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  • Creative Strategy Agency for Consumer and Active Lifestyle Brands

    We develop creative Go-To-Market strategies for companies to enter new markets, attract new audiences and develop new ways to serve their customers. The Brand Transformation Agency Clients approach us when they need to launch a new product , connect with a new audience or because their marketing has become stale . ​ We start upstream, do our own research and work systematically through the strategy to concept development and onto the rollout plan. We develop creative Go-To-Market strategies for companies to enter new markets, attract new audiences and develop new ways to serve their customers. The Brand Transformation Agency Clients approach us when they need to launch a new product , connect with a new audience or because their marketing has become stale . ​ We start upstream, do our own research and work systematically through the strategy to concept development and onto the rollout plan. start a conversation → working with us →

  • Case Studies | Examples of Our Creative Strategy Work | Two Things

    Arc'teryx: Coming Fall 2023 Timberland: Coming Fall 2023 The North Face: Discover Your Trail Novella Visit Sun Valley: Stay Sunny The North Face: Vectiv Plenty

  • Two Things | CaseStudy | Novella

    Most of the energy in the market today comes from big, iconic sneaker brands doing limited edition drops and generic collaborations with other established brands or artists. It’s an approach badly in need of a refresh. Client // Novella Assignment // Research & Insights, Brand Strategy, Global Advertising Campaign, Photography, Film, Global Messaging and Campaign Toolkit Designing a footwear company from the ground up. Sneakers are a 100 billion dollar market worldwide. In recent years, there has been a tidal wave of Instagram DTC starts trying to tap into this burgeoning market. For most, the story has been exactly the same: high craftsmanship at a lower price. Beautiful but boring. This started to bug us and drove us to find another way. We realized that the formula for these launches was basically all SNEAKER, no BACKSTORY. Which got us wondering, what would happen if we flipped this model? What if we turned a shoe brand into a storyteller? From this, Novella was born. Novella was born in the depths of the pandemic. Amidst the darkness, we tried to find light. Not just through the creation of our shoes. But through the stories of these uncommon artisans. And all the joy and inspiration they were putting out into the world. At a time when we needed it most. In recent years, there has been a tidal wave of Instagram DTC starts trying to tap into this burgeoning market. For most, the story has been exactly the same: high craftsmanship at a lower price. Beautiful but boring. Today, we exist to tell their stories. Each drop, we’ll take a blank canvass and transform it into a beautiful human story. About a barber or poet or comedian or chef. Extraordinary creators who inspire joy through craft. Every detail of the shoe (accents, colors, materials) will be carefully considered to tell their story. See more at novella2020.com

  • Two Things | CaseStudy | The Wishing Forest

    Our challenge was to help transform a typically B2B business into a B2C consumer experience, attracting quality visitors from a variety of demographic cohorts: adults, young families, teenagers. Success was measured by a variety of metrics using the interactive elements as the playing field, including but not limited to: time spent at each activation, repeat visits, and dollars spent across activations. ​ Regardless of holiday traditions, there are universal emotions that come with the season: Magic, Connection, Tradition, and Peace. Strategically, we took these and shepherded them into a simple, user experience brief: make moments of magic. Brookfield Properties, a behemoth of asset management, real estate, and infrastructure, primarily focused on B2B relationships and clientele in their shopping malls. The problem? Malls don’t exist to just serve the businesses and food courts, but rather the busy and excited shoppers stepping through their doors. And, malls at holidays? Overrun with decor and crowds only there to see Santa. A non-denominational, inclusive, and modern solution was needed. Client // Brookfield Properties Assignment // Innovation Strategy, Experiential Design, Digital Production, Retail Experience Design, Measurement Strategy A strategy to engage all ages during the busiest season. What they need today, is a new chapter in their story. One that is true to their adventurous spirit. But can speak to a broader, wider, more diverse audience. The interactive experience piloted in Holiday 2019 in two premium locations—Sono Collection outside NYC and Natick Mall in MA. Of the six installations proposed, four were used for the pilot with plans for national scaling in subsequent years. While the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately slowed the rollout, the rollout began again in 2022 across the US. ​ Both the pilot and future installations included unique “groves” full of AR experiences, animatronic games, and interactive soundscapes. Though the experience and installations looked analog and nostalgic at first first glance, their embedded tech created organic moments of joy, laughter, and play. Highlights included the “Wishing Tree” for visitors to place wishes inside pinecone ornaments and have them whisked away to a huge LED chandelier; the “Holiday Bells Grove,” a 24 foot central bell where movement unlocks a symphony; and the “Whispering Wishes Grove” where dreams and hopes are whispered to the forest and transformed into sound and light. The interactive experience piloted in Holiday 2019 in two premium locations—Sono Collection outside NYC and Natick Mall in MA. Of the six installations proposed, four were used for the pilot with plans for national scaling in subsequent years. While the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately slowed the rollout, the rollout began again in 2022 across the US. ​ Both the pilot and future installations included unique “groves” full of AR experiences, animatronic games, and interactive soundscapes. Though the experience and installations looked analog and nostalgic at first first glance, their embedded tech created organic moments of joy, laughter, and play. More than aesthetics, the Wishing Forest transformed how Brookfield could shift their lens toward their consumers rather than wholesale businesses, and arm their vast marketing team with the tools to drive quality, long-lasting engagement and impressions.

