August 31, 2021

Trade Shows, Sobriety, Sustainability and more with Matt Bennett and ECHOS Brand Communications [EP 291]

Show Notes

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Rick Saez
Trade Shows, Sobriety, Sustainability and more with Matt Bennett and ECHOS Brand Communications [EP 291]
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TOBP 291 | Sustainability

Welcome to episode 291 of The Outdoor Biz Podcast with Matt Bennett and ECHOS Brand Communications. In our wide-ranging conversation, we talk about how Matt got into the Outdoor Biz, the REVEAL Global Media Conference, Sobriety, Sustainability, and plenty more.

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Show Notes

ECHOS Brand Communications
Matt Bennett

How were you introduced to the Outdoors

Yeah, it’s funny, I think there’s this idea that if you grow up in Boulder, Colorado, you’re just by nature, an outdoor kid. And that’s not really the case, there’s a lot of people here that just that’s not their thing. And it’s just a place to live and it was. As a little kid, you think everybody’s staring up at the flat irons like you are. And you just take it for granted, but yeah, I grew up pretty close in south Boulder just to the mountains.We would just walk out and that was the entertainment. You’d walk out and you’d hike up and goof around and you build a Fort or whatever it was. And so that was part of being a Colorado kid. And my folks were into camping and I started skiing at a young age, doing Nordic and then downhill. And obviously downhill, really the speed and the fun of it really caught me.And then I started like gen one mountain biking when that took off. I was going to mountain bike camps as a little kid, pre-suspension, right? And as a kid going up to Crested Butte for mountain bike camps in the eighties or whatever it was, I had a lot of different experiences. And I love it. It’s changed over time. Now the focus is on my kids and getting them out there, but I still have to get my fun in as well.

You have a lot of experience in communications in PR how’d you get on that path?

It’s interesting, cause I went to school for international affairs, Undergrad. And then I did a master’s degree at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, which is a really small school in California. And so I was on this track for, diplomacy. A lot of the people go into government agencies or the department of defense or whatever it was. And I was on that track and I got my degree and I moved out to DC and was interviewing for jobs. And then I ended up connecting with a public affairs firm out there. And that’s really what kicked my career off. They hired me as a writer and I’d always been into the writing and the communication side of it. They say, your first job really sets your career in some ways. And it sure did for me, because I’d been on one track and it took me on a totally different track where all of a sudden, I was like in this, more of a government. Circle doing communications around governments, whether it’s legislation or initiatives and obviously that’s DC. So I worked for that firm for eight years and two years as a writer and then I started managing programs. We had teams in Mississippi and Arkansas, New York and Vermont.So it was all these different things going on and a great experience for sure. But it was one of those burn hot types of jobs. Couldn’t do it forever, but you could go like hell for 10 years, right? From an experienced standpoint, it was amazing.

Tell us about ECHOS Communications

We are a public relations agency specializing in outdoor and active lifestyle brands. Media relations are a huge part of what we do. We do storytelling, we also do affiliate marketing when it’s assigned to that social media, the gamut of communications. affiliate marketing. It’s assigned to that social media, the gamut of communications.
We look at what our clients need and come in and design a program, tailored to them depending on where they are. I would say the core, the brands that we really specialize in are those that capture something beyond what would be seen as their endemic audience. So if they’re outdoor they also have this broader audience. In lifestyle or in streetwear her or whatever that is. And so we really specialize in brands that have, or want to transcend beyond what would be seen as their endemic audience.

Sobriety has been a pretty important part of your life. Tell us a little bit about that.

I wasn’t a huge drinker, but it was consistent, and it was one of those things that I just I needed to change.

I’ve been sober for going on four years and change now. And, it’s interesting because I didn’t realize how deep it was in my life until it went away.

The family side of it has obviously been the biggest thing, just because I’m more present. I’m here with my family helping where I necessarily wasn’t before. And then on the professional side of course I can show up as I’ve never shown up before.

