In 2015 we wanted to re-evaluate what G3 content is and what it could be. Up to that point they had been creating content based on the same model that is used by much bigger companies. They would release a few lifestyle-based mini ski webisodes per year based on the athlete team. These would get a little bit of excitement when launched, but would quickly fall off the radar of the ski community due to the sheer amount of similar content being launched by other brands.
What could G3 do that showcases the brand, the team, the partners, and their collective expertise? How could we use the smaller company size and core backcountry focus to our advantage in the content delivered?
This is how the idea for G3 University was sparked. While studying the market we found that 68% of people prefer content that informs or educates them over just 18% who said they prefer content that entertains or inspires. We had an opportunity here. G3's team of engineers, athletes, professional guide partners and testers, and partnerships with organizations like Avalanche Canada, ACMG, AMGA, etc. allowed us to create a platform for high level backcountry-specific educational content to be shared with the world.
G3 University: www.genuineguidegear.com/g3u
Much of the backcountry ski lifestyle is passed along from one user to another. Your new ski partner may teach you a more efficient way to transition to ski mode while you may show them how you cut a skin track. G3U simply makes that more of an open platform where anyone can learn how to be a better backcountry traveler and realize the value of getting educated, hiring a guide, or simply trying new things. Nothing in G3U is meant to replace proper backcountry training and education in the field with professional instructors. Instead, it is meant to wet the viewer's appetite for this stuff and get them excited about that next level of training.
We launched G3 University in the fall of 2016 with a catalogue of about 50 videos. We did this with the same amount of budget G3 had been using for the webisode program the year before. Each video was between 1 to 4 minutes long and ranged in topic from efficient kick turns while skinning to understanding the different styles of ski profiles. Content views grew by 500% that year and engagement (likes, shares, comments) grew even more than that. G3 University content doubled in views and engagement again the following year. No single video is getting massive amounts of views, but the catalogue together appeals to every type of backcountry skier - whether you are just starting to venture beyond the gates at the resort or if you are a seasoned veteran having done this your entire life.
The ski community has embraced the new content platform and really engaged with this evergreen content. None of this content dates itself a year after launching. Every video is just as relevant now as it was when it was released. This helps with continual engagement as well as long term SEO. The G3U content library continues to grow with more videos, blog posts, graphics, events, and more.
Nothing in G3U is directed as a hard sell of G3 product. It is all meant to improve the viewer's backcountry experience. That is why it is free to anyone who wants it. G3’s mission is to amplify the outdoor experience - and that is exactly what G3U sets out to do. We use strong branding in every piece of content, but then let the user learn and engage with what is being taught. Ultimately, we want people to associate the G3 brand with the feeling they get when they have their best outdoor experiences.
There are opportunities for engaging content for brands of all sizes. You don’t have to be a giant brand with massive budgets to get recognized in your industry and space. The key is to look at what your brand can do that is special and unique to you. Don’t get stuck trying to compete using the same tired model. Do something different.