Liquid Spark is a strategic marketing agency specializing in adventure travel & outdoor recreation sectors of the tourism industry. Our mission: to create practical marketing that inspires adventure, action, and stewardship of people, place, and planet.
Liquid Spark is a strategic marketing agency specializing in the adventure travel and outdoor recreation in the travel and tourism industry. Liquid Spark, formerly WillowWorks, has had the good fortune to work with some of the top outfitters in the US and Costa Rica. Most recently we also help with emerging responsible tourism companies in Tibet and China with digital marketing and business planni
Operating as usual
Rylee here, LS Project Manager 👋 April 27, 2011, is a date that those of us from Alabama will never forget. The largest and one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in history hit the Southeast on this day and my home state bore much of the brunt of this. In total 216 tornadoes touched down throughout the SE, 4 of them rated EF5. 348 lives were claimed, 238 of which were in Alabama. The destruction was everywhere and it was devastating.
Two-pro sport legend Bo Jackson wanted to give back and rebuild his home state. So, Bo Bikes Bama was born. Bo gathered up celebrity and athlete friends and hundreds biked the entire pathway of the tornadoes through Alabama while raising money to rebuild communities that were left in shambles long after the tornadoes were gone. Bo enlisted the help of Nike and Trek and, locally, the agency that I worked for in Birmingham to do PR/marketing support, which is how I initially got involved.
The charity ride turned into an annual event now raising money for the Alabama Governor's Emergency Relief Fund which proactively funds the construction of community safe rooms, and other emergency preparedness resources, throughout the state (70 built to date!) and reactively funds are available to communities to help rebuild after disaster strikes.
I always say that Bo Bikes Bama is my favorite weekend out of every year and this is my 9th year involved. It is deeply meaningful to me. The work is important and life-saving and the ride serves as an outlet for friends/family to honor loved ones whose lives were claimed over a decade ago. (Plus, it's a lot of fun!) As the marketing and communications director, I have gotten to know so many people over the years and hear their stories about why they ride and I'm moved and inspired every year by how communities show up for one another even in the midst of tragedy. Next weekend, I'll be in Auburn, AL for our first in-person bike ride since 2019, and I couldn't be more excited!
🌸🧹It is officially spring, and you know what that means…spring cleaning! We don’t mean a literal clean, but what we can help with is how to spring clean your work schedule with automated emails.
Not wanting to worry about scheduling specific emails to specific subscribers? Email automation focuses on one-to-one communication, as it allows you to send specific emails that speak directly to your individual subscriber’s interests based on a particular action or rule—a “trigger.”
On average, 51% of companies are currently using automation. When implemented properly for your adventure brand, you enjoy the following marketing automation benefits above your competitors:
⏳Saving time (30%)
📝Lead generation (22%)
📉Higher revenue (17%)
👍Customer retention (11%)
🚴♀️Shortening the sales cycle (2%)
Start spring off with a bang! Link below for more info.
Intro to Email Automation Toolkit for Adventure Brands Have You Unlocked the Power of Email Automation for Your Adventure Brand? Efficiency is vital in business. When the need to scale comes around, deploying systems, processes, and workflows can shift the very essence of not only how we do business, but of how we serve our customers, too. So when we st...
Our team just completed the DEI Deep Dive Masterclass Series course offered by @blacksintourism. In this three-part course we learned about cultural values & biases, diversity marketing best practices, inclusive leadership skills, and tourism research on black travelers. Three outstanding experts in DEI, Travel, and Tourism were the instructors.
Our team really enjoyed this course and learned a profound amount in a very short time. We committed to go deep and uncovered own biases, learnings, and ah-hahs. Our agency debrief top takeaways are:
“Diversity is not limited to ethnicity - it includes sexual identities and bodies of all sizes and abilities. There are so many ways to see the world depending on your culture and implicate biases. These two factors together are an excellent reminder that my scope is so limited - it is essential to sit back and listen with humility.”
“The importance and historical context of 1936, when the first Green Book came out, was very eye-opening. It is still, 86 years later, important for black travelers to know which areas are safe and welcoming to travel to - and this is a key part of successful diversity marketing.”
“86% of job seekers consider diversity important, 78% of employers lack diversity on leadership, and diverse organizations outperform non-diverse ones by 40% - wow.”
"Hire for difference, not for familiarity. Homogeneous teams are less innovative, more comfortable, and exhibit less critical thinking. Diverse teams are more innovative, less comfortable, and have enhanced critical thinking. "
"Group think is the catalyst for many business failures. Inclusive leaders mitigate group think. Empowered diverse teams do that automatically."
We are really excited about how to take what we learned and move into next initiatives and outreach to be part of the solution of supporting diversity in our industry, and our personal lives. Link below to learn more about the DEI Deep Dive Masterclass Series.
The Rivers and Forests Alliance (RAFA) team, a Costa Rican non-profit, is on its final day of its Charity Auction Fundraiser - which ends tomorrow April 1, 2022! These amazing adventure trips are still up for bidding:
🌊Rafting whitewater in Alaska
🌴Canopy tour in the forests of Costa Rica
🏖Costa Rica paradise beach house stay
And much more!
Trips range from CA, MX, AK, and Costa Rica - whoa! Deals to be had, for a GREAT cause! Link below for more details.