I think it’s an important thing for us to talk about in the industry, especially now that inclusivity and everything is just such a focus. I do think there’s a lot of what we do in the outdoor industry that revolves around drink.
I’m not here to change anybody’s mind or try to change anybody’s mind. This is my choice and my choice alone. And I can’t tell anybody else what to do, but I just, I guess my thing is. I’ve been to some of the events and I’m like, Hey, do you have anything else? And they say there’s a drinking fountain over there. And I guess that would be my first thing is just provide something else. Just provide an option. Cause I do think that’s so important in this industry where it’s nice to see the conversation happening.

How about the industry events like trade shows, how do you think those are changing and what do you think that means for the future?

As an agency, we fully appreciate and enjoy the industry events, Outdoor Retailer of course. That’s been the core. I just think it’s going to change a little bit and we’re already seeing it with The Big Gear Show. There’ve been others in the past, whether it’s Outpost or others that have created an alternate and very appealing experience for people.

And I do think the cost at the end of the day is a huge thing that, especially after this year is going to come up. What did it look like last year? And now we’re going back? And I think there are a lot of brands that are going to have to really look at that and evaluate, and that by necessity is going to change things up.

Where do we go? Where do we allocate these dollars? But at the end of the day, people love to go to. And it’s a great place to have a brand presence. So I don’t think it’s going anywhere. I just think it’s going to look a little different.

Let’s talk a little bit about sustainability. That’s another thing that seems like we’re walking the line of creating a bunch of stuff and calling it sustainable or creating the same stuff, what can we do about that?

I think it starts with the term itself. I think we’re getting desensitized to the term sustainability because it’s so broad. What does it mean anymore?

What I’ve heard lately is this, if we’re creating something, whatever it is how could that be sustainable? Take LIVSN, I’ve chatted with Andrew and it’s fascinating to hear his thoughts on it. Cause he’s just straight up and I know he doesn’t have 500 skus and that’s by design. But how do we cut some of the products that just don’t need to exist in the first place and stop making stuff?

I love new stuff, I love it when our brands launch new stuff that’s music to our ears because we didn’t get to go out there and talk about it. But at the same time, from a sustainability standpoint, it’s tough to continue to do that cycle. And that’s a hard conversation to have. Can it ever be successful? Can we call it sustainable?

Maybe we start talking about something else, responsibility or whatever that is that takes a different, more realistic tack about if we are creating a bunch of products, whatever those products are at the end of the day, will they ever be sustainable?

What other outdoor activities do you still do?

I’m a huge cyclist. I do road, gravel, and mountain biking, and I just absolutely love that. That’s my kind of day-to-day thing. It keeps me feeling great. I run if I have to if I don’t have a bike but then skiing, I do Downhill and Nordic. I started doing backcountry last year.

Do you have any advice or suggestions for folks wanting to get into the outdoor business?

I’m looking at the skills more than necessarily the experience in our industry. If you can write, if you can communicate, if you get what we’re doing, then that’s more important and worked in the outdoor industry before.

I think and I think for employers, we should be more open to hiring people outside the industry for sure. I know it’s tough you get someone with great potential, coming from a similar brand or agency, and that’s very appealing. But I do think there are a lot of people who want to be in this industry that would be fantastic. They just don’t have experience in what would qualify, roughly as outdoor experience. But I have no problem, in fact, I think it appeals to me for someone that’s really excited and wants to be part of this.

What’s your favorite outdoor gear purchase? Under a hundred.

Hacky Sack

This probably nails me as a quintessential Boulder kid, but a hacky sack. I have a $10 hacky, and it travels well, it’s small and it is just the source of more fun. Whether you’re traveling or backpacking or at the campsite or wherever it’s just great. You bust it out, people start playing other people join. It’s just a riot.

