Here at The Outdoors Group, we’ve been thinking a lot recently about what we stand for. This has been primarily regarding our educational philosophy and the approach we take when it comes to learning. However, after taking the Ethical Move Pledge last year, it has also led to a discussion about our marketing techniques and how we can market what we do in a way that puts our customers and the planet first and before profit.
An unconventional approach
Ultimately, we think it comes down to practising a style of marketing that is focused on communication, not coercion or manipulation. We pride ourselves on being authentic and in a time where some businesses seem to shed identities and ideals at the drop of the hat to fit in with whatever the latest trend is, we want to stand out for our commitment to our purpose statement and mission, even if part of that goes against the tide or is controversial.
Recently, we have been discussing the use of reels and video content on social media. Like all companies, we want to engage with our existing customers and supporters and to reach new people who love what we’re doing and want to be part of it. And to some extent, to do that we need to engage with the most popular types of content right now which is predominantly video based and often involves very short bursts of information or entertainment.
But as a company that has gone on the record to say that some elements of social media are detrimental to the development of children and young people and that overuse of these channels can adversely affect things like their mental health and concentration span, how do we strike that balance? How do we strike the balance between continuing to have a social media presence but staying true to what we feel is an appropriate use of these channels? How do we engage with current trends but not contribute to the addictive nature of these reels that often encourage mindless scrolling for long periods of time?
This is a question that we haven’t managed to fully answer yet and we’d love to hear from other companies currently having these same conversations. There’s an element of it which is trial and error as we try out an approach and then assess it to see the impact and whether we think we’ve stayed true to ourselves. We don’t profess to be perfect, to have always gotten it right or to not have made any mistakes. But we do strive to learn from our mistakes, to make sure that our intention stays honourable and to work hard, with our peers, to find a way to connect with our customers in a way that is meaningful, authentic, and impactful.
Author: Hannah Durdin, Content Officer & Forest School Leader
Date: Saturday 10th September 2022