View from the Arlo Hotel, our hub for the week 

Two weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting two days of media appointments, including desksides and on-sites, in addition to a spirited dinner and a number of retail visits to check in on lifestyle trends – especially where outdoor intersects with fashion. New York City was dressed in its holiday best which was definitely contagious. We all needed it and we loved every second. This was CGPR’s first return to New York to meet with the media since before COVID. No question editors are definitely anxious to say hello in person, to reconnect and to see products in-person. It was refreshing to be back. It felt great to showcase a range of products across fashion, outdoor, accessories, kids, apparel and footwear during casual meetings that weren’t on a computer screen. 

Here Are Our Key Takeaways:

  1. PR communicators have to find ways to balance in-person experiences with emails, and subject lines now need to be written like news headlines if they want media to read them. 
  2. It is definitely a new media frontier – it is about working harder, faster and smarter.
  3. Sustainability is top of mind for media but don’t get caught in green washing and simplify your message. 
  4. The outdoor industry must be more inclusive with pricing and sizing if it expects to continue to grow.
  5. Versatility is key. It’s better for consumer wallets and for the planet.
  6. Legacy and heritage are key in today’s – chaotic news landscape. Each showcases reliability, authenticity and familiarity – certainty is a plus right now.

PR communicators have to balance in-person experiences and create rock solid emails written like news headlines if they want media to read them 

Biggest learnings we heard from the media?  Find a balance of in person experiences and meetings, but be damn sure your email headlines are written like news headlines if you want a response. Every reporter has their own personal filtering system – the challenge is to break through. 

It is a New Frontier for Media

Media have to work harder, faster and smarter.

Our in-person meetings enabled us to have a greater understanding of the media’s new day-to-day challenges – and the challenges are significant. They have to fight for space for their content in a brutal landscape that is crowded with inflation, politics, and Twitter noise, among others –  and is definitely less friendly especially for lifestyle content. In addition, there has been a major slimming down of outlets, several mergers (some more successful than others) and journalists doing more with less. According to a 2022 Muckrack survey, “The average journalist covers 4 beats in 2022. In 2021, the average journalist covered 3 beats”.

Like PR pros, it is like standing in front of a tennis ball machine. Our meetings and these learnings will help us refine our outreach practices. 

Sustainability is top of mind for media, but don’t get caught in green washing or over complicate your message

Media are very interested in sustainability and ask about design practices such as materials used, to reducing carbon footprint in the supply chain, to plastic packaging, to daily operations of using less water or energy, among other topics. A recent study from Shopify found that 40% of consumers will pay higher prices for eco-conscious products this holiday season. By clearly communicating sustainability initiatives, PR professionals amplify a brand’s point of difference but it is critical not to get caught up in green washing. Keep the message clear. Don’t assume that anyone knows what PFC free means. 

The outdoor industry must be more inclusive with pricing and sizing if it expects to continue to grow

The outdoor participation has exploded since Covid and according to the recent Bureau of Economic Analysis statistics, it is showing record sales and growing faster than the US economy. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone can afford outdoor gear and apparel. Companies like Moosejaw are taking solid first steps in creating an inclusive line for all to get outdoors in proper gear with lower prices and a wider range of price points.

Versatility is Key

Products that are multifunctional are not only better for consumers’ pocketbooks, but are better for the planet. Apparel, for instance, that becomes companion pieces for work, can also be used for adventure and travel, empowering people to do more with less. Our client Houdini is all about this belief,  “We don’t need more clothes, we need clothes that do more.”

Legacy and heritage is a source of comfort for consumers in today’s chaotic news landscape. 

We are lucky to work with Case, who has been making bench-made knives in the U.S. since 1889. LOWA is celebrating 100 years of handcrafted European footwear. Speaking of milestones, CGPR is heading into its 30th year in business. 

What’s Next?

The roadshow continued in Stockholm this weekend, when we visited Houdini’s new store in the Kungsgatan shopping district. At ISPO, the largest multi-segment trade show in sports and beyond in Munich, for Woolmark, we supported the announcement of the winners for the Woolmark Performance Challenge and continued our travel to London to meet Woolmark’s PR team.

In addition, we are supporting LOWA at The Running Event in Austin for their exciting new entry into trail running; preparing for the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, our client, including the first experiential event at Brighton where there will be a number of guided snow experiences. Experiences are tailored to participants of all abilities – from beginner to expert – and will include Alpine touring, splitboarding, Nordic skiing, snowshoe hiking, winter fat tire biking, winter running, orienteering, winter first aid, avalanche essentials, and more. We are also hosting a Media Preview open to brands that are not exhibiting. 

Last top? Shot Show, of course, with LOWA and Case debuting their latest in tactical and hunting. From the latest certified boots for taskforce to knives fit for the most avid hunter, we will be showing it all. 

And What Does It Mean? 

The world of PR is changing dramatically and way faster than Elon Musk’s daily directional detours. We have to be nimble, clear eyed and focused and not be deterred by the constant distractions.  In order to succeed, we need to be 150% in love with what we do. And we are. We are adapting to the ever changing media landscape and continuing to learn along the way.