Over the years, the appetite for adventure sports has been on the rise. More and more Indians want to explore the unknown, more so their own endurance levels. Add to that, the pressure of social networks and the need to define your individuality, your spirit of adventure, more millennials are spending their weekends outdoors.
While this has been a shot in the arm for the travel sector in the country, for makers of outdoor and adventure gear, survival has never been better. Woodland, the global outdoor and adventure gear brand completes 25 years in India, having started with just one store back in 1992. And, it has been regularly tapping into this pool of adventure seekers through social media.
Woodland has been building a very strong digital presence, across social media platforms, with the objective to “use these various social media touch points to influence the active online users,” Harkirat Singh, MD Woodland Worldwide enlightened, describing the brand’s consumer segment thus: “Our consumer is young and today’s youth lives online. They have a greater presence on the web than in the physical world. They tend to do things they never experienced before and express themselves a lot more freely.”
As such, the outdoor gear brand sees a lot of promise from Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo and video social network, that now claims to have more millennials than Snapchat.
“There is a distinction between a traveler and an adventurer and we want to connect with the latter and convert the former into adventurers.”
Aligning with Woodland’s philosophy of celebrating adventure with passion and motivation, the brand’s Instagram community has been built for those who live and breathe adventure, and to create more Woodlanders.
“There is a distinction between a traveler and an adventurer and we want to connect with the latter and convert the former into adventurers. We want to establish a community, which lives and breathes adventure.”
With most of its campaigns, Woodland wants ‘to open the world of adrenaline pumping outdoor sports activities for today’s generation and encourage them to experience the outdoors.’
“The key underlying message of all our campaigns is to enjoy different challenges life throws and to embrace the next challenge, the next obstacle and the next rush with vigor,” Harkirat informed while sharing some of the creative campaigns executed successfully on Instagram.
Woodoo is now Woodland’s signature campaign during Halloween. On Halloween 2016, the brand shared an incomplete story on a spooky picture on Facebook. The twist here was that the text in the picture could only be seen when an Instagram filter was applied to it.
This was the first time that an outdoor adventure brand had done this sort of campaign on Halloween, the campaign turned out a huge hit among its followers. The brand asked followers to complete the haunted story while gratifying the best ones with Woodland goodies.
On International Mountain Day (December 11), Woodland leveraged Instagram to educate people and create awareness about the degrading conditions of our mountains via ‘Leave Your Mark’ campaign. The brand shared pictures of the famous mountains and trek routes on Instagram along with the reason for their degradation. They asked the people to leave a mark on these mountains by sharing a story or leaving a message related to them. Each picture had a tag which directed the visitors to another mountain..
Yet another campaign revolves around the Malabar Fest which Woodland is keen to cover every year. The brand created an Instagram journey for its followers, which actually took them through the journey of Malabar River Rafting Fest.
Different handles were created and each one of them had a picture of the Malabar Fest bifurcated into nine frames. Followers were asked to find the hidden Woodland shoe in a frame and once they did, they were taken to another handle in which they had to do the same until they reached the end of the journey, i.e. picture of Day 8 of the fest.
“Instagram is one of the significant platforms for brands like us to get validation on anything we want within seconds. Given the reach of this medium, the relevance to our consumer and the fast pace of growth, we see this as an integral part of our marketing mix,” he affirmed the brand’s faith on Instagram, while describing its journey on Instagram as ‘ecstatic’.
“We have been able to engage new entities, which in turn are gradually converting into adventure aficionados, if they are not already. Each of our recent activity has created a buzz on the platform and Woodlanders are increasing day by day.”
The brand follows a set protocol on its visual stories shared on Instagram. “We usually tell stories through pictures and incite interest of followers towards adventure. You will rarely see a product post on this handle,” Harkirat revealed.
In fact, Woodland uses its Instagram as a medium to receive direct feedback from today’s youth and incorporate it in its products as well. “It is very important for us to have positive posts, inspiring pictures/videos, likes, thoughtful comments, etc. on our page to be able to not only increase awareness but to be a part of their experiences, guide them, and advise them in their choices.”
Woodland is keen on organic growth on Instagram. The brand hasn’t invested in any type of Instagram ads so far, and is undecided about future use of any form of advertisements. Currently the focus of the brand is on sharing engaging content and lure in every adventure junkie there is in India, at least.
Well, when the objective is crystal clear, the medium yields well. The visual stories and innovative, thoughtful campaigns on Instagram are sure in line with the aspirations of Gen-Z, a generation of adventure seekers who gel with brands that understand them.