Inspiring Examples of #HACK Content in Action from the Outdoor Industry
In our blog, 8 Tips For Effective Brand Messaging During Covid-19, we shared with you some principles for effective messaging during this time. The main takeaways are to stay visible, to #HACK your content (be helpful, authentic, clear, kind), and to switch your mindset from sales to serving. Now it is time to dive into some examples of those principles in action. Below we share some examples from Liquid Spark clients and industry friends that are doing a great job of staying present and creating inspiring content that is of use for their audiences. Our hope is that these examples will further inspire you to create service-first content for your audiences to help your brand be in the best position possible when we are all able to adventure again!
1. Telling the Story of Operations Changes That Are Meeting a Need
Stream2Sea shows us what it means to pivot your business, step up to offer urgently needed products, and embrace optimism in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. They have used their award-winning expertise in making the highest level of environmentally-friendly sunscreen and skincare products to make – yep – an environmentally-friendly hand sanitizer! They’ve also discovered a critical new use for an existing product: their mask defog works great for preventing fogging of health workers’ eyewear with PPE.
Many outdoor gear companies such as Chaco are also making huge shifts in operations to meet growing needs. They have devoted one of their factories entirely to making masks during this time. They keep their audiences informed on the shifts in operations and tell the story of the different ways these masks are being put to good use from sending them to healthcare workers on the frontlines to donating to the homeless in their community. They have also made an even closer connection to their audience by letting them in on the operations. They are encouraging their customers to send in letters that they then put into the boxes to provide encouragement to those who receive them.
2. Educational Content That May Have Been Put on the Back Burner
The Nomad Adventure team is hard at work creating educational (and fun!) content for their audience. In the face of the pandemic, Owner, Yuen Li was dedicated to keeping her staff on the payroll. Although her team could not continue in their normal roles, they have all pitched in to use this time to create content that Nomad Adventure will be able to use to maintain a social media presence and to leverage in the future once they are back to “normal” business.
For example, they have been hard at work creating videos that answer many of their FAQs such as the one below. Educational content for customers can be put to the back burner during busy season, so this is great use of their down time! Whenever that future customer asks “what should I wear”… they can save time by pointing them to this fun video!
3. Content That Promotes Dreaming or Gives Your Audience an Escape
As many outdoor areas have temporarily closed and people have had to cancel their planned trips, audiences are yearning for an inside look into their favorite places from the safety of their home. Wilderness Voyageurs created a great example of content that will keep their audience dreaming of their next trip to Ohiopyle!
They are providing a solution to their audience’s cabin fever by taking them on a virtual tour of Ohiopyle by bike. They explore all the iconic spots in the state park, ride on the GAP trail, and check out some spring blooms. They have also launched a series of lives from the Ohiopyle State Park including a live painting session by one of the iconic waterfalls. This is the perfect escapist content for your audiences in a time when social media can be quite heavy.
Bryson City Outdoors
Bryson City Outdoors is another great example of a brand that is creating opportunities for “escape” for their audience. Not only are they an outdoor store but they also have a craft beer tap room on site. Because of the current situation, they got creative and are now hosting virtual beer tasting live on their social media! Participants can go by the shop and grab a to-go of the beers that will be featured in the tasting and sip along with the virtual bar tender every week. This is a great way to keep visitors dreaming of their next trip to the tap room to hang out with friends after a day of adventure. Not only does it hit the “dreaming” aspect, but it is educational and an innovative way to continue to make sales.
4. Telling the Story of Community Support
The team at Rancho Cacachilas are doing amazing work to provide support to their community during this time. Not only have they joined up with other local businesses to start a community food bank, but they have also been giving out seeds and extra compost/manure from their gardens in order to help their community members start home gardens.
To help those in the community succeed they have also released a video series with helpful tips on starting your garden at home! Not only is this helpful to those in their local community but it is also extremely informative for those in their social audience who are stuck at home far away and have been inspired to start a garden during quarantine.
Ciclismo Classico has also started an interesting initiative in order to support their community. They have called on their audiences to help them raise money to support their Italian Bike guides that are out of work and possibly facing a “dry” summer as tourists want to stay closer to home. Here’s where it gets interesting… Since their guides are on strict lockdown they have been doing a lot of cooking and have come together to create a Guide Cookbook! Everyone who donates to the fund for the guides will receive a copy of the cookbook. They have already raised nearly 39,000 dollars. Their audiences can also join the guides even Friday for a virtual cooking lesson!
5. Sharing Inspirational Stories from Inside Your Organization
Now is the time to remind your audience about “your why.” Most companies in the travel industry are not able to directly sell right now so why not tell the story of what makes your brand different from the rest in your area to be better positioned when it is time to sell again.
Alpaca Expeditions is taking this time to share inspirational stories from within their organization and what sets them apart from the competition. One example of how they are set apart from their competitors, is the treatment of their porters. They go above and beyond to support their team of porters and are taking this time to tell those stories through their content creation.
Hopefully these examples have inspired you to create great content – now is the time for some brainstorming and content planning! What inspirational stories within your organization or community are going untold? What opportunities do you have to bring light to someone’s day by giving them an inside look into your operations or unique location? What educational content have you been meaning to get to but was put on the back burner during the regular season?
Taylor uses her marketing experience, combined with her affinity for the outdoors, to show clients that their business goals are achievable while staying environmentally and socially responsible. When she isn’t working, you’ll find her hiking and camping around her home in Western North Carolina.