  • Brand Strategy Insights Blog | Active Life & Silicon Valley

    What Active Lifestyle Brands Can Learn from Silicon Valley By Paulo Ribeiro What does startup land have to teach brands way over in the active lifestyle space? Not everything. Not even most things, but there are a few really powerful ideas that if applied correctly can help a sleepy brand wake the hell up. FINDING PRODUCT-MARKET FIT In THIS classic post Marc Andreessen explains this fundamental concept and why it is so powerful for startups and particularly software companies. I’ve spent almost half of my career working in Silicon Valley and the other half working in very different business cultures (NY and PDX). But, there is much more to learn from one another than you might think at first… Generally Silicon Valley marketers don't understand brand strategy. Here comes the hate mail. As a pool they have depth in growth marketing, performance marketing, product marketing. All of the technical specialties are table-stakes, but they don’t really understand brand strategy as a group. Related: Marketing is often confused with Advertising as this post highlights. [Buried in the comments Seth sets the brand position straight] There is an amazing contrast of technical sophistication in SV with a lack of understanding of the creative arts. But, I digress. That isn’t the topic of this post. Most of the active lifestyle brands we’ve worked with found product-market fit decades ago. They don’t talk about it that way. But finding product market fit was a challenge that preceded the current crop of employees. Borrowing this notion can provide an incredibly helpful strategic framework for evolving their customer base and entering new markets. So many marketing briefs start from the assumption that the tactics are fixed, and maybe even the audience is fixed, so the only thing we can play with is the message. Which is crazy of course. But sadly it is the norm. Just because the core business operates one way doesn’t mean that each product line needs to go to market the same way. This is where the framework of Product-Market fit is super useful. Think of the market you are targeting as a ‘use case’ that can be defined by an audience and a behavior. And think of your product as the way you choose to serve that use case. By thinking about these as two variables the strategic playing field opens up significantly. But you have to tackle each of those assignments with clarity. Know which is which and play with each. Each of these two variables create opportunities to change the target audience definitions, the channels and tactics the creative briefs that generate new ideas. All it requires is borrowing a bit of wisdom from Silicon Valley. I said a ‘bit of wisdom’ they have blind spots too. 😉 CUSTOMERS VS. TARGETS These are two totally different things. We need to stop confusing them. As a marketer you should have a clear understanding of who your buying customers are. This might vary by business unit, product line and channel. There are so many tools at your disposal to paint a picture of who is buying your product via each channel whether direct or through retail partnerships, whether IRL or URL. The audience(s) that your marketing targets should also be clearly defined even if a significant portion of your spend is programmatic or performance in nature. If your customer and your target are thought of as the same thing internally, then good job! You’ve captured the Total Addressable Market and you aren’t needed any longer. Thank you for your service. I’m kidding of course but it's shocking how often this basic distinction is confused. The relationship between these two profiles are huge levers for marketing. Are they the same types of people? Are they vastly different? What is the relationship between the customers you have and the audience you wish to serve? What