At OIA's annual Rendezvous event, held last week in Asheville, N.C., all the structured conference materials were designed to inspire conversations in the hallways and back home. Here are some of the lessons that Rendezvous 2014 attendees will take back to their teams.
Debbie Motz and Stacey Gellert, Eastern Outdoor Reps Association
Debbie: I’ll be reconfirming our internal narrative, which is the story you tell. It's articulating who those little angels and devils are that sits on your shoulder and tell you what you want.
Stacey: I really resonated with the "what it feels like to be emotionally hijacked" concept — just being able to acknowledge the physical and emotional responses when things get tough. Learning about emotional EQ was also great. It was amazing to see how many of us were influenced by mentors who had high emotional intelligence.
Mattison Crowe, Sterling Ropes
The breakout sessions about storytelling was really valuable for making sure our company narrative resonates with what people need. It sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how easy it is to get away from that.
Elizabeth O’Farrell and Kari Rice, Mountain Hardwear
Kari: It's nice to feel like you're working toward a common goal and not as competitors. It’s nice to have a culture of sharing and instead of hiding and protecting.
Elizabeth: I’m in HR and part of my goal is to create great experiences for our employees. That’s what this conference does — it creates great experiences for attendees and it’s something we can model after.
Karen Henry and Jonathan Koops, Efficia Brand Logistics
Karen: One takeaway for me was how important it is to stand out from the competition through your story — continually innovating so that your story is different from others.
Jonathan: Learning about the spectrum of customers was interesting. People want the same timeless outdoor experiences as before, but many people want to experience them in new ways. That creates a wide spectrum of customers.
Brad Werntz, Buff USA
Just like everyone else, we’re looking to tap into new younger market segments but it’s a great message to not forget our core customer. The Boomers aren’t dead yet!
Kerry Konrady, OluKai
We were encouraged about the opportunity to mint a new sector of people who are drawn to the outdoors but are redefining the experience through technology and diversity in their action.
Deanne Buck, Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition
My takeaway is that we have the answers in the room to solve the opportunities in front of us. Many of the speakers are outside the industry and kept referencing how fortunate we were to work in industry. It left me wondering if whether the answers aren't already in the room.
Erin Hoffarth, Mountain Khakis
My favorite takeaway was getting the opportunity to talk with others in the industry — other manufactures, reps, retailers, non-profits, media — that I can relate to, learn from and use as a sounding boards.
Lori Herrera, Outdoor Industry Association
One of the top issues and priorities is the consumer of the future and who that is and expanding it. Businesses need to decide which segment they want to pursue and OIA wants to help them understand those niches.