While the past few months will hardly be remembered as an era of consensus and agreement in America, one thing is generally accepted—certain business practices will likely never go back to exactly what they were before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. And some of those things might turn out to be win-wins. I can tell you, for example, that a substantial portion of the work force in of Colorado does not, in fact, work at all on Fridays. They might say they are working, but they are on the rivers, lakes or hiking and biking trails. Trust me. I think people realize that telecommuting and working from home, when possible, makes more sense than burning gas, sitting in traffic, or riding the bus or train. While some of us are a little “Zoomed out” now, I think the video teleconference is here to stay because seeing the faces of others as you share ideas adds a whole new dimension to the communication that wasn’t there in voice calls. I would imagine sweatpants and slippers/sandals are selling through the roof because while I have worn many dress shirts for “meetings” I have not worn dress slacks or shoes in over three months.
But maybe most importantly, how we approach marketing—harnessing social media, search engine optimization, digital, email, and all that in the evolving economy—and more specifically how companies choose to staff or engage consultants/agencies for this type of work is evolving like never before, and largely in a positive direction.
One agency that is on top of this—and we’d encourage those of you who need branding and marketing help to consider talking to is Ford Hamilton. Ford Hamilton mainly operates in the outdoor industry, primarily in fly fishing and skiing. Past and current clients include the American Museum of Fly Fishing, Gore-Tex, Nervous Waters, Heli, Flood Tide Co, Tom Morgan Rods, Guide Flies, and so on. See www.fordhamilton.com.
“Our model is basically an assembly line approach to digital marketing,” explained agency co-founder Alex
Ford. “Most companies in the outdoor space have maybe one or a handful of marketing people. It’s tough to find someone competent in all aspects of this nowadays, especially who is willing to work for the rates that our industry is accustomed to. We have a team of specialists in each field – FB ads, content, Google Ads, SEO, social media, email marketing etc.. By dividing the work in this way, we’re able to operate as a full time marketing team with top of the line deliverables in each marketing channel, usually for less than the cost of a single full time hire. We’ve aligned ourselves in the outdoor industry mainly because it’s it’s what we enjoy, but also because we are able to speak the language that traditional marketing agencies are not. For example, no client has to explain to us why you can’t post a picture of someone lipping a steelhead.
“Our main barrier pre-COVID was that clients wanted someone physically “in-house”. With everyone working remote, this is no longer something we have to explain.”
And there’s some legitimate fishing substance in the agency as well. Ford used to manage/ guide for trout at The Lodge at River Valley in New Jersey, Partner James Hamilton was the manager of Bair’s Lodge, and teammate Dan Zazworsky used to work at TCO in Boiling Springs, Pa. So they’ve been on your side of the equation as well. Whether you’re a lodge trying to find your way back, or a shop hoping to further leverage an online presence to tap into the fishing boom that is happening now, or a manufacturer that wants to get more overall impressions and eyeballs focused on your brand or a new product, these folks can help.