March 28, 2023

Outdoor Media Summit, The New Gathering Place where The Outdoor Industry Comes Together, with Yoon Kim and Lucie Hanes. [EP 374]

Show Notes

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Rick Saez
Outdoor Media Summit, The New Gathering Place where The Outdoor Industry Comes Together, with Yoon Kim and Lucie Hanes. [EP 374]
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Welcome back to the outdoor biz podcast. You are in for a treat today. Episode 374 of The Outdoor Biz Podcast features my conversation with Yoon Kim and Lucie Hanes from Outdoor Media Summit. If you’re not familiar with the Outdoor Media Summit we’re going to fix that. An annual event where the folks on the media side of the outdoor biz get together to network, connect with brands, participate in educational workshops and more helping move the industry forward.

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Show Notes

Let’s begin with a little bit about you. Lucy, How did you get into the outdoor lifestyle?

I was lucky enough to have a very outdoorsy dad who took me on my first hike when I was less than a year old.

I mean, obviously, I was not hiking, but I was nice and toasty on his back. So I grew up hiking, and backpacking and then got into whitewater kayaking through passengers adventure camp in Richmond, Virginia. I think I started kayaking then. So that was kind of my first introduction to adventure outdoor sports.

Yoon, how about you?

I think when I was in college. I had a roommate who was really into the outdoors. I wasn’t really into it, but he kind of made it a point to bring me into his sports, which were climbing and mountain biking at the time. And I never really, it’s like, for me at first it was just kind of, something that people like me didn’t really do. But he, he was pretty insistent about climbing with him on Wednesdays. Marty Combs was the roommate.

So you guys are both now involved with the Outdoor Media Summit. For listeners who might not be familiar, tell us about the Outdoor Media Summit. How did it start? Who attends? What kind of things goes on? The content? Lucy, you wanna take a crack at it? Let’s start with how it started. How did it start?

Yoon- Well I can tell you how it started. So back in the day there, there still is, there’s a conference called Shift, which is for land managers and it’s mostly for land managers and conservation agencies in Jackson Hole. Christian Beckwith reached out to me and said we wanna bring some media to shift. This is back in 2013 when he reached out to me, the first show I believe, and he said, Hey, we wanna bring media to this conference. How do we do it? You and I have heard a lot of people in media and you’re doing a lot of freelance writing and know a lot of editors.

So I was like well, have a gathering for media people and, do a separate conference at the same time. It’s your conference. He like he, we got some money for some money and you pull together some media folks. And I just wasn’t interested. I was doing some other stuff. Then he talked to me a few times and I was like, sure, why not? We’ll try it. And so that was the first blogger summit at the time, it was a gathering of like 30 bloggers and

that was the first Outdoor Media Summit. And where was it? In Jacksonville.

And who at it were bloggers to start with now who attends now?

It’s pretty much all media from all walks of life related to the outdoors, right? Writers, bloggers, photographers. There’s print media and digital media. But we like to focus on, print folks, editors, freelancers, as well as podcasters, bloggers, and Instagrammers. We try to get, the whole spectrum of, of media. It’s not just, it’s not just words and audio. It can be video, it can be a short form, it can be long form. We’re trying to expand the definition of what media really counts as.

And what about the content? Tell our listeners about the content you guys provide at the summit. It’s, it’s great content, by the way.

So our kind of philosophy on how we deliver content is at two levels. There’s the keynote level and the breakout session-level.

The keynote level is a bigger picture, higher level. This is where we’re gonna have advocacy themes and like the industry hoorah moments. They get everyone under one roof and let’s, think as a community towards, some big high-level talk. So that’s kinda at the, at the, the keynote level.

The breakout session level is very tactical, very how-to, and it’s really aimed at helping you be better at your job as media or as a marketing professional. So those are our two audiences.

And then we have our group activities, which is a little bit different. That’s more of, business development, business partnership, finding, these silly games and silly ways to bring people together.

But at the end of it, we’re always, we’re very intentional on how we program these things. Because we wanna put media and marketers together and see how they can collaborate to create these business partnerships.

