News and Insights

Three Major Takeaways from Inaugural The Summit and Outside Festival

June 10, 2024

As the first-ever Outside Festival opened with The Summit industry conference, the atmosphere in Denver was buzzing with anticipation and the excitement grew as we were quickly reunited with friends from across the outdoor industry, even before anyone had donned a lanyard credential.

The outdoor industry is one that thrives off of relationships, and is also one that has been starved of places for the community to gather in recent years. This is primarily a result of the changing event and trade show landscape, with the raucous SIA trade show years in the rearview and late nights at the Target Chalet in Aspen during X Games now only a fun memory.

Outside Festival | The Summit | For Outdoor Industry Leaders & Innovators | May 31, 2024 | Denver, CO

So, when the idea of The Summit was coming to fruition to get the decision-makers of the outdoor industry together to kick off the Outside Festival, we were all in. Trips were booked and our FINN Consumer Lifestyle and Sports group officially signed on to support by sponsoring the Creativity panel, which brought social media leaders – including our client, Kodiak – together to discuss the best and worst of utilizing social media in a brand’s marketing mix.

In short: we can’t wait to do it again next year. The Summit’s programming was insightful, the crowd was robust, the consumer-facing Festival was well-executed and can grow even more, and this new event will only be a benefit to the health of the outdoor industry.

What struck us the most:

1. The industry needed this!

We often say ‘action begets action,’ and in this case, ‘the right event begets actionable items.’ Outside did a strong job of attracting a high caliber of attendees – from senior-level executives to high-ranking government officials. So, the conversations were valuable and will be a jumping off point for more to come. It’s clear that the heavy-hitters were looking for an event like this.

2. The work we’ve been doing over the past two decades continues to matter.

Whether we were catching up with old friends – Shaun White, our partners at Protect Our Winters (POW), Target Lifestyle Marketing colleagues, connections from brands like Red Bull, Oakley and The North Face, the Burton crew and Carpenter family, Outside journalists and more – or making new connections, we were constantly reminded that the work we’ve been doing over the past 20 years has a lasting impact. A cover story interview that the author and red-headed subject still remember specifics of, the impact of our brand-work being discussed on pro-snowboarder trips that we weren’t even there for, and gratitude for the work in spreading the right messages. In the digital Zoom age, it was gratifying to hear in-person how much our work makes a difference.

3. The outdoor industry is leading in many ways. And needs a lot of help in communicating that to a wider audience.

Each of the panels hit on important topics, like equity and sustainability, that have societal impact well-beyond the confines of the outdoor industry. While the conversations were fruitful, our marketing minds are spinning with ways we can take these ideas out of the vacuum and to a larger audience.

We all share a goal of bringing more people into the outdoors and getting every body outside. We’re energized by what Outside pulled off and look forward to telling even more stories that help brands and organizations achieve that.

Same place, same time next year – see you there! …in the meantime, we’ll see you this summer at events like Outdoor Retailer and the Leadville Race Series.

TAGS: Consumer & Lifestyle

POSTED BY: Caroline Andrew, Laura Anderson Sanchez

Caroline Andrew