is the profile of someone who experiments and drives trial? What is the behavior of a loyal customer? If you don’t know then start your work with questions like these. Define hypotheses and test them. You’ll find that almost everything stems from starting to paint this picture. It's totally and completely cliche up and down the San Francisco Peninsula to talk about how many failed ventures entrepreneurs have been a part of. Why? Because of the widely held belief that you need to go big and if you fail then you LEARNED. It's so widespread that it has become a boring introduction up and down the SF peninsula. Baked inside of that overused backhanded compliment however, is a way of operating that many in the outdoor industry ignore thinking everything has been established. The weird thing is that this is not at all how many of their founders operated. Dave Lane and Jeremy Guard knew nothing about waterproofing jackets when they started Rock Solid Manufacturing in 1989. They just knew there was a better way to make a harness. Nor did they know the 140-million year old fossil that inspired their name change and logo (Arc’teryx) would become one of the most recognizable icons in outdoor gear—synonymous with quality and caliber. Yvonne Chouinard didn’t know much about business, in fact, he just wanted to find a way to keep adventuring . After setting up a blacksmith shop in 1957, Chouinard’s hand-made pitons quickly caught on like wildfire in the climbing communities. But in early 1989, the company—Chouinard Equipment—filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the assets of the company were purchased by former employees…eventually forming Black Diamond Equipment . And Chouinard? Well, he kept climbing…so much so that after a trip to Scotland in 1970, he realized there was an appetite for high-quality clothing for climbers. And then one inspirational trip down to Argentina with the future The North Face founder and best friend Doug Thompkins, Patagonia was born. Roy and Ryan Seiders didn’t know their coolers would upend the market, they first wanted to build cool fishing rods and custom, aluminum fishing boats so they could keep doing what they loved outdoors. Instead, they found themselves frustrated with the cooler options available and sought to build the best, most rugged, protective cooler out there. Hello, Yeti . THIS Is a good example of embracing experimentation and failure today. We know for a fact that Nike has applied lessons learned from experiments like this to their subscription strategies. CELEBRATING FAILURE Flirting with failure is core to many active lifestyle brands’ origin. It should be core to their marketing strategies as well. TAKING RISKS Which is of course related to celebrating failure. Co-labs have become the default method of driving news for brands in this space. And no doubt there have been some really fantastic and unexpected ones Nike X Tiffany’s is a great example. But this is classic borrowed interest strategy. Which is not dissimilar from casting celebrities that come with their own followings in advertising. It works, but it's short lived. It drives quick hype and then it's over. REI put climbing walls in their stores over 20 years ago . Nike pushed virtual shoe drops starting in 2016. After the pandemic shutdowns we have an opportunity to reinvent how brands meet customers. Who will take the next leap to stand out from the herd? [Buried in the comments Seth sets the brand position straight] If your customer and your target are thought of as the same thing internally, then good job! You’ve captured the Total Addressable Market and you aren’t needed any longer. Flirting with failure is core to many active lifestyle brands’ origin. It should be core to their marketing strategies as well. back to insights → [Buried in the comments Seth sets the brand position straight]

