Leading by Example: Outdoor Industry Association Shines a Light on the Industry’s Collaborative Spirit and United Strength

January 10, 2017

New “Together We Are a Force” campaign highlights industry influencers and their work together for the greater good.

From technology to fashion, markets have long been taking cues from the outdoor industry – resulting in the prevalence of wearable fitness trackers and the popularity of athleisure apparel. The industry is once again leading by example with its successes in collaborative competition, or ‘coopetition,’ while tackling some of the most challenging and timely opportunities and obstacles facing the outdoors. Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), the trade association and catalyst for meaningful change for the outdoor recreation industry, today is debuting their Together We Are a Force campaign at this year’s Winter Market Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah which showcases the incredible collaborative efforts within the industry.

Well on its way to being an officially recognized sector of the national economy (GDP) with the recent passage of the REC Act, outdoor recreation accounts for $646 billion in consumer spending, 6.1 million American jobs, $80 billion in federal state and local revenue and other significant economic activity across the country. Designed to showcase the collaboration and teamwork currently taking place throughout the outdoor industry, the Together We Are a Force campaign illustrates the strength in numbers the outdoor industry possesses when it comes to tackling important issues such as climate change, trade policy and the health and wellness benefits of getting kids outside.

“We know that there are numerous issues that are too important, too significant to be shouldered by the individual – they need to be addressed by the entire industry. On issues like the environment and sustainability, by working together and uniting our voices, we can achieve great success,” states OIA Executive Director Amy Roberts.

Coming to life through a series of print ads, videos and content that profile influential industry pairings that exemplify the campaign theme “Together We Are a Force,” OIA’s website (https://outdoorindustry.org/together-we-are-a-force/) will provide expanded interviews plus audio and video about the individuals and companies featured in the campaign.

People like Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Springs specialty retailer David Leinweber, who owns Angler’s Covey, work together on policies that favor small business and the state’s rich outdoor recreation infrastructure. Portland State University’s Jennifer Nolfi and Yeti Coolers’ Alex Baires are recruiting more diverse college students into industry career tracks and leadership roles. Peter Haney of Columbia Sportswear and Daniel Uretsky of ALLIED Feather & Down are leading the industry in materials traceability and transparency, not only through their business relationship but through their work on the OIA Sustainability Working Group (SWG).

Perhaps one of the industry’s greatest collaborative efforts is the Sustainability Working Group (SWG), celebrating its 10th anniversary. With over 300 brands, retailers, suppliers and other stakeholder organizations working to identify and implement better business practices throughout their supply chains, it isn’t uncommon to see competitors working side by side. These business leaders and others are featured in the campaign, to which more partnerships and stories will be added throughout the year.

As the organization responsible for connecting brands, retailers and other interested parties in the outdoor space, OIA has outlined its three areas of focus – public policy, outdoor participation and sustainable business innovation – and believes that bringing together the individual stakeholders can help effect more substantial progress toward common initiatives. This includes, at times, competitors who face the same obstacle; working together they can often find a solution for which – independently – they may not have the resources.

It’s important for the longevity of our brands, but also for the longevity of the world we live in,” says Smartwool’s Jennifer McLaren of her company’s involvement with the SWG and its commitment to sustainability. In OIA’s Together We Are a Force campaign, McLaren is paired with Dave Petri of Farm to Feet which competes with Smartwool in the sock category but collaborates with through the SWG. In a video on outdoorindustry.org, Petri explains: “What you guys (Smartwool) do to improve your supply chain ultimately helps improve the supply chain for others and vice versa.”

Outdoor Industry Association’s programming at the Winter Market Outdoor Retailer trade show will revolve around the Together We Are a Force messaging, and Roberts hopes attendees will carry the message with them into the future by collaborating on advocacy work, sustainability initiatives and participation efforts. To learn more about opportunities to get involved, visit outdoorindustry.org.

Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA unites and serves over 1300 manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.