Mammoth Mountain in California is building a robust community around the destination brand with a new GoPro partnership and crowdsourced content initiative called #MammothStories.
The campaign’s content hub is the dedicated stories.mammothmountain.com page, which uses the StoryBox platform to aggregate all social media content with the #MammothStories hashtag.
However, the overall storytelling experience really begins with the Mammoth homepage. The slideshow across the top directs users to a wide variety of editorial content, such as the #MammothStories page, a rap video by Mammoth’s “Woolly” mascot, snow forecasts and a punchy news blog.
The middle third of the homepage highlights special events and package deals, while the bottom third is dedicated entirely to photos, videos and social media. In essence, this is a destination marketing portal that feels more like a travel magazine website. Instead of sections listing “Things to Do,” the Mammoth website is showing what people are actually doing—today.
Mammoth Mountain produces a significant amount of editorial and photo/video content in-house, which establishes a fun and engaging tone throughout the website and encourages user generated content sourced across all of the different channels.
Mammoth also announced a new partnership with GoPro in November to further expand its content development. Skiing and snowboarding are two of the most popular sports that integrate GoPro videos, so this partnership gives both brands additional content to cross-promote each other.
We interviewed Erik Forsell, chief marketing officer at Mammoth Mountain, to learn more about the company’s content initiatives and how they’re driving business.
Skift: What is the conceptual strategy behind #MammothStories?
Erik Forsell: Mammoth Lakes is one of the most beautiful places on earth, but it’s one thing for me to say that, it’s quite another for our visitors to actually show it to their friends and family. Our goal with #MammothStories is to encourage our guests to share—it’s a crowdsourced content strategy. We produce original content in-house with notable individuals to keep the ball rolling, but it’s really about engaging our guests in the storytelling process.
The #MammothStories campaign also leverages the social media platforms themselves that favor visual content. It’s a perfect storm involving a stunning location for creating content that creates a willing and socially active audience on platforms favoring visual content.
Skift: How does #MammothStories drive incremental sales?
Erik Forsell: The campaign has given us the opportunity to reach a wider audience than we’ve traditionally had access to with a message that is totally authentic. The result has been record-setting visitation the last several summers, and while winter visitation is quite snow dependent, we’re seeing the impact there as well.
Skift: What has tended to be the most popular content and why?
Erik Forsell: The content that features some of the biggest names in and around winter sports, people like Tony Hawk and Olympic snowboarder Greg Bretz, receive a lot of attention. No surprise there, we live in a celebrity-driven culture.
I mentioned authenticity as a driver in the success of #MammothStories. One of the video pieces we saw the highest rates of engagement on was a check in with Dave McCoy. McCoy founded Mammoth more than 60 years ago. He’s 99 now and he’s an icon in this industry. That piece highlighted what makes Mammoth so special, both as a place and an idea that was born out of his vision.
We have a tendency to want to focus on the huge air, the massive cliff drops and powder shots because they’re so dynamic visually. But the Dave McCoy piece was a good reminder that storytelling is as much about authenticity and shared experiences, as it is the totally unique. People are awed by the things our athletes do, but they can’t necessarily relate to them. McCoy is such a real person, so it’s easy to relate to him, and that resonates well.
Skift: How does #MammothStories benefit the lodging and hospitality component at Mammoth?
Erik Forsell: You’re hitting on one of our biggest communications challenges. Our team is charged not only with marketing the mountain, but we market our hotels, we market our restaurants and nightlife, and to a certain extent we market our people. They’re all part of our guests’ Mammoth experience and they contribute to their stories.
#MammothStories appealed to us as a campaign because of its flexibility. We can talk to one segment of our audience about the terrain parks, we can talk to another segment of our audience about the family experience, another about dining, and all under the umbrella of this one campaign.
Certainly it helps us sell lift tickets and passes, but it also allows us to talk about the other pieces of the Mammoth experience, lodging and F&B included, with the same authentic voice. The other thing to consider is that, from a marketing standpoint, a rising tide lifts all of our boats. Because of our location, if you’re here to ski or ride, you’re likely staying and eating here in Mammoth.
Skift: What inspired the partnership with GoPro?
Erik Forsell: We launched the partnership with GoPro this year, and we view it as evidence of the success of our content marketing strategy. When it comes to building a social brand around content, GoPro helped write the book. Its audience is massive, its content is consistently viral, and most importantly its strategy results in sales.
On our end, we have the biggest social audience of any mountain resort, largely the result of our content strategy, and we have a brand that resonates with an affluent, active audience. Look at the two entities separately and there’s a lot in common. As a marketer you want to align your brand with the best and that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Greg Oates covers tourism and hospitality development. Email him at [email protected]