  • Brand Strategy Insights Blog | Unsettled Marketing Terrain

    The Terrain is Unsettled and Varied By Paulo Ribeiro Generating smart ideas is *not* the hardest part of developing effective work. BREAKTHROUGH IDEAS AREN'T THE HARD PART Less than 20 years ago the line between the responsibilities of an outside agency and a client’s marketing organization were crystal clear. Client-side marketing handled marketing strategy, brief development, high-level budget allocation and often measurement. Their products were sold through very established channels (dealerships for cars, wholesale and to a lesser extent owned retail for apparel and shoes, Sports speciality and wholesale retail for equipment etc…). Even as e-commerce was starting to become the force it is today, channels were generally added one at a time. What a client paid agencies to do vs. what was executed in house was very consistent. Agencies handled all brand strategy, all varieties of creative development from identity to Super Bowl Spots, Event production, and agencies handled PR strategy and media planning and buying. Anything that fell under the umbrella of creative strategy, ideation or production was handled by an agency. And now? All of those agency formats continue to exist in some iteration, and there has been an explosion of additional specializations in e-Commerce, measurement, social, performance marketing, UX and IxD and on and on. While at the same time clients have brought many of the same disciplines in house to some degree. But there is no consistency to how and why. Internal creative capabilities on the client side are driven by the nuances of their individual industry, the inclinations of their leadership or sometimes for random legacy reasons. And then the vast majority also employ agencies to finish, up-level or supplement the work that they do in house. The Terrain is varied, uneven, and often difficult to map out. This has serious implications for how to make effective work. Generating smart ideas, as difficult as that is, is not the hardest part of developing effective work. The hardest part today is understanding the landscape of how that work might be made - outside, inside or shared - and developing customized work and Go To Market plans with that in mind upfront. Too often this upfront step is skipped which wastes everyone’s time (and client’s money). To be clear there is a huge difference between being an order taker and asking the client what solution they would like and giving them what they asked for and taking the time to really understand the landscape and come back with an innovative solution. The former isn’t strategic and is a watchout for any client who wants to do effective work. The first job today should be canvassing the playing field of capabilities, needs and expectations and mapping that overtly to the team setup on both the in-house client side and the outside partners. The moment is going to happen one way or another. Make that moment happen earlier and there is a greater chance for success overall. Wait to figure out what the playing field is, and one side of the equation is going to look irresponsible. I’ll let you guess which one. It starts with a messy playing field… Agencies are used to sharing creds and case studies. And clients, with the seniority to hire, are generally well-trained marketers but the truth of the matter is that they are slammed with an ever growing list of responsibilities. They don’t usually have the time to dig into whether or not the exact setup of an agency is a good key for the lock that is their specific needs. So they look at finished work, think to themselves “I want something like that’ and hope that their team’s can sort it out on the same timeline that the ideas are generated and produced. …Unclear responsibilities hurt the work quality… With creatives and strategists on the agency side and client side and a shared desire for everyone to ‘partner’ the line between idea generator and editor of ideas moves around. The client team’s bounce between being creatives and clients sometimes in the same meeting which is unfair to them and everyone involved. Both teams can lose motivation, while the work becomes a slog for all involved. Too bad. With clarity on process upfront: 1+1=3+, without it...well 1-1=0. …and ends with all that money spent on strategy and ideas being wasted. How often have you been in a meeting where good ideas from pages 20 through 87 of a presentation are completely ignored? Assuming the agency is solid and isn’t throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks, this is usually because the client’s are thinking: “That’s ambitious. We don’t have time to figure out how to make that thing with everything else we have on our plates. So we’ll compliment their clever thinking and just hope they don’t follow up.” The client is paying the agency to painstakingly develop new work but rarely do the teams talk about process in creative meetings because it's ‘not creative’, we’ll handle that in ‘production’. Marketing capabilities vary tremendously across client organizations. There is absolutely no consistency between what is in-house vs. outsourced in large companies. Developing breakthrough ideas is the easy part. Tailoring ideas to the unique shape of a client’s organization is where the real work is done. back to insights → The problem is that without that discussion upfront the vast majority of that work will ‘make a great meeting’ and never see the light of day. How creative is that?