So Lucy, would you add anything to that? Yeah, going back to that point about, the immediate and advanced-level content. I think a, a main point of doing that is that we are trying to be this conference for media by media. So that means that everyone that’s presenting is also participating. It’s this circular relationship. You’re not just, you’re not just there to share your secrets. You’re there to learn other people’s secrets too. Just because you’re an expert in one thing doesn’t mean that you are in some other aspect of media that could really apply to.

to you and your future. So we want to be able to have content that speaks to people that are experts that have been doing this for years and decades and think that they don’t have anything new to learn, but they definitely do right?

Lucy, how’d you get involved with the outdoor media?

Yeah, I mean, it’s kind of a funny story. I was I had just quit my job managing a climbing gym and was doing some contract work for Unionized Mutual friend and colleague Aaron Bible while I was kind of in between jobs. Was not planning on taking any sort of conventional job ever Again, turned out that this was not one, but I started doing some contract work for Erin who introduced me to Yoon.

Started working with Yon a little bit, just on the side doing some research and writing for him. We met for the first time in person at last year’s summer or met over breakfast, and said, eh, why not? And here we are. But really it was the kind of the magic of creating a community that lured me in and realizing that, there’s a way, to create something powerful enough that it’s worth any sacrifice.

I think you guys have struck a chord on something different. I mean, we were talking about gathering places and things, and I think we’ve all been to various trade shows and I think things evolve over time. And if they don’t stay fresh, people drop out and go do other things. And I think what you guys bring to the table is a different way of, of that gathering point. Was that conscious or did it just evolve as you created it? 

Yeah. It’s funny, we had a Dennis Lu on from outside. He compared what Outdoor Media Summit felt like to what OR felt like 25 years ago.

It’s one of my favorite testimonials. And I think there is intentionality in creating that vibe, that authenticity. Our steering committee is made up of top names in the outdoor industry, top brands and media. And this is truly a gathering that’s designed by our community. We’re not owned by private equity. We don’t have shareholders and we’re only responsible to our community. And that’s it. I think there’s a real hunger for something different, like you’re saying, Rick for a gathering place that is authentic, that is built for us, and something that’s also cost-effective, yet hyper-efficient and sustainable.

There’s a lot of intentionality in how we build that programming. And it’s funny, like sometimes people will realize like, wait a minute, that’s why they do that. They’ll be like, come up. Is that why you guys do that? Like, yep, we do that.

People have been attending since 2016. What do you think drives the growth and keeps them coming back? Is it that different format? Is it camaraderie and team building? Is it a combination of all of the above?

Lucy, feel free to jump here anytime, I feel like there’s a magic that we’re trying to capture, which is that authenticity piece, but there’s also gotta be that like productivity slash like, I’ve gotta have ROI on this thing.

You can’t just go to somewhere and have an amazingly great time walking around. So we’re trying to find that balance, and I think that balance is in programming. And so this week we have a steering committee made up, it’s the top names, right? The junkies and they’re guiding how we’re productive. But at the same time make it more authentic. And then we have these kinds of silly brainstorming games on like, how can we come up with new ideas around this stuff? But the ideas that they come up with are, it’s really pent-up demand, right?

This is stuff that they’ve been thinking about for a long time that they haven’t been able to introduce a trade show environment, but an environment like ours, a little bit more flexible. It’s also only media and marketers. So like we can do some things, it’s not including sales reps and retail.

Right. Distributors and, everyone else involved in the industry. It’s just made for marketers at Brands and media. Editors at media. So I think we can create programming that’s specific to the needs of those two audiences.

There’s a third that we’re trying to capture here and that’s PR folks, PR folks are such an important part of this media ecosystem. And we haven’t done a great job at like building programming. Because I think they are an important cog in the wheel.

You’ve been working with a lot of events for a long time. And we talked a little bit about how they’re gonna change. Is there anything else that you think other events might be evolving to? Yoon, you’ve been involved with some trade shows as of late, the big gear show I think we’ve all been to, but what about other events? What do you think is gonna happen in the trade show world?

That’s a great question. So this is kinda what I’m seeing is it seems like the evolution or, you could even say the disruption in the event. And outdoor for us. And we, we call ourselves outdoor, but there’s, there are 38 other outdoor industries that are part of, that say that they’re outdoor. So we’ll just say that we’re kinda the human-powered corner of the outdoor industry. Right. Fish guys, call themselves outdoor. The boating guys now, call themselves all these different guys say they’re outdoor. I think we’re more in the human-powered direction.

