Final Project: REI Co-op

Introduction

REI Co-op (Recreational Equipment Incorporated) is a retail store dedicated to selling sporting goods, camping gear, travel equipment and clothing. REI Co-op also offers services such as outdoor-oriented vacations and classes.

REI Co-op was founded by Lloyd and Mary Anderson in 1938. The company got it’s start after the Anderson’s bought an Akadem Pickel ice axe from Austria. Realizing that good gear with reasonable prices was hard to find, Lloyd and Mary developed a co-operative so other outdoor enthusiasts could buy quality gear that wouldn’t break their bank.

In terms of branding, REI Co-op is known as one of the top “go to” places for quality camping, hiking, cycling, paddling, climbing, snow related activities and running gear They stand behind every product with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The company was built by a group of 23 mountain hiking friends who like to get outside and play and know how to cater to like-minded individuals. They are also well known for the variety of courses offered related to all of the above mentioned activities and travel opportunities. A fun fact about REI is that they have made Fortunes Magazines list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” each and every year since the rankings began in 1998. Now that’s impressive!

REI has 154 brick and mortar retail stores in 36 states. They also receive orders via catalogs and online. Their annual revenue in 2015 was $2.4 billion.

Social Media Presence Overview

Facebook

  • Facebook: @REI
  • Followers:1,753,017
  • Likes: 1,808,628
  • Visitors: 336,108

Pinterest

  • Followers:  114,464
  • Following: 333
  • Number of Pins: 584,830

Instagram

  • Followers: 1.7m
  • Following: 392

Twitter:

  • Username: @rei
  • Followers: 390k
  • Following: 1075
  • Number of Tweets: 90.4k

YouTube

  • Subscribers: 55,868

 Analysis and Evaluation

Facebook

REI’s Facebook account is their most popular social media site with almost two million followers and “likes” and just over 300k page visitors. REI utilizes Facebook to share a variety of videos from mountain biking basics to affordable backpacking meals, and snowshoe lessons to name a few. In addition, as you navigate down the menus, you’ll note upcoming events and adventures, albums with timeline/cover photos, profile pictures and Gory Gearheads, which are Halloween Avatars that you can pick for your profile picture and share your alter ego with your friends. I’ll have to check that out in a few months!

TentREI is very engaged with its customers and followers and appears to post daily. One of their recent posts encouraged followers to share their favorite campsite photos and the feedback they received was outstanding. The post that really caught my attention was geared towards alternative ways to pitch a tent.

Who knew you could camp on the roof of your car?

In viewing the community link, I learned that REI is heavily engaged in stewardship. On July 30th they are partnering with the Shenandoah National Park and about 50 volunteers to rebuild historic landscapes and wilderness areas around an area called Big Meadows. REI is also supporting several restoration and community engagement projects across the National Forests in 2017 and 2018 through a $1 million donation to the National Forest Foundation. In scrolling down a bit, I also learned that REI donated t-shirts to youth aged volunteers that built new trail including 3 climbing turns, 2 rock walls and a few drainage structures. In addition REI helped with the effort to install a bike fix station in Del Dios Gorge, Santa Fe Valley trail. Other posts noted on the community link included some customer complaints and compliments, and upcoming events such as the Women’s Solo Travel on July 26th. Realizing that women haven taken a strong interest in outdoor activities, REI is utilizing FB to market events and gear to attract that audience and is also using the forum to promote women of every ability and culture to expand their customer base. When scrolling through REI’s FB page, you might think that the company was geared specifically for women only as the majority of their posts depict women.she lift

Pinterest

It’s no surprise that REI Co-op has an impressive presence on Pinterest. You can easily navigate to their Pinterest page via their website. From there, you have access to 17 boards and 584,830 pins. Boards are organized by category and provide easy access to a wealth of information. Want to know what gear to buy for a backpacking trip, click on the related board. Going camping and not sure what to eat? Check out their endless list of camp recipes and camp kitchen check list. You can also find a variety of “gifts for her”, “gifts for him” gifts for kids” and board dedicated to over 150 active vacations offered around the globe like this one:

Island Escape

Instagram

REI’s Instagram account is loaded with inspiring pictures from REI staff and followers. I like how they challenged followers to share personal pictures and experiences via weekend projects like “raise the stakes” where they asked followers to share how they camp when they don’t use a traditional tent and tag it “#LetsCamp.” instagram

Everything posted on this site is completely relevant for the company branding and motivates the reader/follower to want more, be more, and to explore more.