  • Brand Strategy Insights Blog | Paying 2x and Getting Less Than Half

    Paying 2X and Getting Less Than ½ By Paulo Ribeiro Internal Agency + External Agency and the work still needs work. Why do many clients literally pay TWICE for creative marketing that should be provocative and effective but is often uninspired and category-generic? It is rare to find a client side marketing team that doesn’t have internal creative staffing. At the same time most of those companies ALSO pay for new ideas or execution from an outside agency. Bean counters would expect that double the resources should create at least double the benefit. But the opposite is more often true. 3 REASONS YOUR CREATIVE ISN'T THAT CREATIVE A Tired Brief A business goal is a business goal. An inspiring creative brief that is going to lead to interesting, novel ideas that deliver on that business goal is a totally different thing. So many internal creative teams are briefed on business goals like: “We need people to understand our new technology. So let’s tell them about it.” And that habit extends to the brief that they deliver to the outside agency. This kind of brief hampers thinking right from the jump. A powerful creative brief is built on TENSIONS. Unresolved and contrasting issues give creative people space to play. Things like: The disconnect between a brand that is all about travel and exploration but constantly showcases its home turf. Or a brand built on the notion of innovation when the bulk of its sales come from a single product. Or the desire to build community while bots are plucking up all the limited edition drops. Yes these are real examples which is why they are so specific. Unpacking a very specific problem and then asking creative teams to solve for them is guaranteed to deliver ideas that at the very least don’t look, feel and sound like what your competitor is doing. An uncomfortable truth: your marketing challenges almost exactly match your competitors’. Every footwear company is working on the same problems: fit, traction, cushioning… This consistency of marketing challenge is true in most established consumer categories. It just is. To break through, you’ve got to solve for those challenges in a differentiated way. Leaning into unresolved tension is the best starting point to unlock a breakthrough. Not Enough Contrast in the Team Internal agencies don’t cut costs, but they institutionalize critical product expertise and this tradeoff is worth it. BUT, these internal teams are often made up of the brand’s hardcore fans. And this leads to organizations filled with people that have the same deep, but narrow worldviews values and ideas. They are too close to the thing to have unique or divergent ideas. The formula for interesting ideas in terms of staffing is that you need contrasts in all the ways. Different backgrounds, skill sets, interests and then you mash these people up because they will challenge one another and build different kinds of ideas, tools and stories. Blurred Lines This is the big one. Great creative talent is great creative talent. It’s real and let’s just call that a given. Some people are significantly better at creative ideas than others. But this is also true. The way to get to breakthrough creative ideas isn’t by having a single expert develop the one idea. It is…. By having many ideas. Great ideas are developed by generating tons of ideas and throwing away most of them. Every great creative director, inventor or storyteller will explain this in their own way. Ok, so what does this have to do with this post? back to insights → There is a proven setup that enables this to happen. A team of idea generators and a smaller group (sometimes just a single Creative Director) to edit and shape the best work from the options on the table. And when there are no good ideas on the table to redirect the idea generators. This is a solved problem! It has been solved for literally hundreds of years. Renaissance masters used this setup in their workshops, The editorial department of every great magazine did. Film studios have always sourced script ideas this way. From Pixar to Wieden+Kennedy to Lego the organizations that consistently spit out novel ideas use a version of this system. But a funny thing can happen when agency teams and client-side creatives mix and no one addresses the question. Who is generating and who is shaping? This shouldn’t be a controversy or uncomfortable discussion but if it doesn’t happen early it ends up being uncomfortable and often political. And the work suffers. It can work to mix teams from the agency and client side or have them each play a specific role. But it is critical that the person or team doing the creative directing is assigned and that it is assigned to people with the experience to do that. Too often hierarchy between the buyer and seller gets in the way of the buyer getting what they paid for. It’s ok to let the agency do the creative direction if they are best equipped to do it. It’s also ok for an internal creative director to do it. But have this conversation and have it early. There might be other reasons for stale marketing when there is serious investment being made but these stand out to us. While the playing field has shifted, the rules of the game haven’t. There are ways to make sure you get a solid return on your marketing investment. It's a simple conversation if you have it early. ​ Two things that sum up what we are talking about. “You’ll never stumble upon the unexpected if you stick only to the familiar.” “When it comes to creative endeavors, the concept of zero failures is worse than useless. It’s counterproductive.” Ed Catmull, Creativity Inc

  • Our POV | Why Brands Need New Strategies | Two Things

    Two Things to remember: 1. You can't spend your way to effectiveness 2. You can't skip the strategy 1. You can't spend your way to effectiveness Media is a rigged game. Your brand has to break through or else it doesn't exist. 2. You can't skip the strategy Structure follows strategy (not the other way around). Powerful insights from asking the right questions 1 2 C reative that stands out in message and format 3 A Go-to-Market plan that is nothing like the competition’s The best brands don't copy their competition. They lead. Two Things to remember: 1. You can't spend your way to effectiveness 2. You can't skip the strategy 1. You can't spend your way to effectiveness Media is a rigged game. C reative that stands out in message and format 2 Your brand has to break through or else it doesn't exist. Structure follows strategy (not the other way around). Powerful insights from asking the right questions 1 2 C reative that stands out in message and format 3 A Go-to-Market plan that is nothing like the competition’s Powerful insights from asking the right questions 1 2 C reative that stands out in message and format 3 A Go-to-Market plan that is nothing like the competition’s Powerful insights from asking the right questions 1 A Go-to-Market plan that is nothing like the competition’s 3 The best brands don't copy their competition. They lead. start a conversation → case studies →