Follow up with Matt

Email: matt@echoscomm.com

Twitter 

Instagram

Snippets

02:56 – 03:29 Matt’s Introduction to the Outdoors

27:21 – 27:58 Matt’s advice for those folks looking to get into the Outdoor Biz

29:33 – 30:04 Matts favorite piece of gear under $100

Trade Shows, Sobriety, Sustainability and more with Matt Bennett and ECHOS Brand Communications

Welcome to episode 291 of the show with Matt Bennett and ECHOS Brand Communications. We talk about how Matt got into The Outdoor Biz, the REVEAL: Global Media Conference they put on, Sobriety, Sustainability and plenty more in our wide-ranging conversation. This is brought to you by Wolfgang Man & Beast. Wolfgang designs premium dog leashes, leads, collars, harnesses and pet accessories, plus custom hats and accessories for Millennial pet parents. Visit TheOutdoorBizPodcast.com/Wolfgang and spit out your pet. Grab something for yourself too.

Matt, welcome to the show.

Thanks, Rick. It’s great to be here.

It’s great to catch up with you. It’s going to be a fun conversation. How’s life in Boulder?

It’s great. The smoke comes and goes. We’re used to that, unfortunately. It’s a beautiful place to live. I’m a Boulder native. I love it here. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have stayed so long.

You grew up there?

I did. I’m a South Boulder kid. Like many of us Boulderites, you move away in a city. I’m getting out of this one horse town. After a while, someone else’s say, “That was a great place to live.”

I lived in East of Boulder for a bit. I’m drawing a blank on the name of the little town. I worked for Umpqua for awhile. That was a great spot. I loved it. It’s many years ago though in Louisville. It’s a cool little town.

That got picked as the best place to live years ago or something like that. It changed the game for Louisville but all the towns around here are blowing up. Louisville, Lafayette, Erie, Broomfield. It’s a high growth area for sure.

It’s moving into the North too. I asked some friends who live in Fort Collins. It’s expanding up North and South. It’s interesting.

Anywhere on the Front Range, it’s blown up.

Your first job sets your career in some ways.

As a Boulder kid, how’d you get introduced to the outdoors? That must have started early.

There’s this idea that if you grow up in Boulder, Colorado, you’re by nature an outdoor kid. That’s not the case. There are lots of people here that that’s not their thing. It’s a place to live. As a little kid, you think everybody’s staring up at the flat irons like you are and you take it for granted. I grew up pretty close in South Boulder to the mountains. We would walk out and that was the entertainment. You’d walk out, hike up, goof around and build a fort.

That was part of being a Colorado kid. My folks were into camping. I started skiing at a young age doing Nordic and then downhill. The speed and fun of it caught me. I started gen one mountain biking. When that took off, I was going to mountain bike camps as a little kid, pre-suspension. Lots of people as a kid are going up to Crested Butte for mountain bike camps in the ‘80s. I had a lot of different experiences that crafted that. I love it. It’s changed over time. The focus is on my kids and getting them out there but I still have to get my fun as well.

There must have been a lot of opportunities to explore like all of us. I grew up in Southern California as a kid. The wide-open spaces wherever you lived, there were those places to go explore. It’s hiking, biking or messing around. It’s pretty fun.

There’s a lot of good, clean, free fun to be had in Colorado especially as a kid. It was a little bit different back then because you could get on your bike, leave in the morning and come back at dinner time. That was cool. We did a lot of that, going out, finding your fun, skinning your knees and coming home for dinner.

You have a lot of experience in communications in PR. How did you get on that path?

I went to school for international affairs undergrad and then I did a master’s degree at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, which is a small school in California. I was on this track for diplomacy. A lot of the people go into government agencies or the Department of Defense. I was on that track. I got my degree, moved out to DC and interviewing for jobs. I ended up connecting with a public affairs firm out there. That’s what kicked my career off. They hired me as a writer. I’d always been into writing and the communication side of it.

They say your first job sets your career in some ways. It for sure did for me because I’d been on one track and it took me on a totally different track where all of a sudden I was doing communications around governments whether it’s legislation or initiatives. That’s DC. I worked for that firm for 8 years and 2 years as a writer. I started managing programs. We had teams in Mississippi, Arkansas, New York and Vermont. It was all these different things going on. It’s a great experience for sure but it was a burn hot type of job.

Did you enjoy it?

