Last summer, I did something completely out of my comfort zone. I participated in Questival, a 24-hour adventure race created by the company Cotopaxi with 4 of my close friends. For 24 hours, my friends and I adventured, explored, and discovered through a series of unique and exciting challenges in the city of Charleston, South Carolina. If you know me, you know that I am not a very outdoor-oriented person. I enjoy the indoor life. I like my comfort, my patterns, the predictability of my life. That is why when I first heard of Questival, I was confused as to why I felt so strongly that I needed to participate.
As much as I love comfort and predictability, what drives me more than anything is my need to love and serve others. This is at the core of who I am, and it guides many of my actions. Cotopaxi, which at first glance is simply an outdoor-gear retailer that hosts Questival adventure races, found a way to connect with me in such a way that I was moved to be a part of what they are doing.
At the core of Cotopaxi are very strong values that translate through all they do. These values include adventure, nature, growth, community, and simply doing good. These core values seem to hold something for anyone and everyone, and Cotopaxi has begun to discover how to create a message centered on these values that can move anyone to act.
Social media has played an integral part in the growth and success of Cotopaxi. Yes, Cotopaxi’s gear is used for outdoor activities and adventures, but the company does everything in its power to ensure that its customers are not isolated adventurers, but rather part of something bigger. For Cotopaxi, it appears that adventure and connecting with nature are simply the surface. This is their “what”. They create high-quality outdoor gear that allows people to create their own adventures and explore in nature. The next step is community, which describes their “how”. To reach the next step, their “why”, Cotopaxi works to connect their customers through social media, as well as through their Questival adventure races. The purpose behind their media and events is largely to promote the growth of the community surrounding their brand. In their Questival races, the judging is even performed over Cotopaxi’s own social media platform. Teams post photos and videos and then either like or love each other’s pictures, emphasizing positivity and togetherness. Many tasks even require meeting new people and doing an activity together that brings you closer to each other and forms a bond. This allows them to address the “why” that drives everything they do. Cotopaxi’s “why” appears to be summed up in their slogans “Gear for Good” and “Do Good”. Cotopaxi, at its core, is about serving others and improving the world around you. This is accomplished through community, as their customers are able to connect in ways that they couldn’t otherwise, leading both to a greater desire to serve one another, and more practical ways to serve together. The result of Cotopaxi trying to “Do Good” and serve others through building community is creating high-quality outdoor gear that serves as a starting point for building community.
Even after my Questival experience ended, I was still able to partake in judging teams for other Questival races, remaining part of the community long after my own experience. Cotopaxi’s values are reflected clearly through their own social media, which played a large role in keeping me engaged with their brand. On Facebook and Twitter, Cotopaxi frequently shares articles that showcase and emphasize their core values, while on Instagram the pictures they share continue to spark a desire for adventure and community with each new post.
My experience as a customer of this brand has been nothing but positive, and the way that they communicate their values both digitally and in person is so effective that I find it hard not to advocate for their brand every chance I get. Their core message is incredibly strong, but their social media currently seems to target a younger audience, typically college students and groups of friends. I believe that Cotopaxi has something for everyone, and it appears that they do as well. If Cotopaxi is able to develop an online marketing strategy to target new segments and expand their brand, I find it hard to believe that Cotopaxi won’t become a household name in years to come.