nChannel got the full Rendezvous Experience this past week and we can’t stop talking about it!
Last week, we headed to beautiful Asheville, North Carolina for the Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) Rendezvous 2014, which is the event for leaders in the outdoor industry. We had the opportunity to learn from and network with some of the top names in the industry, over the event’s three jam-packed days. Here’s a quick recap of what happened, if you didn’t get a chance to make it this year.
1. Annual Service Project
The most memorable experience of the event was Timberland’s 16th Annual Service Project on the first day. Rendezvous attendees set-out to clean up the French Broad River, partnered with Riverlink, a regional non-profit managing the economic and environmental revitalization of the river.
As zealous outdoor people working towards a cause, attendees were stomach-deep in water looking for trash almost immediately. We made out in the beginning when a dark cylinder underwater turned out to be a tractor tire. It took four people to roll the tire to shallow water on the bank. I then acted as an anchor to get it into the raft. So much for not getting wet!
We topped the day off with a TV, dumpster top, and four more car tires. Other attendees came back with a king-size comforter, bottles, multiple chairs, and other unidentifiable objects. At the end of the river, Highland Brewing Company had timely refreshments for us.
The service project was a great kick-off to the event that allowed you to meet people in an informal setting and established a sense camaraderie among the whole group. It also created stories that were told throughout the event and I’m sure will be legends at next year’s Rendezvous.
2. Lisa Bodell, Opening Keynote Speaker
After changing and setting our sneakers out to dry, Lisa Bodell (@LisaBodell), Founder and CEO of FutureThink, was the first keynote speaker at our opening dinner. Lisa is a globally recognized futurist who helps firms be more innovative and drive change.
Think of ideas that will get you fired.
– Lisa Bodell, FutureThink
Lisa’s presentation, Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution, set the tone for the rest of the event by demonstrating to attendees how they can better embrace change. She called upon listeners to start a revolution in how we think and how we work.
More than once, Lisa said “think of ideas that will get you fired.” What a way to start an event for an industry battling to change the rules of retail! Lisa quoted Edward Deming “Change is not mandatory. Survival is not required.” reminding attendees to have an open mind when learning throughout the following days.
3. Robyn Castellani, Breakout Session Presenter
While there were many excellent breakout sessions, Robyn Castellani’s (@robyncastellani) The Science of Storytelling: How to Build a Performance Driven Narrative seemed to be the one that clicked for a majority of the attendees. It was, by far, my favorite session.
Robyn Castellani is the President and CEO of Castle and Spark. She has over 25 years of experience in marketing, working for firms including Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising and Porter Novelli. She is a thought leader in the field of behavior change and social marketing.
Her session dove into the importance of storytelling–how you can draw people in and make them believe. Why is your company’s story so important? Because your narrative style is the single most important factor in predicting your success.
Robyn outlined the SPARK methodology that helps users create this type of narrative. This approach builds a narrative that resonates with your audience and makes an impact on them. In this way, your company empowers the change in others.
Throughout this entire session, I took mental notes on how this theory could apply to nChannel and how we can better communicate our story to listeners. I talked to many other attendees, who also couldn’t wait to get back to start articulating their own narrative.
4. Highland Games at Highland Brewery
After a day filled of inspiring breakout sessions, the second night ended with an Asheville Evening Out at Highland Brewing Company, which featured the exciting Highland Games.
Attendees were randomly teamed up for the Highland games, an American take on the originating Scotland games. Teams competed in sheep herding, caber toss, sheaf toss, shot-put, and tug-of-war. While some of these games did feature pool noodles, balls, and brooms, the competition was fierce among the attendees.
The games were led by a questionably authentic Scottish man with a red wig, kilt, blow-up sheep, and Scottish accent that sounded more like pirate.
Afterwards, attendees enjoyed live music, Highland beer, and the chance to network with colleagues in in a casual setting. We spent the night chatting away with industry leaders about business ideas and the excitement surrounding the outdoor industry. It was a great environment for developing new business relationships.
5. Marshal Cohen, Closing Keynote Speaker
After a whirlwind of a week, Rendezvous arguably saved the best presentation for last. It’s unfortunate that some attendees’ flight times prevented them from hearing Marshal Cohen’s (@marshalcohen) presentation, Looking into the Crystal Ball – What Does the Future of the Outdoor Industry Hold?
Marshal Cohen is the chief industry analyst of The NPD Group, Inc. He is a nationally known expert on consumer behavior and the retail industry. With uplifting energy and humor, Marshal explained to industry leaders why the outdoor industry’s time is now.
If you build it, they will come, but you have to innovate to keep them coming back.
– Marshal Cohen, The NPD Group, Inc.
Presenting promising statistics from The NPD Group, Marshal showed the consistent trends of increase sales among activewear, outerwear, footwear, paddle, and camp furniture categories of the outdoor industry. He also explained trends in assortment, technology, and location.
Marshal gave detailed stats on Millennial and Boomer generations demographics and buying behavior. He showed the profitability and opportunity in these segements of consumers. Then, he ended the presentation with his take on “messageology” and how the retailers, especially those in the outdoor industry, can use “trigger” words that resonate with online buyers.
In an era of selling where consumers are the driver, Marshal demonstrated several ways that retailers in the outdoor industry can catch-up with their demanding consumers. A key take-away for me was Marshal’s phrase “If you build it, they will come, but you have to innovate to keep them coming back.”
Why You Should Attend Rendezvous 2015
I talked with many attendees who enjoy Rendezvous because of its relaxed environment that allows you to meet new people, foster relationships, and discuss relevant business topics. It’s great event to interact with industry leaders and learn from others’ experiences. The theme is not only addressing challenges of individual businesses, but also the improvement of and innovation within the outdoor industry as a whole. It’s a conversation all outdoor sellers should be a part of.
If you missed this year’s event, put Rendezvous 2015 on your calendar. This event is the best one if you want to be a part of the outdoor industry, whether you’re a retailer, manufactures, or sales representative. The event will be held in Westin Seattle from October 5 – 7, 2015. I promise you won’t regret it!