I did. From an experience standpoint, it was amazing. I learned a ton. I worked with fantastic people with who I keep in touch with. They were absolute experts in the field and great people. It is one of those things that I don’t know if I would want to do for the type of job that it was at the end and the series of burning at both ends. When something is going on, it’s straight through the weekends. That’s all fine and good but that’s not something I necessarily want to be doing.

Tell our readers about ECHOS Brand Communications. What do you do? How do you do it?

TOBP 291 | Sustainability
Sustainability: Hiking, goofing around, and building forts are part of being a Colorado kid.

We are a public relations agency specializing in outdoors and active lifestyle brands. Media relations is a huge part of what we do, storytelling. We also affiliate marketing as a side of that, social media. The gamut of communications, we look at what our clients need, come in and design a program, tailored to them depending on where they are in the spectrum of brand new company, established company, wide brand awareness.

What I would say is the core. The brands that we specialize in are those that capture something beyond what would be seen as their endemic audience. If they’re outdoor, they also have this broader audience in lifestyle or in street wear. We specialize in brands that have that or want that that want to transcend beyond what would be seen as their endemic audience.

That allows them to connect with a little broader mainstream consumer as opposed to just the outdoor junkie.

It’s not a straight business play. It’s not like, “We need to expand our audience.” The outdoor consumer is changing and has been for some time. There’s that, “What does it mean to be an outdoor brand?” It can mean that you have a very high-end fashionable gear. It does not mean that we make puffy jackets and DWR-treated X, Y or Z.

You nailed it with the activity. “Does my product need to niche into a specific activity so much?” That’s all that it needs to be seen for. A lot of the smart brands are seeing that and have been for years. I’m not talking for some wisdom that I have here. This has been happening for quite a while. We enjoy working with brands that either have some of that or want that.

Helinox is a great example. Korean brands are well-established here in North America. That brand is absolute fire in Korea and Japan. It’s like a cultural thing. The word Helinox is like Kleenex or Xerox that when you say that, it refers to outdoor furniture. There are a lot of brands that are doing cool work to connect with the culture that is outdoor but it’s also music, art or streetwear. That’s a lot of fun.

There’s probably a lot of unique feature sets to that consumer. If you’re an active outdoor person, you want a different set of features from the product that you’re using because of the activity. If you’re not maybe into the activity but you still love the lifestyle and love being outside, that’s a different set of features that the product brings to the table. Some of the appeal that some of these brands have is they don’t have to be all technical. They can be a great look and great quality and still appeal to that person. I like that.

It even goes back to the changing lens of what is the outdoors? What defines that? I’m from Boulder. I think of the outdoors as I’m going hiking out Chautauqua but then there’s somebody in New York City that the outdoors is going up on a rooftop deck. Does that not qualify? Somebody else’s says, “I play golf.” Does that not qualify as the outdoors? That’s the whole thing. It’s easy for us as the outdoor industry to think that it is this alpha climber mountaineer but that’s a very small percentage of people who identify as outdoor enthusiasts in my opinion.

I like to be outside. It’s more of an outside thing. They just want to be outside, whatever it is they’re doing. They’re not even hiking. They’re walking down the promenade or picnicking in the park but they’re outside. It’s that effect to it. That’s great. What was the inspiration behind the REVEAL: Global Media Conference? You did a great job at the two of those that I attended. Thanks for doing that.

It was a pandemic response. It was interesting because the team started having conversations about it very early on. I said, “I don’t think we’re going to need this. Let’s dial this back.” I was wrong. I did not think that the pandemic would go as it did. I was a naysayer upfront. We moved forward and it was a good thing to do. From the concept, we put it together in a month and a half and made the first one happen.

There were things that we learned. We’re using Zoom. People are getting 3 or 4 invites. It was one of those things. In the end, it was good and the feedback was fantastic. I thought it was great. It’s fun to see that over time, the brands get good at the presentation. You see this maturity of the presentations, which is fun whether that’s hardware or the tone. We had one brand that was switching cameras between views. It was like, “This is the next level.”