  • Two Things | CaseStudy | Plenty

    Plenty, a technology driven company, approached us for the launch of their first consumer brand, one powered by AI-driven vertical farms that produce fresh, nutrient dense produce in urban areas. While conventional fruits and vegetables are grown to last long transportation times from the farm to the distribution center to the grocer to the table; Plenty takes the opposite approach with an emphasis on technology and a short transportation footprint. While convention dictates that toughness, durability for long journeys, and pesticides are needed, Plenty’s products are engineered for taste and nutrition first. ​ The challenge was the first product coming off the line was…lettuce. How does one position a new brand and better yet convince consumers that any lettuce was delicious and nutritious? What could AI, vertical farming, and music festivals all have in common? Lettuce dive in and show you (romaine calm, it’s only a pun). But the approach they pioneered—sponsoring the exploits of extreme outdoor athletes—is no longer as own-able or relevant as it once was. Client // Plenty Assignment // Brand Strategy, Mobile App Design and Development, Event and Campaign Development, UX Design, Chat Interface, Product Marketing Building a brand from the ground up - roots and all. What they need today, is a new chapter in their story. One that is true to their adventurous spirit. But can speak to a broader, wider, more diverse audience. Strategically, we focused on the cultural, consumer, and company landscapes to inform our positioning. Beyond the strategy, the brand needed a core identity, web design, and hook to grab an audience. Through our research, we uncovered that trial through taste could be the unconventional tipping point for Plenty instead of a traditional advertising and PR launch. Our creative brief yielded a go-to-market plan based on driving trials in unexpected locations - think music festivals, art fairs, and other outdoor gatherings. The customer journey was defined from trial to loyalty and hyper localized on a city-by-city roll out (with a model for future scale). A frictionless chat interface via SMS allowed those who sampled the greens at events to flow through the DTC pipeline, begin a subscription, and develop a deeper relationship with the brand. Moving quickly, pivoting often, and staying nimble, our collaboration with the Plenty team used quick sprints to ideate and validate in markets in real time, yielding lasting results for the company.

  • Two Things | Case Study | Mevo Start

    It was clear that there was an appetite for this product, with increasing hunger as new creators arrived on the scene. Mevo approached us to evolve their single product offering into a multi-product, highly realized brand—in 4 months. This included positioning, branding, naming their new product, developing the website, and completing the launch rollout. Beyond the sheer speed of the scope, a new challenge quickly emerged: how do you shift Mevo from a single product offering to a brand with a myriad of offerings, services, software, and—of course—products? Mevo, one of the pioneers and first creators in the livestreaming video space, launched their first product, the Mevo Plus in 2017 and quickly took over the market. High-quality, compact, and relatively affordable, Mevo allowed creators, organizations, and conferences to reach broader audiences. While it seems straightforward, good/better was not enough to define product positioning or distinguish the product in the growing creator market. Instead, through research and insights we dug into the consumer behaviors to carve out adequate space for both product offerings of Mevo: Plus and Start. ​ Identifying new cohorts through our research stages, we turned our positioning to a broader set of audiences that would potentially tap into the emerging category of video streaming. Coupled with this, we developed an identity system for Mevo and their brand. The new product, Mevo Start, rolled out with a minimal, integrated, and friendly identity backed by a complete website overhaul, product intro videos, and extensive social content. ​ We laid the groundwork for a compelling market offering and then, COVID-19 hit. Client // Mevo Assignment // Brand Strategy, Brand Identity, Messaging Framework, Product Launch, Advertising From a product into a brand umbrella with many products. What they need today, is a new chapter in their story. One that is true to their adventurous spirit. But can speak to a broader, wider, more diverse audience. As shelter-in-place orders swept the globe, video streaming needs rapidly increased as did an urgent need for connecting groups, gatherings, families, offices, houses of worship, and creators. It was a rare opportunity to witness a moment where the core vision of the product (connecting others) met the needs of today. Additionally, Mevo donated 100+ camera bundles to NYC public schools and other organizations at the onset of the pandemic to help teachers and organizers continue their work despite challenging circumstances.

