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CGPR was privileged to co-host an intimate media dinner for 13 with adidas Outdoor in New York the first Tuesday after the Thanksgiving break in the midst of a very busy news cycle. Our guests included reporters from Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, The New York Times, The Today Show, The Streetand Vanity Fair. By the end of the evening, our dinner had turned into a dinner party with energetic conversations and various skills of joke-telling. This is our fourth dinner in what has now become a twice-yearly tradition – one held in the spring and one in the fall.

We love these dinners for one clear reason – the format is designed to encourage lively conversation. Reporters can put their notebooks or Voice Memos down, forget about objectives, and instead, just talk. There is no formal agenda, no PowerPoint, no branding, no product displays. And no rules. We never have cancellations and there is always a waiting list for this event.

The setting helps set the mood: a small private room in The Capital Grille at Rockefeller Center, walls covered in dark wood paneling, a larger-than-life portrait of Mr. Tiffany (from Tiffany’s), and one round table dressed in a crisp white table cloth adorned with votives. The stage is set for an engaging experience, every time without fail.

Every dinner has been a resounding success. We don’t measure “success” by media coverage generated, or product requests or even interview requests. Instead, we measure it by the flow of conversation and the upbeat mood that always prevails. Our guests become friends. And yes, sometimes, we reach out to them to see what stories they are working on and sometimes they reach out to us for insights on trends.

What is the recipe for success aside from a stellar invite list, a fantastic setting and wonderful food and wine? It’s simple: reporters that share a common interest and perhaps a similar beat; a host such as Greg Thomsen, managing director of adidas Outdoor, who has a wealth of industry experience and brand expertise and knows how to carry on a conversation without being overbearing or trying to sell the brand or a product; and a sharp PR pro that connects the dots, supports the event flow and handles logistics.

Amid the relaxed atmosphere and non-agenda format we do, of course, come away with powerful insights.

What were our takeaways this time?

  • Mainstream media is keenly interested in the outdoor industry– absolutely, without question, not only because of its economic might, $887 billion translating to 2.2% of the US GDP, but also, because it is light years ahead of the rest of the apparel world when it comes to embracing sustainability and traceability best practices. See this week’s story by Charisse Jones storyin USA Today.

  • Retail reporters are closely watching the outdoor industry’s brick and mortar prowess with a close eye, especially as outdoor retailers e.g. LL Bean and REI are opening stores, not closing the them. Clearly, they are doing something right.

  • Fashion media see first-hand that the outdoor industry has amazing technology to offerfashion designers, that can provide style, function and performance to devoted consumers. It is very clear that, while the outdoor industry is using more fashion, the fashion world wants to be “outdoorable.”

It really comes down to this — public relations does not always need to be about pushing a story or a trend. A simple evening of dialogue in a warm setting away from the demands of the city is a welcome break for media that are bound by the 24-7 news cycle.

For this, we pay homage to the lost art of conversation.

 

CGPR-Public-Relations

I am joined by Greg Thomsen, Managing Director for adidas Outdoor USA, and Loren Gwartney Morshead, Key Account Manager, adidas Outdoor.

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