Ultimately, it came down to, “How do we connect our brands with the media in this period where we can’t get together for the unforeseeable future?” We don’t know. We saw Seattle was canceled. Shortly thereafter, Florida in 2020 was canceled. It seemed okay. This may be a thing that keeps going. There is a hybrid that’s going to happen with REVEAL because there’s so much potential there to say, “Who’s no longer going to come to these events but still wants to have some of that experience?” They’re going to be a lot of those people.

It’s crucial in the outdoor industry to see conversation happening.

I love that you kept it to the basics. You didn’t get all fancy and do things outside of the box. At the end of the day, what all the brands and all of us reading this needed was what you gave them, the product presentation. It was perfect and simple. The brands did a great job with some of their setups. They didn’t try to go do too much. It was clean and simple. It got me the info and moved me to the next page. It sounds perfect. I love it.

Another thing that was cool about it was the Freakonomics. The unexpected thing was that a small brand could be right after or before some of the biggest brands in the world. If you’re looking at a trade show environment or something, you don’t have the bucks to play at that level. That was cool. If you want to be in this, you’ve got your fifteen minutes. It’s the same as some of the biggest brands in the world that want to be part of that as well. That was cool to see.

It’s fun to be able to see the people behind the brand, unless you’re going to go to the booth and talk to them. Even if you go to a booth, you may end up talking to someone like me or marketing, whereas all of a sudden, it’s the founder or it’s the brand manager that’s been there for ten years and you can see some of what’s going on behind the brands.

You’re also on the board of the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame. That sounds pretty fun.

That’s a relatively new thing. I started that in 2021 and it’s been fun so far. It has an amazing group of people that are dedicated to that museum. Rick, if you haven’t been there, you have to check it out. It’s a neat thing to do where it goes into the whole 10th Mountain Division, history of Vale, history of Colorado Snowsports in general and all snowboarding sections of the museum. It’s a volunteer position. It’s something that appealed to me and has so far been a lot of fun.

I bet you get to engage with a cast of characters too. What I was thinking about is not only the history and all those things but the stories. You get to sit at the table with someone in here. That must be great. I can’t imagine.

There’s a Through the Lens series that launched in 2021 and that will be happening again in 2022. Anybody can join those. There are people that know the history of the 10th Mountain Division or specifics around. It’s a free thing with a donation if you feel good about that but that’s going to continue through 2021 and into the 2022 season. People should check that out because those are cool.

Sobriety has been a pretty important part of your life. Tell us a little about that.

I wasn’t a huge drinker but I was consistent. It was one of those things that I needed to change. I’ve been sober going on for years and changed. It’s interesting because I didn’t realize how deep it was in my life until it went away. I was thinking about it then. The family side of it has been the biggest thing there because I’m more present. I’m here with my family and helping where I necessarily wasn’t before. On the professional side, I can show up like I never showed up before. I appreciate the question because that’s an important thing for us to talk about in this industry especially that inclusivity, everything is a focus and everyone is trying to change the industry and that section. I do think there’s a lot of what we do in the outdoor industry that revolves around drink.

It seems to be everywhere every time you go to a trade show or a booth. I’m still a drinker. I don’t think as much as I used to. I try to get back. When you’re eighteen, you get off the wheels. It’s interesting to see how it permeates. There’s always a red cup full of beer somewhere.

That’s fine. We’re getting together. It’s a celebratory thing. I’m not here to change anybody’s mind or try to change anybody’s mind. This is my choice and my choice alone. I can’t tell anybody else what to do. I’ve been to some of the events like, “Do you have anything else?” There’s a drinking fountain over there. My first thing is to provide something else and an option because I do think that’s so important in this industry. It’s nice to see the conversation happening but it is something that’s probably a little bit too deep across the board.

TOBP 291 | Sustainability
Sustainability: It’s fun to see over time how brands get good at presentations.

I don’t think we realize that it is everywhere from all aspects of whatever outdoor activity we’re participating in, from guiding on the river to going out with your buddies to the trade shows. There always seems to be alcohol ever-present. You’re right. Maybe we can look at that a little differently and bring some other alternatives, Mountain Dew for God’s sake.