What I saw on bike was, after Interbike went away and the industry needed a new gathering place. They gathered, they rallied around conferences. So first it was people for Bikes. I’m also on the people for bikes events and marketing subcommittee, And that’s, that’s a really cool volunteer subcommittee position. What I see kind of happening in outdoor is similar to what happened in bike, they may be like five years ahead of us. This trade show went away again because of business proposition. The trade show model doesn’t serve brands like it used to. And there’s kind of two directions in the aftermath. One is conferences and the other is b2b2c, which is that business to business to consumer. So I see that happening in outdoor where, big gear show and both, kind going for this consumer model, the b2 B2C model. And then there’s the conference piece. I think that we’re the only real business conference. There are other conferences out there, but yeah, the Outdoor Writer’s Conference is pretty business-related from a writer’s perspective, right? They go there to meet people where they’re gonna create their articles and photography programs and all this stuff for a business purpose. So there are other, other conferences out there, and I think. Really the niche events, the hyper niche-focused events like us, and then the regional shows, right? So in the aftermath of the Old Glory days of trade shows, I wrote a big, long article about this in Outside Business Journal. It’s titled of Trade Shows or something. It was a pretty fun piece. Side Ghost wrote it, but Ken Kenji and I wrote it together. And it just kind of, outlays our thoughts on where we think the future of the events industry’s headed for outdoor.

And that’s kind what we came up with is the old heyday of, everything can be done under one roof, every single type of professional can come together and it’s gonna be a super long show. With, half a million dollar expenses from a brand, a two-story double-decker, giant booths, those days are over. The dates of rampant spending and events are now being fractured and going to the consumer model where that can continue. The B2C consumer model and then hyper-focused events and then regional events are kinda where we see the evolution going.

Alright, let’s shift gears and have a little fun. Let’s go to the lightning round. How about that? What outdoor activities do you guys participate in? Lucy, how about you? I know you run a lot, right?

Yeah. I am a dual sport athlete. I am an ultra trail runner and rock climber. Attempting to take both of those to the semi-pro level. Yeah, that’s kind of what I do. It doesn’t leave too much energy for anything else.

Yoon, how about you?

I’d say fly fishing is probably up there at the top of my jams with mount biking. I’m in, I live in Bentonville, so by nature of my backyard, there are tons of biking opportunities out here, and I climb as much as I can, and I ski and snowboard as much as I can.

Yoon, how about you all that gear you’ve reviewed all those years? What’s your favorite piece under a hundred bucks?

You know what’s funny is, I used to, you’re right, I used to get tons and tons of gear right? When and I got to a point where I didn’t like getting apparel anymore cause I would just get so much of it, right?

And I didn’t know what to do with it. And then I don’t know when this was, maybe five years ago, I decided, you know what, I’m gonna wear the same exact thing every single day. And so I bought, 20 of the same shirts and I got like five, the same merino wool sweaters for the winter. And I got eight pairs of Livsn pants.

And I know this is not that sexy of a piece of gear. But it’s something that I wear every single day is these Livsn Flex Canvas pants. Like six months outta the year or however long it’s, I’m wearing these Flex Canvas pants and I can wear them to semi-formal events. Also, Livsn is based in Bentonville, so I can get away with a little bit more if I’m wearing these. So people recognize like, you’re supporting the local community. It has kinda a hometown hero status out here. Yeah. Yeah. Shout out to those guys.

Lucie– So mine is gonna be a little bit unconventional in that I feel like it’s the one thing that allows me to do everything else. Because I think that a lot of people that spend a lot of time doing very active things in the outdoors, we put our bodies through some hell, It’s not necessarily the healthiest thing that we can do for ourselves to be pushing our body to that extent all the time. A few years ago, stumbled upon this, this business called Physivantage that makes basically supplements mainly for climbers, but outdoor athletes in general.

And using their collagen every day, it saved my tendons from just rigorous damage. As I put them through a lot on the wall and on the trails. So using that every day has been really helpful to me. And that is the main thing. Like it, it keeps me getting out and it keeps me from being injured.

And what’s it called again? It’s run by the climber, Eric Horst. And it’s spelled p h y s i v a n t a g e.

