Having just returned from Outdoor Retailer Summer Market (ORSM) in Salt Lake City, it struck me how so much of the activity at the show was about immediate gratification: need help? text here; need to find out where you are? use the GPS in the show APP; want to find out where to get beer? Click on this or; need to find a friend quickly? press here. At the same time, we were all seeing the ramifications of now in the coverage of the 2012 London Olympics. The entire globe is weighing in via Twitter, and in some cases, with less than admirable results and sheer stupidity.
The kicker is that the same rules of media relations (about using common sense) that applied in the days of traditional media, still apply today. It’s just that people forget because they feel they have to respond right now.
At ORSM, immediate gratification wasn’t just evident in gear and apparel – it was rampant in how brands were promoting outdoor activities. During the last few years, it was all about “done in a day”; now consumers are trying to see what can be done in 45 minutes, according to Leisure Trends. (www.leisuretrends.com). Leisure Trends also spoke about the fact that, “the new status symbol is the on-line update.” In other words, you haven’t really caught that fish, until you have shared the visual via Facebook.
Apparel and footwear is the lightest it’s ever been, and packable and fashionable at the same time. What works in Jackson Hole quickly transitions to Park Ave. in a flash. Designers are engineering products for life’s daily transitions that move at light speed. Consumers don’t want gear or outerwear for their trip next week; they want it now.
In London, athletes and the media feeding a 24/7 frenzy feel compelled to tell their stories now, in fact right now — often times, with little regard for its impact. This is where the worst mistakes are made. These mistakes travel the Internet in a nano-second. Even NBC must tell all of us the results for Michael Phelps or Gabby Douglas right now.
What is the connection between the ORSM and the 2012 London Olympics?
Technology is at the heart of this connection and the reason why the world of media relations is so unforgiving. Technology is the cornerstone of the design for today’s uber light fabrics, lower profile shoes and the next generation of outerwear. Technology also connects us to our work so that we feel like we can never leave.
But we have to take a break. We have to sit in that Adirondack chair or enjoy that glass of wine. It doesn’t always have to be here and right now.
We are allowed to savor the moment and make time stand still.