The Back Story
REI is a leading outdoor retailer that was founded in 1893 by a group of climbers in search of quality outdoor gear. Seventy-five years and 129 stores later, their passion still lies in inspiring, educating and outfitting people for a lifetime of outdoor adventures. Known for providing great customer service and their support of outdoor culture, REI has cultivated a huge brand following and has earned the number one brand position in their category.
With an aging audience, REI needed a way to appeal to a new, younger consumer in order to maintain their market share. Because of our millennial category experience and our working relationship with their new VP of Retail Marketing, they engaged us to collaborate closely with their internal team in an effort to evolve their brand identity and carry this message of passion and inspiration through to a younger demographic.
Together, we established a brand, digital and retail strategy around the following...
Evolve and communicate the brands personality through copy and visuals focused on exciting and activating millennials.
Transition how we “sell” the products we offer by communicating the diversity and flexibility they offer through contextual content and expert advice.
Rethink the brands approach to eCommerce by moving away from deals and discounts and transitioning the experience to a destination where customers can leverage the knowledge base and brand equity in customer service.
Larger campaign efforts around key dates to drive consideration and awareness.... (Holidays, Back to School, etc.)
The "Back to Campus" Campaign
With our strategy and approach in place, we were tasked with providing college scholars a reason to purchase REI gear during their back to school shopping experience.
Through a comprehensive digital strategy and new messaging framework, we created scenarios that appeal to a variety of college archetypes; from the weekend rogue warrior to the not-so-adventurous scholar, and gave students a reason to make college an adventure. We used REI gear as a tool to survive those incredibly awkward college moments.
The campaign was leveraged across all social channels and we encouraged our customers to tell us how they will “#SURVIVECAMPUS” during the new school year. To maintain consistency across all retail channels, we developed a style guide that outlined the communication and visual standards, photography and video direction, and overarching concepts for branded video content and promotional spots.
Content Creation & Development
To assist with content development for the campaign, we prepared, planned and produced a video and photo shoot in Santa Barbara, California – working with REI’s video team and photographer Dom Cooley.
Our creative direction was focused on capturing moments that aligned with the campaign in a commercial yet authentic manner that was consistent across our video content as well as photography.
Rethinking the REI.com Digital Platform
After the successful launch of the Back to Campus campaign, we realized an immediate shift in the online shopping habits of our audience. The existing framework was moving units but failed to establish the insights and knowledge that makes the REI shopping experience so unique. We also found some UX conventions that could be improved to increase conversion.
So what did we do? We concepted a new online platform that would leverage better interactions, connected content types, and dynamic layouts to create an overall experience that made shopping informative, educational and fun to explore.
Helping REI Drive Holiday Consideration
As the Holiday season approached, REI looked to us to establish a campaign strategy that would span from Black Friday into the New Year. With purchasing power resting in the consumers hands during the Holiday Season, we knew we needed to provide more than just deals and discounts.
We landed on a simple and powerful direction. We came to the conclusion that the Holiday shopping season was about giving, not receiving. Whether you’re purchasing outdoor adventure gear for your dauntless little brother or buying a gift card to inspire your timid co-worker, we wanted to give the gift that no one else does… the gift of the outdoors.
Through witty messaging we poked fun at other holiday gifts while highlighting REI products and the experience they provide during the hectic holiday season; positioning REI as having higher quality products and services.
The campaign was executed across online, social and in-store channels where we provided consumers the opportunity to interact with REI through channels such as a Pinterest shopping toolkit, a dedicated landing page that pushed the deals of the day and retail communications that reminded people why gifts from REI are the best.