 

Twitter

REI has been on Twitter since 2008 and has over 390k followers, are following over 1000 people, have tweeted 90.4k times, and the account has 17.9k likes. All posts are relevant/supportive of the REI Co-op brand, include general posts/videos and are interactive with customers via the use of chats and surveys and replies to complaints with action steps. Like their Facebook account, REI is also using Twitter to promote women’s gear  and events for women. Not a surprise given women make up 85% of consumer purchases. They’d be foolish to not get a piece of that big pie!

YouTube

REI is reaching over 50,000 subscribers on YouTube and provides links to all their other social media platforms. The first video posted on the home page encourages viewers to stand up to the Department of the Interior to protect our national monuments like our parks. Check it out:

There is an abundance of great “how to” videos available such as this great one on how to use a compass:

The YouTube is channel appears to be interactive via the discussion link, but all I found were 25 random comments from followers and no REI staff interaction. Under the “playlist” tab, you’ll find an abundance of additional videos such as advice from the experts, guides, tips, traveling with REI, member stories and uplifting/supportive content like Paul’s Boots:

Overall, REI Co-op has a strong presence across multiple social media platforms. They are very active with their posts, sharing information and member stories as well as inspiring their followers to remain or get active. Based on follower interactions, you can tell that their customers are strong supporters of REI gear, clothing, supplies, challenges and adventures.

Digital Footprint

When I ran a basic Google search on REI Co-op I found a link to the company website, Twitter Handle, Wikipedia Information, Facebook page, a link to jobs @ REI, additional searches with links to rei clothing, rei careers, rei outlet, store locator, rei sale, rei coupons and rei membership. There was also a link to the story about their #OptOutside Campaign. For those that despise Black Friday shopping, you’ll appreciate this one! There are an abundance of images for the logo REI or REI Co-op and other photos related to the company.

REI is in the news quite a bit. I found press releases announcing the launching of new gear, store openings, new staff and a CNN story pertaining to the challenge REI presented to the Trump administration about the protection of our public lands. I also found a story stating that REI was noted as one of the top 100 places to work for Millennials.

The Google search presented a lot of video content as well. Most are similar, if not the same as what I found on YouTube. In addition, I found one book as a result of the search titled “rei: 50 years of climbing together” by Harvey Manning.

Commendations and Recommendations

In my opinion, I feel REI Co-op is doing a great job marketing all their products, gear, courses and travel opportunities via their website and multiple social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram. Their followers help the process along by posting stories, pictures and feedback. In addition, their website is loaded with product information, courses, videos, sales, advice, stories, and links to local hikes and “gems.” As an active/outdoorsy kind of person, I could spend hours upon hours reviewing videos and how to guides. In fact, I just found a few trips to add to my “bucket list”:

Yellowstone & Grand Teton Hiking and Camping

Zion & Bryce Hiking & Camping

Canadian Rockies Hiking Plus

REI’s motto is to dream it, learn it, and do it and I have to say they have had that affect on me and then some!

With any company, there’s always room for improvement. Based on my research, I feel that REI Co-op could do a better job replying to customer comments and complaints on social media platforms. In addition, it appears they are focusing the majority of their current efforts/attention on women. While that’s a great market to go after, they shouldn’t discount the power of the male consumer. REI Co-op should aim to maintain a balance of diverse posts/videos across all genders, cultures, and people of varying physical abilities.

References

https://www.rei.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REI

https://www.youtube.com/user/reifindout

https://twitter.com/

https://www.facebook.com/REI/

https://www.pinterest.com/reicoop.com

https://www.instagram.com/rei/

Case Study #3: David Gray

David Gray is an English singer-songwriter. Gray started his career in 1992, released his first studio albums in 1993 and 1994, and finally gained worldwide recognition in 2000 after the release of his fourth album and my favorite, White Ladder.