Ready to add the marketing ✨spark✨ to your outfitter, destination, or adventure brand? We’re headed to the @Outdoor Economy Conference next week, from April 4-7! Swing by the Liquid Spark booth to see what we can do for you. Plus, pick up one of these rad new Liquid Spark stickers 🌎
Adventure brands are prime candidates for working with influencers - beautiful locations and exciting expeditions are perfect for social media! But with so many options out there, how do you know you’re doing influencer marketing right? We’ve laid it out in the blog this week, PLUS we’ve created an entire toolkit that walks you through the whole process.
Head to https://liquidspark.com/toolkits/influencer-marketing/ get started on your influencer journey!
It’s officially spring here in the Northern Hemisphere! The weather is warming up, and for many, snow is melting away for access to trails, rivers, and wildflowers. What outdoor adventures are you looking forward to this season? (Peaks pictured in order: North Sister, Three Fingered Jack, and Mount Hood)
Meet our other Spark Forward Nonprofit Program partner: Need More Outdoors! Need More Outdoors is a nonprofit organization on a mission to strengthen Western North Carolina communities by empowering youth through outdoor adventures and education. Need More Outdoors offers a range of activities, from whitewater kayaking to conservation education, to get kids outside, improve health, build confidence and life skills, and inspire a lifelong connection to nature. Many of Liquid Spark’s staff are local to Western North Carolina, so this mission is extra personal for us - we’re excited to “spark forward” the great work they’re doing!
Introducing our first Spark Forward Nonprofit Program partner - Hiking My Feelings! Hiking My Feelings’ programs and events cultivate a judgment-free space where transformational healing is possible. They introduce people to mindfulness and the healing power of nature, and the results are lasting improvements to mental, physical, and spiritual health. We’ll collaborate with Hiking My Feelings to “spark forward” the great work they’re doing!
It’s the announcement we’ve all been waiting for…Liquid Spark’s 2022 Spark Forward Nonprofit Program selection! This year, we had several outstanding organizations apply and it was such a hard choice that we chose two! 🥁 Drumroll please...We’ll be working with Hiking My Feelings and Need More Outdoors this year to help “spark forward” the great work they’re doing. We’re spotlighting both organizations this month on our social media platforms, but check them out if you don’t want to wait
Liquid Spark was recently featured in the first installment of 'Gene Kilgore's FYI Spotlight', where Ranchweb and Top50 Ranches share top industry tips from experts in their fields. Check out some of the highlights from Gene’s interview with founder and president Julie.
Happy from our women-led Liquid Spark team. This month, we’ll highlight women-led outdoor adventure organizations making big things happen in the adventure industry. Tag the women you’re celebrating today (and all year round!) in the comments below 👇
[Pictured: Some of our team in the Nantahala Gorge for a video shoot for Bryson City, Swain County, North Carolina last summer. Left to right: Taylor, Rylee, Julie, and Lucinda. And, of course, one of our K-9 staffers, Owsley.]
- PPC Edition! Pay-Per-Click Advertising is almost essential for top-ranking search results (and subsequently more leads to your site). We have a whole series on our blog, deep-diving how to drive successful campaigns - find it here 👉 https://liquidspark.com/category/ppc-pay-per-click-advertising/
Happy March! Exciting things are on the horizon as the weather warms up, including when client Alpaca Expeditions Travel Peru’s Inca Trail to Machu Picchu trekking season resumes after February Inca Trail maintenance! What adventures are you looking forward to this spring?
🗺Last fall, Julie gave a virtual presentation on business resiliency in the time of Covid to members of the Tibetan tourism industry. With no international travelers allowed to enter the region, adventure brands needed to pivot in order to make it through the pandemic. Scroll through for the highlights, then keep an eye out for an upcoming blog to read all of the globally-applicable advice.
🌾 We love what Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund is all about: self-described as “A mutual aid ecosystem rooted in Black earth-based traditions to regenerate land ownership, stewardship, and cooperative economies in the South”. We are also honored to support them as a 1% for the Planet business member!
👀 Spotted out in the wild - our client Wildwater Ltd was featured in Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine!
The article tackles a conversation around the possible removal of the Tugalo Dam and what that would mean for the Chattooga, a National Wild & Scenic River, and the Tullulah.
👉Read the whole article here: https://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/paddling/free-the-flow/
💻Throwback Thursday to when we had the privilege of sitting down with Courtney Simone, founder of Adventure In Black, for an Adventure Spark Chat!
✈️ We did a deep dive about tourism marketing to people of color, building a community in adventure tourism, and how the adventure tourism industry can better support black and brown travelers.
👉Watch the whole chat here: https://liquidspark.com/adventure-in-black-with-courtney-simone/
🏂 It’s time to hit the slopes! Have you heard of Hoods to Woods Foundation? Created with the idea that everyone should have access to the outdoors, this non-profit promotes awareness of the outdoors to inner-city children through snowboarding. Many Liquid Spark staff members love skiing and snowboarding, so we get extra excited about the work Hoods to Woods is doing. Check them out!
Hoods To Woods Foundation – Hoods To Woods Foundation The Hoods to Woods Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that promotes awareness of the outdoors to inner city children through Snowboarding.
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