My involvement in media and marketing far pre-dates my time at the University of Montana. However, coursework in Marketing, Consumer Behavior, Collaboration in Natural Resource Management and Nature Based Tourism has helped to frame and refine my approach and philosophy to marketing and outreach. And Independent Study and Organizational Behavior coursework at The University of New Hampshire has helped to frame those philosophies within the context of organizational culture and ethos. Marketing has always been about “adding value,” but my approach to marketing is consistent with the approach of some progressive thinkers in the non-profit world; marketing is about connecting people who want the same thing, to share resources towards common goals.
People give money, show up to events and volunteer for a wide variety of motivations; non-profit outreach and marketing connects those motivations with organizations that matter to the individual. It’s all about telling an honest story that people are proud to be a part of. Those stories are often told best through video, well crafted narratives or the ethos implicit in well crafted projects and events. An organization cannot overlook the assets that are their most evangelical followers however. Often the best story you can tell is the story you don’t tell yourself, but the one you cultivate through those close to your organization.
For several years, I found a creative outlet in learning to craft materials both for my own endeavors, and those of others. For a short time, I did freelance web and print design for businesses. Now, I enjoy using the craft to promote those causes and projects with which I’m involved. Below are some samples.
Social Media is part of the landscape now. The days of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram simply augmenting traditional marketing avenues is over; social media is firmly one leg of the pedestal and knowing how to navigate it effectively is a skill that I’ve honed since the days of promoting my recording studio and concert promotions through MySpace as far back as 2003. I’ve designed websites, modified MySpace CSS code, orchestrated email campaigns, bulk mailings, mined Craigslist for clients and have used social media outlets alone to propel several projects. I am very comfortable navigating this landscape, but more importantly, I am comfortable and familiar with propelling these engagements passed token involvement, and into effective avenues exposing the culture, and cultivating a unique voice and persona for an organization.
Within that arena, recently experimented with using social media to connect and motivate people to engage with the real world around them. By using vicarious nature experiences shared through social media like Instagram, the Gnarhampshire project (detailed project outline here), was able to bridge the gap between these mediated screen-based experiences, and inspire people outside to experience nature directly while sharing those experiences online.
The Chophouse Hijack project (detailed here) existed exclusively as a Facebook page, but through cultivation of a unique online presence and voice that carried over into real-world events, the “Hijack” personality was able to transcend to traditional media and enjoyed much exposure on local television, newspaper and presentations to Rotary and Exchange clubs.
I have also navigated social media for my personal motivations in photography and video. Currently, the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee is using a video of mine to promote the outdoor resources available to residents living in and visiting the area at outdoorchattanooga.com.
The Missoula Art Museum continues to use a time-lapse video of mine showcasing a gallery opening from Ansel Adams on their website. The State of Montana Tourism Bureau has used photos of mine in the takeover of a Chicago train station, as well as on their current “Things to do in Yellowstone” online media.
The Swan Ecosystem Center continues to use a video I produced for a Winter Wilderness Field Studies course conducted at their Condon facility. And the Wilderness Institute at the University of Montana continues to use a similar video I produced to highlight their Yellowstone Field Studies Course.
The take-away from this smattering of persistent social media is that these organizations see the value in sharing user-generated content and are realizing a benefit from it. Even though my formal connection to these organizations has passed, the connection that the media forges with their followers, evangelists and newcomers is important and is part of maintaining a presence, and establishing a preponderance of “touches” online that coalesce into a contiguous narrative that helps to flesh out the story of their organizations and missions.
As an outreach and marketing professional, it is important to understand the motivations for how and why people share online. As a professional working at the intersection of recreation and environmental interests, it is important to understand how identity and association to a “tribe” can guide and bolster user engagement; moreover, it is important to be able to actively encourage corresponding engagement organically.
For more on my experience with Social Media, visit my Projects page to for more detailed case studies on how social media has been used to further specific project and organizational goals.
I am not a filmmaker.
I enjoy the creative process of making films and the impacts they can have on behalf of organizations with which I’m connected.
Video media is a must for any organization wishing to establish and maintain its visibility and relevance in a contemporary landscape.
Here are a few that I have created.