David was born on June 13, 1968 in Sale, Trafford, England, United Kingdom. His genres include Rock, folk rock, folktronica and his instruments include vocals, guitar, piano & keyboards, and harmonica. Gray has signed with the folowing labels Hut, IHT (founded and owned by Gray),  Polydor, MapleMusic Recordings (Canada), Kobalt[2].

Overview:

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/davidgray/
  • 441,345 Likes on Facebook
  • Twitter: @DavidGray
  • 223 thousand followers on Twitter / Following 47 Twitter users
  • 1,870 Tweets
  • Joined Twitter in March 2009
  • Instagram: davidgray
  • 20.1 thousand followers on Instagram / Not following any Instagram users
  • 938 Instagram posts

Facebook:

David Gray FB

David Grays Facebook page is full of content related to his concerts, public announcements regarding new releases and upcoming tours, worldwide performances, and numerous videos and photos he takes while on tour. Most of his posts include a picture or video and Gray allows his fans to get a nice glimpse of behind the scene footage by sharing pre-show dressing room clips and walk to stage videos.

It appears that Gray is in full control of his Facebook posts and utilizes it to stay engaged with his fan base. One of his videos includes a tribute to his fans on the last day of a tour. His “notes” section is a nice compilation of post concert thoughts and photo’s he captures of the area he’s touring in. From my perspective, he takes great shots. His five most recent posts relate to his upcoming tour which he is co-headlining with Alison Krauss. Comments vary in subject/tone but relate mostly to concerns about ticket pre-orders, complaints from fans regarding his choice of concert venue locations and shouts of joy for those that were lucky enough to purchase tickets. I was one of them!

The “about” tab provides a nice biography regarding his journey in writing songs for his 10th album Multineers which Gray described as a painful process but was quoted as saying “I think if you’re going forward with an open heart, good things will happen,” says David. “You have to sort of tear up the past and let it go.” Sounds like he did, take a listen:

Twitter:

David Gray TwitterDavid Gray joined Twitter in March, 2009. His Twitter profile and banner pictures are the same as his Facebook account. His posts are the same as his Facebook content which is a combination of tour dates, and photos either he or someone else has taken of him at various concert venues and other locations. I didn’t notice a lot of fan interaction but many people “like” or “share” his posts and some post comments, mostly positive. Based on the way the tweets are written, I would say David Gray and his publicist control his Twitter account. Posts announcing concert dates seem to be written by a manager or publicist but others seem to come right from his heart like the tweet about his Grandmother, Olive Robinson posted on January 31st, 2017 (what would have been his Grandmothers 100th Birthday.) The tweet promoted the release of his new songs honoring Olive,  “All My Last Things” and “An Eclipse”

Overall, I think his page is simple and easy to follow, but it would be much more interesting if Gray were more interactive with his fan base.

Instagram:

David Gray Instagram

David Gray has been active on Instagram since June, 2012. His profile picture appears to be a selfie of his shadow and his bio includes his name, number of posts, followers and those he is following. Gray uses the space directly below that section to promote:

David Gray “The Best Of David Gray” out now. www.davidgray.com

Grays most popular photos include a selfie taken in front of street art/grafitti on May 23rd with the caption “After a weird night of bad dreams a beautiful crowd tonight in Ann Arbor. Thank you for hauling me up from the all engulfing darkness. Thoughts fly back to Manchester. Sickening.” Posted one day following the Manchester attack. That photo captured 2134 likes and 46 comments. “Cheers Oslo, without a doubt my favourite gig in Norway so far.” came in second with 2,207 likes and 71 comments. The photo is another selfie of Gray but in this one he’s clutching a Heineken. Grays most popular video captured 3,367 likes and 25 comments and is titled “Life In Snow Motion” The video is of a motorized snow man tipping his hat.

Appears to be related to this DG song “Life in Slow Motion:

From my perspective Grays Instagram account is in great shape. It’s full of high quality pictures that capture your eye and draw you in with intriguing captions. The only area that needs improvement is with audience engagement and for him to start following others.

Conclusion:

David Gray is most active and interactive with his fan base on Facebook. Gray is quick to respond to complaints and attempts to keep his followers up to date with his tour schedules. However, I find his Instagram account to be more appealing because of the number of personal photo’s he has shared.