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We talked a little bit about the changing outdoor consumer. How about the industry events like trade shows? How do you think those are changing? What do you think that means for the future? REVEAL was a big change. It’s unique.

For REVEAL, it wasn’t ever that this is a replacement for a trade show. We didn’t want to call it a trade show. It was a media event at the end of the day. As an agency, we fully appreciate and enjoy the industry events. Outdoor Retailer, that’s been the core. It’s going to change a little bit. We’re already seeing it with The Big Gear Show. There’ve been others in the past whether it’s outpost or others that have created an alternate and very appealing experience for people.

I do think the cost, at the end of the day, is a huge thing, especially after 2021 is going to come up. What did it look like in 2020? We’re going back. There are a lot of brands that are going to have to look at that and evaluate. That by necessity is going to change things up. Where do we go? Where do we allocate these dollars? Is it there? At the end of the day, people love to go to Outdoor Retailer. It’s a great place to have a brand presence. I don’t think it’s going anywhere. It’s going to look a little different.

Marisa Nicholson’s episode dropped.

I have to go listen to that. It was great.

She was talking about that sense of community. She calls it a secret sauce that you can’t put your arms around. We tell the story to all our friends like, “Where are you going? What are you doing?” It’s like a big high school reunion, those of us that have been in the industry for so long, friends that you don’t see every day. It’s that energy that you get from being at the show. You’re right. It’s the expense, some of the time away and some of the replication of effort. Sometimes you go to that show and you think, “I just did this. My rep just did this. How can we make these a little more efficient?” Maybe you spend money somewhere else to do something different. All those things are going to be involved.

There are going to be a lot of factors in place, for sure.

That’s what I love about The Big Gear Show. They’re getting outside. That’s great.

We’re in a convention center for two days when all these people want to be out riding bikes and doing what they do but it’s part of the drill. At least it’s in the middle of the week. It’s not taking your weekend anymore.

We should be more open to hiring people outside the industry.

There were so many things that evolved out of this pandemic. Life is going to change in ways we don’t even know yet. The trade show format is one of those. It’s going to be evolution. Let’s talk a little bit about sustainability. That’s another thing that seems like we’re walking the line of creating a bunch of stuff and calling it sustainable or creating same stuff. It’s like, “What can we do about that?” How’s that going to change in the future?

It starts with the term itself. We’re getting desensitized to the term sustainability because it’s so broad. I wonder what it means anymore. It’s this general we’re doing something. What I’ve heard is this. If we’re creating something, whatever it is, how could that be sustainable? How do we do this? I chatted with Andrew. It’s fascinating to hear his thoughts on it because he’s straight up.

I know he doesn’t have 500 SKUs and that’s by design but I do think there’s this, “How do we cut some of the products that don’t need to exist in the first place and stop making stuff for the sake of new?” Here I am. I love new stuff. When our brands launched new stuff, that’s music to our ears because we didn’t get to go out there and talk about it but from a sustainability standpoint, it’s tough to do that cycle.

That’s a hard conversation to have. Can we call it sustainable? Start talking about something else like responsibility, more realistic tack. If we are creating a bunch of products, whatever those products are, at the end of the day, will they ever be sustainable? The answer to that. I do think it’s an important conversation to have across the board that maybe we should look at this product and say, “Does it deserve to exist? Is there a place in the market for it?”

Aside from camping, what other outdoor activities do you do? Do you still hike, ski or bike with your kids?

I don’t camp that much. I do here and there but I talk about it a lot more than I do it. It’s one of those things. I’m a huge cyclist. I do road, gravel and mountain biking. I love that. That’s my day to day thing that keeps me feeling great. I run if I have to if I don’t have a bike and then skiing. I do a downhill Nordic. I started doing backcountry in 2020. I was one of those. You started doing backcountry during the pandemic.

