Dare we say that 2016 is the year when commercialization of the customer experience becomes the kiss of death? Companies that target the lowest common denominator and strive to be consistent to large groups of consumers are just commoditized. And when you try to be great to the biggest group of people you can possibly reach, you actually end up being great to no one.
My guest today, Brad Steward, is an iconic entrepreneur in the active outdoor lifestyle — and now travel — markets. He’s a former pro snowboarder and founder of Bonfire Snowboarding. I would even venture to say that he’s one of the founders of the snowboard industry, along with Jake Burton-Carpenter and the late Tom Sims.
Brad’s a visionary and he’s about to point that creativity to a brand-new launch in Caravan Outpost. Caravan Outpost is a hand-built travel experience created for a very specific avatar (target customer).
Brad and his founding partners(*) created Caravan Outpost for people in urban areas who are looking for a visceral experience. It’s part luxury travel experience, part campground. It’s an off-the-grid compound located in the mountain hamlet of Ojai, Calif., about two hours north of Los Angeles. The best part? Guests stay in meticulously renovated Airstreams, enjoy amazing food, coffee and wine, and have the opportunity to experience a very special retail experience as well. Brad calls the retail experience an eclectic group of items that he and the team hunt down from all over the world, ranging from original clothing designs, to second-hand clothing, to found-object pieces of art.
The mission of Caravan Outpost is to “be a company that dares to be as unique as the people who seek it out.” The effect of this kind of highly intentional and targeted experience build is already building a community among the people who connect with it. And this is the power of this kind of bold brand positioning.
Brad has SO many amazing takeaways in this podcast. I advise you grab your notebook and pen, and listen in to Brad and I as we talk about the importance of creating magical moments for consumers, why products should strive to create completely unique, visceral experiences, as well as the path of the founder/entrepreneur. Brad is a perfect example of an adventurous entrepreneur, and I hope his journey inspires you!
Bravery in Business Quote
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The Cliff Notes
- Companies that have a real, physical sense of space will connect and resonate more strongly with their target customers. Especially in the outdoor world, companies need to be so much more than offices and warehouses
- Create magic moments with your product/business
- Be the champion of your specific target consumer
- Products should create a visceral experience for consumers whenever possible
- Map out your consumers online journey, and how you fit into that journey
- Create as many touch points for consumers as possible
- Founders need to have belief in their product and themselves, but also understand that they will make mistakes, and that each one is a learning opportunity
- Today, casting a wide net with marketing and messaging is not nearly as important as knowing thing the intricacies of your customer and what will connect with them
- Founders need to find a way to focus on both the small details and the overall plan at the same time
- Every plan has holes in it. The beauty is in navigating those holes and mistakes, without giving up and turning back
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Habit for Success
Have unwavering faith in yourself, your abilities, and your product. But at the same time, know that you will make mistakes along the way. Each mistake is simply an opportunity to learn and improve.
Founders of Caravan Outpost:
Branden Peak, Matt Alberts, Brad Steward, Shawn Steward, Mellanie Hilgers, Chet Hillgers