For more information about David Gray, check out:

http://www.davidgray.com

 

Analysis: The POSITIVITYBLOG

OVERVIEW

The POSITIVITYBLOG:  Simple Tips and Habits That Work in Real Life (http://www.positivityblog.com/) is a personal development blog written by Henrick Edberg. Henrick is a 37 year old journalism major that immersed himself into the topic of personal development over the course of the past 10 years. He shares how he has personally grown from his own life experiences and experiments with a goal of continuously building a better life. His blog is designed to help individuals live happier, increase their self-esteem and confidence, reduce procrastination and become more productive, reduce stress, simplify their lives and improve relationships and social skills.

ANALYSIS

Layout

The layout of The POSITIVITYBLOG:  Simple Tips and Habits That Work in Real Life is a two-column blog with a header and a footer. It’s visually appealing with color combinations of black, light grey, and blue with a solid white background across the majority of the page and light grey behind key menus.

pb-header-2017-cThe header is straightforward with simple two-tone text with the main portion of the title capitalized. It also includes a tagline and four menu items directing you to “start here”, “premium courses”, “free email updates” and “resources” tabs.

Directly below the header are links to a few premium courses and includes a link to join over 80,000 people and get free email updates.

The body of the blog is split into a smaller right-hand column, and the main column, which features the latest blogs. The right-hand column provides a list of his 21 popular articles including “how i got 1 million monthly readers”.

The main column of the blog highlights the most recent posts with an image that relates to the topic. Each post notes the title, authors name, and a few sentences or bullet points leading you to the “click to continue” link if the reader wanted to. Just below that link,  readers can note the number of comments the post received.

The blog footer is very small and only includes a link to preview previous posts, contact information, search and archives, free email updates and copyright information.

Content

The blog content is very interesting and appeals to anyone that has an interest in personal development. Edberg draws the reader in with inspiring quotes, meaningful images, and titles that capture the readers attention because they strike a nerve and are real life issues like this one:

How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

170620_stop_people_pleaser

Edberg is open and raw with his readers and shares his own personal experiences and life challenges and how he overcame them. Based on the number of comments, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of reader engagement on his blog. However, Edberg claims that over 80,000 people are receiving email articles and he has quite the Twitter following with over 9,017 followers and over 33,506 likes on Facebook.

Following are a selection of Edbergs most popular articles that are accessible via his free email:

The 7 Common Habits of Unhappy People
– Do You Make These 10 Mistakes in a Conversation?
– Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World
– 16 Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School
– Bruce Lee’s Top 7 Fundamentals for Getting Your Life in Shape
– Mark Twain’s Top 9 Tips for Living a Kick-Ass Life
– How to Build Self Confidence: 6 Essential and Timeless Tips

Most, if not all of Edbergs blog posts and articles capture my attention. I suppose that’s because I’m a huge fan of personal development and consider myself a work in progress just like Edberg. Here’s one that caught my eye:

16 Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School

I’m still trying to master #’s 6 & 7, but I’ll get there!

Following each blog post or article, Edberg asks you join his email newsletter if you found the article helpful, shares comments and provides space for your comments, and he includes a link to the previous article.

About the Author

Henrik Edberg is a 37 year old journalism major who lives on the west coast of Sweeden, with his wife. Edberg stands by his rule to “implement what he has learned and to learn from his own experiments and experiences with the goal of figuring out how to build a better life.”

Following are a couple of examples of what Edberg has personally accomplished so far:

  • Switched from a generally pretty negative attitude to a much more positive one.
  • I have become a less shy and much more confident person socially and in other situations.
  • Improved my self-esteem greatly.
  • Become a lot more mindful. I used to live a lot of my life in my head, in the past and in the future. Today I spend a lot more time living it in the present moment. It’s a wonderful thing.
  • I have tripled my productivity and effectiveness. I used to be a procrastinating slacker that never got much done. But over the past years that have changed quite a bit.
  • I have simplified my thinking and many of my other daily and weekly routines and habits.
  • Lost 26 pounds during 4 months in the winter/spring of 2009.
  • I have created a highly successful blog and newsletter.
  • I have created five courses.

That’s quite an impressive list!

