Podcast setup
Fernando Lavin on Unsplash
Podcast setup
Fernando Lavin on Unsplash
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Industry Interviews

Talking branding and strategy on the Backcountry Marketing Podcast

Andrew Bethune
Aug, 2021
7 mins

As an avid podcast listener myself, I was honored to be featured on a recent episode of Cole Heilborn’s Backcountry Marketing Podcast. It’s a great podcast featuring interviews with a wide cast of industry leaders, and is well worth subscribing to for anyone interested in the world of outdoor industry marketing.

Backcountry Marketing podcast

“Listen to leaders of the outdoor marketing industry discuss the gritty details of their work, personal lives, and latest adventures. Whether you’re standing in the lift line, shuttling to fresh loam, or cracking a local beer, these conversations will teach you about the ever-changing world of marketing. This is the Backcountry Marketing podcast.”

On our episode from June 30th, titled Something to Everyone, Cole and I discussed the timely topic of inclusivity in the outdoors and the meteoric growth we’re seeing in outdoor recreation from a wider range of people (in 2020, the industry experienced the largest jump in participation on record). As an agency that works with a wide range of clients, from the most core action sports brands to cross-over outdoor lifestyle brands, we’re no strangers to the challenge of crafting messaging and marketing that resonates with a wide range of people, with diverse backgrounds and interests.

During the podcast, I referenced a number of projects and topics, some Origin-driven and some not, that are interesting examples of how brands are adapting to the growth in outdoor participation and the increasing crossover between outdoor and mainstream lifestyle brands. Below, I’ve pulled together a collection of a few specific references that we discussed during our conversation.

L.L.Bean Fishing Campaign

Origin worked with L.L.Bean to create storytelling content as part of a campaign to reconnect L.L.Bean with their hunting and fishing heritage. During the podcast, Cole and I discussed how in crafting this content, we chose to focus on themes of mentorship, relationships and bonds that are forged through fishing in our storytelling. This differs from a lot of the typical content we see in the fishing industry that typically celebrates the challenge or action and adventure that fishing provides to many of the more core fishermen some of these brands target.

The North Face Gucci Collab 

As an example of the extent that the outdoor industry is influencing other subcultures, we discussed the recent collaboration between The North Face and Gucci. This collaboration has caused quite the stir in the industry, and has polarized industry pundits. The signature promotional piece of the collaboration is a fascinating if not bizarre video piece showcasing models in a 70’s-esque Sound of Music-inspired setting, traipsing around in skirts, heels and TNF x Gucci puffy jackets.

Arc’teryx Gorpcore and Catwalk Fashion

WTF is Gorpcore? Good question… and I’m not sure I can succinctly answer it, but I can tell you that the crossover space between high society fashion and the minimalist utilitarian outdoor wear of Arc’teryx is one of the best examples of how no marketing department can truly control what the world does with their brand (it’s important to note that a lot of the adoption of the brand outside of the core outdoor space has been unofficial, not directly supported by Arc’teryx). 

The publication Grailed wrote a great piece on how catwalk fashion designers, rappers and everyone in between have adopted the Arc’teryx brand into everything from daily-wear to Paris fashion shows. This video from Hypebeast also does a good job of covering the phenomenon and discussing how the brand has managed to stay true to its core despite these many tangential paths. 

It was a true pleasure to chat with Cole on this interesting topic and share some of the expertise we have on the subject here at Origin. I hope that listeners find the conversation insightful and valuable, and I encourage you to subscribe to the podcast and explore the library of other great interviewers (including the latest episode with a long-time client and friend of Origin, Rob McSkimming, on the origins of Crankworx).