  • Two Things | CaseStudy | The North Face: Discover Your Trail

    We call this audience, The Next Generation of Trail. They are an amalgamation of avid trail runners and hikers. Some run in pairs, others hike twenty deep. Some crush mountain trails, others stroll city parks. What unites them is their love for the trail. We set out to uncover, why. The North Face is legend in the outdoor adventure space. But the approach they pioneered—sponsoring the exploits of extreme outdoor athletes—is no longer as ownable or relevant as it once was. Client // The North Face: Discover Your Trail Assignment // Research & Insights, Brand Strategy, Global Advertising Campaign, Photography, Film, Global Messaging and Campaign Toolkit Authenticity and discovery on and off the trail. What they need today, is a new chapter in their story. One that is true to their adventurous spirit. But can speak to a broader, wider, more diverse audience. One of the first things the Next Gen taught us became the premise of our campaign; the idea there is a trail for everyone. And that whether you're a newbie or a trail junkie, a nature lover or a thrill seeker, if you get out there and keep trying you'll eventually discover your trail. Next Gen's love of trail differed greatly from motifs past. There was very little talk of testing limits or overcoming adversity. Instead, it was more about the trail making them feel whole and human. Or in other words, like a kid again. Out there in it, with their friends, enjoying the moment rather than fretting about the past or the future. ​ With the work, we wanted to tell real stories about real athletes. But, in the process, broaden the definition of what it means to be an outdoor athlete. So we focused our narrative lens on trail lovers that advertisers typically ignore: hike clubs, people of color, underrepresented communities, and people with different body types. These true stories of Next Gen trail lovers is only the beginning. In the months to come, we'll be exploring activations that actually help people discover their trail. In the meantime, thanks for listening and see you out there.

  • Strategy Insights Blog | Articles for Brands | Two Things

    Insights Insight Two Things is Doubling Down Our approach to brand transformation has worked in multiple categories but, we are choosing to focus primarily on the active lifestyle space and audience. Insight Your Brand's History is NOT Your Brand Strategy Why your brand’s past is not what your customers today care about. Insight What Can the Active Lifestyle Industry Learn from Silicon Valley? What does startup land have to teach brands way over in the active lifestyle space? Not everything. Not even most things, but there are a few really powerful ideas that if applied correctly can help a sleepy brand wake the hell up. Insight Brand X's and O's X marks the unforced error for Twitter. And, what can we learn from it? Insight The Urban/Rural Boundary is the Opportunity Cities hold a key to unlock the outdoors. Why is this massive opportunity so often ignored? Insight Include the Critics, Naysayers, and Roadblocks in the Process Why it never works to build a marketing strategy and get other departments to buy-in later. Insight The Terrain is Unsettled and Varied Generating smart ideas is *not* the hardest part of developing effective work. Subscribe to our newsletter ↗ subscribe ↗ Lessons, Tools, Tips and a few rants on creativity and marketing in the active lifestyle space* *What the hell do we mean by “active lifestyle”? We are talking about brands in the outdoor, sports, sports lifestyle and adventure travel business whether they make equipment, apparel or experiences for people to connect IRL move and explore the world. Brands that serve the active lifestyle market generally have a strong sense of purpose and an engaged community of customers. Their employees are also often a real community of like minded people. They are more likely to balance purpose and corporate social responsibility in the core of their operations than many other business categories. Subscribe to our newsletter ↗ subscribe ↗ Thanks for subscribing! Lessons, Tools, Tips and a few rants on creativity and marketing in the active lifestyle space* *What the hell do we mean by “active lifestyle”? We are talking about brands in the outdoor, sports and sports lifestyle business whether they make equipment, apparel or experiences for people to connect IRL move and explore the world. Brands that serve the active lifestyle market generally have a strong sense of purpose and an engaged community of customers. Their employees are also often a real community of like minded people. They are more likely to balance purpose and corporate social responsibility in the core of their operations than many other business categories. Subscribe to our newsletter ↗ subscribe ↗ Thanks for subscribing! Lessons, Tools, Tips and a few rants on creativity and marketing in the active lifestyle space* *What the hell do we mean by “active lifestyle”? We are talking about brands in the outdoor, sports, sports lifestyle and adventure travel business whether they make equipment, apparel or experiences for people to connect IRL move and explore the world. Brands that serve the active lifestyle market generally have a strong sense of purpose and an engaged community of customers. Their employees are also often a real community of like minded people. They are more likely to balance purpose and corporate social responsibility in the core of their operations than many other business categories.

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