CONCLUSION

The POSITIVITYBLOG: Simple Tips and Habits That Work in Real Life drew me in from the moment I stumbled upon it. It’s clean, easy to read, has a good use of space and is well organized. It’s not congested with excessive pictures or graphs and in my opinion, lures you in to want to read more.

The layout is easy to navigate and offers topics with complimentary images. The right column lays out his top articles nicely so the reader an easily select from the list without having to navigate down the page. The option for receiving articles via email is active throughout the blog and that provides a convenience to the reader. However, most people like to utilize social media platforms but I had a challenge locating the links on his blog. After digging for a bit, I eventually found them at the bottom of his contact page. It would be easier if those were placed at the top of the page or below his picture.

Overall, the blog is informative, inspiring and pleasing to the eye. While Edberg offers a lot of advice and shares his personal experiences, he in no way claims to be a professional therapist and strongly encourages his readers to seek professional help should they have a serious personal crisis, thoughts of depression, severe anxiety or suicidal thoughts.

 

Chipping away at the 48!

I really thought I’d be further along, but as of today, I still have 45 peaks to climb before I reach my goal of hiking all of the 48 4000 footer mountains of New Hampshire. My love for the outdoors started when I was a child and my love for hiking started during a career counseling session in 2010 when I met an unemployed man in his mid-forties who was completely deflated and never thought he’d return to work. It was his passion for hiking and serving as a hike coach for the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society that kept him afloat during that challenging life transition, and it was that same passion that shined through during our conversation that drew me in.

Although the main purpose of our counseling sessions was for me to assess his current situation and help put a plan of action into place, we were always drawn back to the topic of hiking. Somewhere along the line our relationship morphed from counselor/client to client/student and eventually we became friends and he began sharing hiking resources and coaching me as he did with his team. Eventually he took me on my first hike, which I should add was not a 4000 footer, but a great place to start, the Welch and Dickie Mountain Loop Trail. Here I am on my first peak! No proper attire or gear, but I made it and was completely entranced by the view.

Welch Dickie

After our trip to Welch/Dickie, my friend realized I had caught the hiking bug and went into super coach mode. He shared an abundance of resources with me and I figured I would pay it forward to you. Below you will find a link to the 48 4000 footers in NH, access to dedicated mountain weather forecasts for more than 11300 major summits, and tips for hiking in all kinds of weather.

http://4000footers.com/nh.shtml

http://www.mountain-forecast.com/

http://www.bigskyfishing.com/hiking-gear/hiking-clothing.shtm

Following that first hike, my friend suggested I invest in a good pair of hiking boots, proper clothing, and some gear so off we went to REI, Reading, MA. REI is a great place for all of that stuff plus they have a great rewards program and offer all types of “how to” classes and adventure trips.

That summer, I not only reached the summit of my first 4000 footer, Cannon Mountain, I also climbed my first ladder, which scared the hell out of me. Check these out:

Cannon Ladder

Cannon Mountain

I have since climbed the summits of Mt. Tecumseh:

Mt Tecumseh

and Mt. Pierce

Mt. Pierce

If you’re the least bit curious about hiking the 48 4000 footers of New Hampshire, check out this inspiring video of a man who did it in 30 days for a great cause:

No matter what your activity level is, there are hikes of all levels that mostly everyone can enjoy. One of my favorite places to take a stroll and is great for those with a sedentary lifestyle is the Carlisle State Forest, also known as Great Brook Farm State Park.  My others are the Middlesex Fells Reservation which is spread over 2,575 acres and stretches across five towns north of Boston and the Blue Hills Reservation which stretches over 7,000 acres from Quincy to Dedham, Milton to Randolph. The “Blues” is a great place to prepare for your first 4000 footer!

My plans for this summer and fall include:

Carter Dome

Carter Dome.jpg

Mount Lafayette loop with Mount Lincoln

Mount Lincoln

Mount Lafayette

Next year I hope to pick up the pace and reach a lot more summits in my quest to chip away at the 48! Otherwise, at the rate I’m presently going, it will take me over a decade and I’m not so sure my knees will hold out!

Hope you enjoyed my blog and learned a few things about the 48 4000 footers of New Hampshire!

Check out Barefoot Theory for some great tips:

https://bearfoottheory.com/hiking-101-tips-for-beginners/