Tuesdays with KCO: a welcome to 2013 from Verde’s founder
Verde turns 11-years-old in 2013! It’s hard to believe I was just 22 years old when the agency was founded (snap!).
There are days where I am absolutely sure nothing could have aged me more than Verde over this past decade. Then, I remember that I started the agency pregnant with my son Tobin (now 10.5 years old). In 2005, The Honorable Isabella Ogden was born (she’s really the boss in our house and will likely be a Supreme Court judge, hence the nickname). As most parents can attest, the gray hairs sprout exponentially in relation to the number of children in diapers in a household.
But back to Verde. The agency started in the basement of the Ogden household in 2002 and has expanded to three offices in the outdoor hubs of Jackson Hole, Boulder and Durango Colorado, in 2013. Yep, the crows feet make more sense. And the gray hair? Well, there was a merger (Verde and Basecamp in 2009), and our skyrocketing growth. I founded the company with three clients and no employees in 2002, and now we count 26 clients and 21 employees. It’s no wonder I’m running out of wrinkle cream and spend a fortune at the salon.
Other than my pretend age at the founding of Verde, here are a few other noteworthy things that have changed (and some that haven’t) in Verde’s lifetime:
– Social media and content marketing did not exist in 2002. Public relations in our founding industries comprised editorial relationships, product placement, event planning, and basic blocking and tackling with press releases to trade and consumer books. Today, it’s continually evolving even beyond Earned, Owned and Paid service offerings. Every month, it seems, we see evolution and we like it that way!
– YouTube – Video and visual PR are both core focus areas for Verde today. It’s crazy to think that YouTube wasn’t on the radar in 2002, considering the fact that it’s the second biggest search engine today (Verde’s got a small but fun batch of original videos on our channel…ever heard of, “Sh*t People Don’t Say at OR?”…yeah, that’s us).
– Kickstarter! Would you ever have guessed that you or I could use a social-media based, crowd-sourcing platform to obtain funding for a start up?
– The arrival of e-tailing. Sure there was PlanetOutdoor and others that kicked off this revolution. REI.com, Backcountry.com and Alltrec.com existed, but all of these entities had to convince us that researching, buying, sharing and engaging online was viable. Now, many of our clients sell direct and count Backcountry.com as one of their largest retail partners.
– 29er mountain bikes were not even a figment of imagination and now we have 27.5 coming on line as well.
– Spot GPS systems didn’t exist. Sadly. I could have used that back when The Husband was doing his climbing expeditions in the Himalayas. …
– Lululemon was not the powerhouse it is today (it was founded in 1998). When you consider the market value/cap on that brand as it pertains to the health and well-being of our core markets of outdoor, bike, snowsports and health and wellness, it’s great to have Lulu in the equation.
– 11 years ago, we never would have guessed there would be a fashion resurgence with mustaches on young dudes -!
– And lastly…
– Our beloved Jon Dorn holds a title at Aim Media (publisher of Backpacker) that didn’t exist 11 years ago. Jon serves as Senior Vice President of Content and Product Development within Aim’s Outdoor and Home Buyer Groups.
– While we still don’t really know what that means, we do know this: Dorn is still wearing the same jeans he did 11 years ago. NOTE TO JON: I am personally advocating that you dye yourhair blonde again! Just sayin’.
Reflecting on Verde’s lifespan through employees and clients is an obvious mile marker as well.
I can still remember interviewing Julie Evans, who has been with Verde for nine years, at Carvers Brew Pub in Durango, Colo. There was a time when Julie and I split the client roster with eight clients each! She is now part of the Verde Leadership Team, along with Lisa Mullen, Keith Cozzens, Dave Simpson (who started on the exact same day as Julie Evans back in 2004), Kelly Blake, Anna Peterson, and Craig Randall. This is the team to guide the agency going forward.
We’ve worked together to build Verde into a leading brand communications agency in our founding markets of outdoor, bike, snowsports, active lifestyle, natural products and health and wellness, fitness and travel. We also now serve consumer electronics, pet, the beverage market (beer!), and action sports.
Essentially, our evolution is simple – it’s tied to the needs of our clients and the media. We live to serve both groups and consider it our purpose to stay out in front of what each group needs.
We have deep connections in our core markets and are continually expanding our reach into broader audiences, which is precisely what our clients want. Likewise, our media stakeholders count on us to provide them with the quality information in a variety of formats they need to service their readers, no matter what or where the points of entry are.
To say it’s juggling is an understatement. If you can truly get the brands and be passionate about the products (which we all are), support the direction of the brands and the innovation (which we do), and possess an almost maniacal commitment to what communications tools work best for what goal (which we geek out on daily) – then, it works. We are lucky to have clients and media who are in lock-step with us daily on this approach.
We view 2013 as the launch-pad year for the next decade of Verde – we are so excited to have our clients join us for the next era. One thing is for sure. … I won’t be having any more babies and I’m on the hunt for a client that makes a good, strong wrinkle cream.
As one of the most recognized faces in the outdoor industry, Kristin transitioned a decade-long journalism career into a now 11 year old (!) public relations agency, bringing outstanding results to brands in diverse markets. Kristin’s knack for being ahead of the curve is supplemented by her expert understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainable business practices.
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