The Future of Adventure Brands Online – Outdoor Retailer panel recap

On Friday, August 8th, we had the opportunity while at Outdoor Retailer to sit down for an hour with SmartWool and Nau to talk about brand, e-commerce, content, and how these things relate to the future of adventure brands online. We’re expecting to upload video in the next few weeks, but in the meantime here is the presentation deck and some notes from the panel.

Premium brands are built by consumers establishing a premium value for products, services and experiences. How can adventure brands live up to their potential by having brand, ecommerce, marketing and social media work together? Learn how several adventure brands are navigating the complexities of creating online experiences.


Jeff Snow, Digital Marketing Manager at SmartWool

Jeff Snow is currently the Digital Marketing Manager at SmartWool. With a vast array of experience from commercial photography to consumer engagement, Jeff landed at Smartwool after spending 4 years with Moosejaw Mountaineering based out of Detroit, Michigan. In his tenure at SmartWool he has helped launched programs like the Fan Field Tester Program, The #FanVanTour, and #Socktober. Through experiential storytelling he has made it a priority to connect the social experience to the path to purchase. In between slash turns and powder burns, he’s blowing up feeds as @theJsnow.

Nick Lawrence, Marketing Manager at Nau

Nick is the recently hired marketing manager of Nau, a sustainable urban+outdoor apparel company in Portland, Oregon. Through 7+ years of experience with brands like Nau, KEEN and adidas, brand storytelling has been a key factor in Nick’s success across a variety of customer touch points. These successes are what drive his belief that striking a balance between brand building and revenue-driving efforts is the key to creating a lasting and meaningful company. Every moment of the customer journey is an opportunity to interact with your brand. What will you say?

(And if you’re new to Substance and our site, here’s a bit about me.)

Stephen Landau, Creative Director at Substance

Stephen is the co-founder and Creative Director of Substance, an interactive agency located in beautiful Portland, Oregon. With over sixteen years of experience concepting digital solutions for Travel Oregon, National Geographic, Pinehurst Resort, The North Face, and Nike, Stephen defines the idea of “interactive brand” as a guide for both creative execution and digital implementation. The belief that brand is the way people feel about a company is paramount in the creative process where interactivity, functionality and design all work together to create a positive brand relationship – Interaction is Brand. When not out running trails, carving tracks, and spending time with family, Stephen speaks locally and nationally on the subject of interactive brands and the ways in which adventure brands can utilize these ideas.


Moving from “Separation Mindset” to “Collaborative Mindset”

Outdoor product companies are moving from being manufacturers and wholesalers, to brands that communicate, market, and sell directly to consumers. This means the departments that used to be separate – manufacturing, sales, marketing, brand, and customer service – need to be coordinated. How do you coordinate these different departments, with different goals, towards a cohesive brand message?

Brand Strategy = Content Strategy

Brand isn’t about just a logo or a hangtag. It’s about the stories and content that you use to represent your brand. Why is a brand creating content, anyway? What is your singular “point of view”? How do you prioritize and create content and a content strategy to support a brand strategy? What does “content strategy” even mean?

Relationship Management vs. Customer Service

Social media is a marketing channel, and a sales channel, and a customer service channel… which makes it a Relationship Management channel. How can traditional perceptions and duties of customer service move to social media, and what skills are necessary to become a Relationship Manager? What does “having a relationship” between a brand and a consumer mean?

Brand Creates Community, Community Creates Brand

The way people perceive a brand creates a community (or tribe) of like-minded individuals who wear/use/support that brand. Conversely, the way a community interacts and supports a company creates a sense of the brand through their interaction. Is this a chicken-and-egg situation, or does one perpetuate the other? And how does one strengthen the other?

Experiential Sales – E-commerce as a Brand Experience

Historically, e-commerce has focused on conversion over content: how do get people from the start to the end of the purchasing funnel. But what differentiates one brand’s shopping experience from another? How do you sell the experience over selling the product/commodity? And what do you do when you don’t or can’t sell directly online? How do you create desire and brand value for a brand that has to be purchased elsewhere?

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