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/

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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case Study #2, Adventure Blog Review

Overview

The Planet D is a travel blog based around an adventurous couple’s lives, Dave and Deb. Both Dave and Deb contribute to this blog and they fill it with their own travel tales, tips they have for travelers, or ways to inspire people who want to become travelers. The couple’s motto is “adventure is for everyone”. Their travel lifestyle began in 2008 and Dave and Deb have been very successful with their adventures and blogging ever since. 

Analysis

Layout

The opening layout of this blog is very welcoming and has the two bloggers as the very fist thing a viewers sees. There is a lot of photography used throughout the layouts which is eye grabbing. The photos are amazing and colorful. There is not a lot of words thrown on the layout, the majority is pictures and/or videos.

screenshot1
The Planet D: Home Page

The header includes a photo of Dave and Deb along with their shortened back story and motto. The header also allows the viewer to watch some of their travel videos or “Get Started Now” to begin reading categorized travel blogs. 

Above the header there are multiple pages the viewer can click on. Some of these pages include an “About Us”, “Travel Tips”, or “Destinations”. Each of these pages are filled with information, photos, and blog posts.

Below the header there are four options: “Discover”, “Top Posts”, “Imagine”, and “Explore”. Each of these options have pictures and/or videos below them. The pictures/videos are links to different posts. 

At the bottom of this blog is an organized footer. The footer has multiple options for the audience. These options include links to follow the blog on multiple social media accounts, a search bar, an option to subscribe, and an option for viewers to partner up with Dave and Deb and advertise/sponsor the blog. Following these options the same pages above the header are also listed below the footer. 

Content

There is a countless amount of posts in this blog that are based around multiple different topics. Each blog post includes multiple photos with a caption underneath each one. A lot of the blog posts also include links to other websites that have more information on a specific site or destination. Also within the a lot of the posts there are links to other posts. For example: Read: 19 Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit South Dakota

Another noticeable feature that is included in the majority of the blog posts is advertising. There are advertisements for hotels or plane tickets. 

The top three posts on The Planet D are: 

The “About Us” page features an interview youtube video of Dave and Deb that is about 5 minutes long. Along with this heartwarming video Dave and Deb go into detail about their relationship and marriage. This couple reveals how they felt stuck and bored with life and eventually discovered their passion for traveling. Dave and Deb have created an amazing and exciting life full of adventures and this page goes into talking about how they have created their blog to inspire anyone who wants to create an adventurous life for themselves. Their backstory is truly inspiring and they are both extremely passionate and caring for this blog. 

Dave and Deb’s blog has 188,116 just on Facebook, 130,000 followers on Twitter, and 190,000 followers on Instagram. This blog is extremely popular and followers are always anxious to see where the couple goes next. 

The most significant part to each blog post are the photos. Each post has a featured image and multiple photos that give a viewer an inside look. At the end of each blog post there are some advertisements, other posts a viewer might enjoy, and more ways to stay connected to Dave and Deb’s blog through social media.

screenshot blog2
End of post on The Planet D

 

Conclusion

The Planet D is an exciting, visually pleasing, and inspiring blog. There are countless topics that each blog post is written about. Dave and Deb’s blog offers amazing travel advice, hidden destinations, and interesting travel stories. 

The layout of this blog is extremely pleasing to the eye. A lot of well taken photography is used to feature each blog post. There are a lot of colors used throughout the layout, needless to say nothing is bland about this blog. Dave and Deb’s beliefs and motto really show through the layout and design. Regarding the navigation it is fairly easy to move throughout this blog, but there is definitely a lot to choose from. One downside to this blog is the advertising throughout the pages or posts. Sometimes advertising takes up too much room or turns off a reader. The layout is uniquely designed and proves to viewers how much Dave and Deb truly love traveling. 

The content of this blog is extremely helpful, interesting, and exciting. Every single blog post has some advice or beneficial information to offer regarding traveling. The titles to each post are interesting and sometimes ask questions which grabs a readers attention. Dave and Deb have become pro travelers and have a lot of secrets, stories, and tips to share so this blog can please multiple types of readers. The Planet D is a popular and fast growing blog that is very fascinating.