Backcountry guides, France, and accelerated brand growth

In January 2018, I went snowboarding in Chamonix. A buddy of mine was getting married at the top of a mountain in the French Alps and as soon as he invited me, I knew I’d be there.

You might be wondering what my European snowboarding trip has to do with your marketing and I promise I’ll get there.

Two days out of three, a small group of us hired a guide to follow around the side, back, and glacial country of Chamonix. This group was comprised of extremely competent skiers and riders (re: “advanced”). It was an added expense to an already $$ trip.

Did we need a guide? No. Could we have enjoyed our time without a guide? Absolutely. We all knew what gear we needed, how to set it up, how to load a lift, and exactly how to ride down the mountain for maximum fun and safety.

To be honest, the thought of the guide made me a little nervous—I was the only female in our group and I knew that the presence of a guide meant absolutely nothing was off limits. If you know anything about Chamonix, steep and gnarly are two words that come to mind. 

We happened to catch one of Chamonix’s biggest storms of 2018. As I loaded up my avi pack (the backpack with all necessary safety gear I needed should I be caught in an avalanche) I thought to myself, dang look at all this snow, I definitely don’t need to be going off-piste to have a great powder day? WHY am I doing this?!

Fast forward 72 hours and I’d experienced the two most amazing days of snowboarding I’ve ever had (and I used to work for Burton Snowboards).

That first morning was second to none. I choked on snow (in a good way). The second day that we went out with our guide was beautiful—sunshine and blue skies—and I found myself standing at 14,000 feet inside a massive glacier (after dropping in to said glacier with a harness on, swinging over a crevice to get there).

That week in Chamonix, I did things I didn’t think I could do (that part with the harness and the crevice). I rode terrain and experienced views that I will never forget. Best of all, I became a better snowboarder, and I dream bigger now for having experienced that.

I learned that a guide is 10000% worth the investment, since it completely changes the experience of riding a new mountain. Not only was I guaranteed the absolute best riding by following around a local, but I was able to let him do his job (guide) while I did mine (snowboard and enjoy). I wasn’t worried about negotiating the trail map of an unknown mountain or ending up somewhere I didn’t belong. I had traveled thousands of miles to get to Chamonix, so investing in the guide ensured that I made the most out of my time there.

So what does this have to do with your marketing?

Let’s use one of my favorite clients, North Country Smokehouse, as an example. Their Marketing Manager knows her stuff: She has brand strategy brains, design skills, experience with social media, and much more. In fact, there’s not much she doesn’t know a lot about. Still, she hired me to be her guide of content marketing mountain.

She brings the brand knowledge, downloads the customer persona into my brain, and I design her content strategy for social media. Now, we produce most of her social media content and handle all of her social media advertising. In the past few months, we’ve driven 10,000 visitors to her website from social media and we’ve acquired 20,000 followers (and we’re only scratching the surface). She lets us lead on what we do best, and she stays focused on her bread and butter: The brand, the customer, and the product.

So, what about you? What decisions are you making to accelerate meaningful growth? Let us know and check out this blog we wrote on seven things you need to grown in order to grow on social media.



KW Content is a global content and social media marketing agency that develops and launches content and social media programs for purpose-driven brands. Strong Brand Social is our favorite place to hang out! That’s where we provide the absolute best (and most accessible) social media marketing education that empowers small brands to develop their own high-performing marketing programs that are guaranteed to drive growth. Teaching from our proven agency methodologies, we simplify the process and demystify the art of social media marketing to offer focus, efficiency, and measurable results to small business owners, brand directors, and social media marketers. [Learn more.]

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