers, as individuals, as humans, we, how we interact with brands, changes and evolves at all times, we go through these micro paradigms where we’re really excited about a certain trend. Cranberry juice popped off last year with the, the viral cranberry juice video along with fleet Fleetwood Mac. So there’s these like really like interesting, exciting micro trends that happen, but then there’s also macro trends of how consumers interact with brands and those macro trends. I get really interested and excited about when we move from one to the other.”

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155: Michelle Duffy, Life Time

“And what, what felt so off or or wrong for us for me was emotionally, yes, these are running races or cycling events, but we’re creating life-changing experiences.”

– Michelle Duffy

EPISODE PREVIEW:

Michelle Duffy, Director of Off-Road Events and Marketing for Life Time leads a small and mighty team with huge hearts and a huge commitment to their event athletes. If you are a long-time listener of the podcast, you have likely heard me talk about my love for Leadville and other events that the team at Life Time puts on annually. If you haven’t heard me talk about it, episode 100 recaps the significance of the 2019 race for me personally and introduces Kimo Seymour, SVP of Operations at Life Time. Understanding my own personal love for the events they host, it was obviously unfortunate that almost every single event was cancelled due to the pandemic this year. 

What I am most proud of though in working with Michelle directly and Life Time as a client of Verde Brand Communications throughout the year, is that their team did not shy away from the public, they didn’t climb into the figurative holes each of us likely considered, even if just for a second. No – Life Time’s team immediately found ways to stay connected to their target consumers. They offered challenges to all groups of people to participate in, they rebranded in the midst of a pandemic, they raised unbelievable amounts of money for foundations and organizations within their racing communities and pivoted in so many more ways than you’d believe.

I cannot wait to see what the Life Time team does in 2021!

GUEST PROFILES:

Michelle Duffy

Michelle Duffy is the Director of Off-Road Events and Marketing for Life Time.

TOPICS COVERED:

2020 Event Pivots, Event Management in a Pandemic, Virtual Racing Events, Cycling, Life Time Events, Dirty Kanza Rebranding, Unbound 2021, Emporia, Kansas, Bentonville, Arkansas, Leadville 100,000 Challenge, Leadville Racing

SELECT QUOTES:

And what, what felt so off or or wrong for us for me was emotionally, yes, these are running races or cycling events, but we’re creating life-changing experiences.”

“…And always like, whatever we’re doing is contributing positively. Whether that person holds on to the event experience, it’s just another like notch in the belt for them, or it’s something that changes their life for the entirety of their life. We’re always providing something euphoric joy, a point on the calendar that you, your family, your loved ones, your coworkers know you’re trending towards. And to then cancel, that was, it’s not just like you’re closing a store down for a short time and you’re not able to go get your groceries at the store. You’re used to going to go get your drink at the bar. You’re going to, this is like we’re dream makers. And we became dream breakers. And that was really hard for us because it’s so foreign to crush people. Usually our courses are what’s crushing people, but not the, the ability to have the event. So that was emotional, I think, for the whole team and for our communities.”

“…And a hundred thousand feet is ridiculously hard in an area like Florida or Ohio, but we came out with different content pieces or suggestions on how you, okay. You live in Florida, we’ll find a bridge and figure out how, what the elevation gain is on that bridge and go and do it as many times as you need to, until you hit a hundred thousand feet. And we had people do that and we had people manipulate their treadmills to add even more vertical gain on their treadmill so they could accomplish it. Or they spent a lot of time on the trainer. And we also launched a relay option, which was really successful particularly for families. So children haven’t been able to participate in our events but they could do this challenge…”

“I mean, it’s {Dirty Kanza race re-branding to Unbound} supposed to represent the feeling that people feel out there, like these roads, these, the Prairie, it feels limitless. And you’re kind of stepping away from all of reality when you’re out there riding 50, a hundred, 200, 350 miles of Flint Hills gravel. It’s also, it’s pretty unforgiving out there and yeah, so we’re excited and no rebrand is easy, you know, I’ve joked like how do you rebrand Pepsi? Or how do you rebrand Nike, and while I understand we are not Pepsi or Nike, we are in our space.”

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