How about books? Are you guys, I think you guys are both avid readers. Give us a couple of your favorite books.

Lucie- I will always keep coming back to Lynn Hill’s biography, climbing free or autobiography that she wrote, I mean, many, many years ago. I think it came out in the nineties.

But she is just my ultimate climbing hero. If you haven’t read it or if anyone hasn’t read it, it’s worth a read for sure.

Yoon, I don’t know about my favorite book. It’s probably gonna be a Malcolm Gladwell, his series. But I’ll say probably the most recent book that I read which I just finished up the other day I thought was really interesting. It’s called The Tyranny of Merit. It’s like a social justice slash political philosophy. More on political philosophy on it’s a pretty interesting read. I’m, and I’m not sure if I agree with everything in the book, but it’s really challenging.

As we wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to say or ask of our listeners? So I teased something earlier about this programming that we built for PR folks. So it’s two things. One of ’em is still a little under embargo at the moment but it’s gonna be cool. It’s a specific track for PR folks and we’re still developing the programming and that’s why I can’t talk about it. We’ve got some partners but it’s gonna be really good, but the programming is gonna be specific for PR folks.

And then the other piece is gonna be before the show, have opening night reception on the first night. So before that we’re gonna be doing an event called New Gear Speed. And as a media person, you’ll love it. Cause probably what you hate most as a media person is walking around aimlessly in the aisles between half-hour appointments, right? Well, what do, do now for 30 minutes and you’re walking around listening, kinda hoping someone asks, calls your name, or run into someone that you know. And then you gotta do that for three days, right? And it’s just a really inefficient way to do product. So one of the most common things I hear from media is, man, I wish we could take three days of trade show, just put it into three hours, and just do a speed date of 10 minutes of 30 different brands.

And they just tell me what product they want me to write about, the new product, why it’s important, and why I should write about it. And then gimme the best basics of costs and specs. And then move on. And then after meeting 30 brands, 30 products after 10 minutes with each brand, I can walk out and I know the 13 products I’m gonna write about this year and then be done with it. And then they can move on education and focus on education. That’s what we did is we created the speed date format. And we didn’t create this, this is something that came outta our steering committee meeting, which was cool.

Like media, just being like, yeah, it’s my pet peeve. I hate walking aimlessly for the next meeting. Someone, please solve this. So that’s our coolest new program.

Rick, I’ve got a question for you. What makes you want to come back to Outdoor Media Summit?

It’s a combination of things. One is being new to media and interacting with the media folks, I just learned so much just from the conversations in the halls really, or in the hotel lobby. I’m not a media guy. I’ve never been a media guy. I’ve been a sales and product guy my whole life, and even though I interacted with those guys a little bit, the marketing guys did all that, not me.

I was busy selling to the retailers or whatever. So that’s what I got most out of it was just that interaction about, listening to what they do and how they do it.

And I feel like my show was designed to share the stories of the people because I think we all have such great stories, such great backgrounds, and many of us have been in it a long time. So it’s great, history and experience to pass on. And a podcast is perfect for that. So that’s why I go, is to catch those people. I think of all the events I’ve been to, your event does that the best? I get a lot outta the Outdoor Writer’s Association conference too. But the trade shows, they’re not for that.

Right? They’re for something different. I totally get it. But that’s what I get outta your event. I don’t think there’s one best. There are so many people that do so many great things. But yeah, as far as interaction, like you say, you curate every minute so that whatever you’re doing is working. Because every minute I’m not bored, I’m not looking around for something to do.

I’m gonna run into somebody in the lobby. I’m gonna run into somebody in the aisle or walking outta the room, going into another room, or I’m gonna sit next to somebody at the thing I’m sitting at. And just being a new media guy, that’s helped me a ton. And I just bought my ticket yesterday, so I’ll be back.

As we wrap up here can people find you? What’s the best way to reach out to you if they wanna ask questions? Yoon?

Yeah. My email is yoon@outdoormediasummit.com. I answer every email that comes through. I think I do. Pretty sure I do.

Lucy, how about you? Yeah, you can also email me at the same lucie@outdoormediasummit.com or on Instagram at the same @luciehaines We’re pretty darn responsive. We love communicating with people. Outdoor Media Summit is intimate and small for a reason and that’s so that we can personally interact with everybody, and that’s very important to us.