I went and did the ava course up at Bluebird Backcountry, which is this cool new backcountry resort in Colorado up near Steamboat. That was a fantastic experience. I enjoyed being out there and learning. It got me fired up to go do other things like that. I immerse myself in something for two days and learn. I’m looking at the Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain book by Tremper that a buddy got me. I read a couple of chapters of it. It got super detailed. It’s like, “I got to put this aside for a little bit.”

I was good buddies with a lot of the guys that were on the pioneering side of backcountry skiing in 2021. It’s being able to go out with those guys who pioneered the red line route at camp. It’s amazing. At Sierra, we have some great spring backcountry skiing here. If you haven’t been out here, you got to do it. It’s like summertime back there. You’re on snow and you’re moving on skis. Most of the time, you can get storms.

I’ll have to come to do that. I’ve not skied in the Sierra enough.

Come to visit. It’s all right out of our backyard. It’s the place to be. Do you have any advice or suggestions for folks wanting to get into the outdoor business?

If we’re looking to hire someone, I’m looking at the skills more than necessarily the experience in our industry. If you can write, can communicate and get what we’re doing then that’s more important than working in the outdoor industry before. I know for people that want to get into this, there’s a feeling of this is a chicken and an egg thing. “I need the experience to get in but I don’t have experience.” For employers, we should be more open to hiring people outside the industry for sure and look at that.

It’s tough when it’s someone who you get a great potential coming from a similar brand or agency. That’s very appealing but I do think there are a lot of people who want to be in this industry that would be fantastic. They don’t have experience in what would qualify roughly as outdoor experience. I have no problem. It appeals to me for someone that’s excited and wants to be part of this.

TOBP 291 | Sustainability
Sustainability: A lot of what we do in the outdoor industry revolves around drink.

As the industry matures and continues to grow, we have a need for a lot of different talent sets that maybe we didn’t need previously. Some of these digital walks are amazing at analytics and know the backend of all these software, programs and the internet. Those are some talented folks that we need. They love sitting behind the computer all day. There are lots of different tools they bring to the table.

In 2021, it’s eCom. eCom was big. It doesn’t matter if you’ve sold vitamins or cell phone cases. If you’ve had strong experience with that and you get what moves the needle on that, it’s fantastic.

What’s your favorite outdoor gear purchase under $100?

This probably nails me as a quintessential Boulder kid but a hacky sack. I have a $10 hacky sack. It travels well. It’s small. It is the source of more fun whether you’re traveling, backpacking or at the campsite. It’s great. You bust it out. People start playing. Other people join who you don’t know. It’s a riot. It’s coming back, Rick.

As we wrap up, is there anything else you want to say or ask our readers?

I love connecting with people, chatting with anybody in the industry and going on bike rides with folks. My favorite coffee meeting style is to get on the bike and go for a spin. I am glad to share my email. It’s Matt@ECHOSComm.com. I’m on Twitter, @MattWBennett and also on Instagram.

Thanks, Matt. It’s been great talking to you.

Likewise, Rick. I appreciate.

I look forward to seeing you.

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About Matt Bennett

TOBP 291 | SustainabilityI’m a public relations professional with more than a decade of experience supporting the growth of companies in a broad set of industries and ranging in size from startups to Fortune 100.

I’ve worked at public affairs and public relations firms in both Washington DC and my home state of Colorado, and in 2014 founded MELD Strategy + Communications, a consultancy that supported the launch and growth of companies and brands in the outdoor, tech and energy industries.

In late 2016 I merged MELD with ECHOS, an agency specializing in helping grow active lifestyle brands through public relations, brand activations, experiences, and social programs. I established the company’s Boulder office and built a team to support ECHOS’ growth in the active lifestyle area. I have been involved in nearly all of the business development initiatives and pitching, from initial research to concept to the meeting table, and helped double revenue from lifestyle clients in less than a year.

I bring a sharp eye for detail, expert writing, and deep expertise across the spectrum of public relations including product launches, media relations, building brand awareness, issues management, crisis communications, activations/events, and marketing communications.

My experience includes working with Fortune 100 companies, a wide range of consumer brands in the outdoor, active lifestyle and consumer tech areas, as well as technology companies and startups, associations, and non-profit organizations.