I’ve always been a bit of an action sports head, although admittedly in recent years I’ve become much more of a watcher than a doer. Sofa surfer, rather than actual surfer.
As such, my respective Twitter and Instagram feeds are made up mainly of content posted by brands and athletes associated with the great outdoors.
‘Consumer me’ follows these accounts because he likes to feel part of ‘the scene’. He is given a glimpse into the world of his idols, and oh look GoPro just launched a new camera take my money now.
‘Marketer me’ appreciates good content, good storytelling, and brands which use these things to connect with the chap above (that’s consumer me).
Here are three examples of some action sports / outdoor brands, which I feel are doing great things in the content marketing department.
GoPro: hero of user-generated content
GoPro cameras have become synonymous with the action sports world – they are the ‘go-to’ for anyone who likes to put themselves in danger in the name of fun, and record themselves doing it.
And it’s precisely these people – those who record themselves jumping off cliffs, etc. – that GoPro leans on to help aid its success.
People like to share their stories, and GoPro does a great job of encouraging them to do just that. By empowering their users, Gopro has successfully appointed a worldwide team of content marketers who sell the dream, and their cameras, for free.
Patagonia: master storyteller
I have never owned an item of Patagonia clothing, yet somehow I know it’s good stuff. I know it’s good stuff because Patagonia told me so through some very clever storytelling.
Patagonia’s Worn Wear project is a great example of this.
Launched to coincide with Black Friday in the US, Patagonia describes the Worn Wear initiative as “A low-impact alternative to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping frenzy, our Worn Wear program is an invitation to celebrate the stuff you already own.” – source below.
Patagonia encouraged its brand loyalists to share pictures and stories of their old and beloved Patagonia items, which were documented on this blog, which in turn served as inspiration for the following video (trailer, full version here)
It’s a questionable marketing tactic – encouraging people not to buy your products – but when done in a way that is so closely aligned with the values of their audience, it’s an endorsement which is hard to ignore.
Red Bull: content with wings
Love it or hate it, Red Bull is now an established player in the action sports industry. The iconic blue & red logo is commonplace across pistes and parks around the world, and its following is only getting bigger.
The company has played a huge part in bringing once relatively unknown sports, and associated athletes, into the mainstream. How many people had heard of Danny MacAskill pre-2010’s Way Back Home? Or even trials riding for that matter?
Red Bull has earned its authoritative status, mainly, through publishing content. Loads of really good content, which resonates so deeply with the target audience that actually, the drink itself doesn’t matter – you don’t have to like the Red Bull drink to like the Red Bull lifestyle.
Red Bull’s evolution, from energy drink brand to multimedia powerhouse is an impressive one, but when you strip back the big budgets and cast of A-list ambassadors, the strategy is actually quite simple: Quit the hard sell. Create content people love. Be the authority.
The age old ‘content is king’ cliché is overused, but it’s still as relevant as it ever was, as the examples above highlight.