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Episode 73: What Does It Mean To Level Up?

We're back and better than ever!

Season five has arrived and we're stoked to share what's been happening lately. Recorded from our homes during social distancing, we finally announce the WHEELIE 2020 initiative: Level Up Yourself, Your Brand, and Your Community. We preview the kind of guests you'll be hearing from this season and encourage you to submit your own suggestions for interviewees! Enjoy the season and keep an eye out for future episodes (and minisodes) launching soon!

Don't forget to subscribe wherever you listen so you don't miss our new episodes every Thursday. Please leave us an iTunes review to let us know what you think about the show!


Episode Transcript

Intro: You're listening to Outside by Design, the podcast about the business of creativity in the outdoor industry. This podcast is brought to you by WHEELIE, a creative agency for people who thrive outside. We help connect people with themselves, each other, and the natural world through communication and creative work that makes people feel feelings and take action. Basically, we're all about making marketing that matters. This is our podcast. It's about leveling up yourself, your brand, and your community through powerful creative work.

Lisa: Welcome to season five of Outside by Design.

Iris: Hello. Good to be in your ears.

Lisa: It is good to be in your ears, from - it's such a weird time to be a human being on planet earth right now.

Iris: It is. I can't see you right now.

Lisa: No, we're isolated at our respective homes. I sent the whole staff home three weeks ago maybe? Um, and we've all been working from home. So now Iris and I are recording a podcast remotely too.

Iris: ‘Cause usually we record it from about six inches apart and now we’re far apart.

Lisa: I know. I miss our cool sound panels.

Iris: Yeah. I miss getting to just speak right into your face.

Lisa: Yeah. So if the audio quality isn't what it normally is, just as with all things these days, everyone's just a person doing their best.

Iris: We're doing our best.

Lisa: But season five is upon us here. I can't believe that we've been doing a podcast at WHEELIE for five years now. Time is really flying. Five years, five years ago, I was so young and naive, there was no pandemic.

Iris: I was 19.

Lisa: Okay. Yeah. So you were actually young and naive.

Iris: [laughs] I don't know if that's changed.

Lisa: Amazing.

Iris: So Lisa, what's new at WHEELIE?

Lisa: Oh my gosh. Iris. So many things are new at WHEELIE. So we have been so excited to launch our new 2020 level up plan.

Iris: Yes.

Lisa: And that's something that we worked on in 2019 and times changed, but we still are going to launch it because it's awesome. And, um, it actually works quite well as brands are forced to adapt and evaluate their marketing budgets. Um, it's got something for everyone. So, um. Let's get into it. Let’s talk about it.

Iris: All right, let’s get into it.

Lisa: So we're basing the whole agency around this concept of why we're called WHEELIE, Which is when you pull the front wheel of your bike up your car, you're like leveling up. You're pulling up, you're getting over a stump. You know, you might be just showing off to your friends, climbing something technical, but it really... you, you do the move of a WHEELIE to. Get over something or to go up something. So, um, wheelie means level up. Pretty cool. Huh? Level up.

So something interesting has happened at WHEELIE, which is we have kind of gotten a little more serious. We're still fun, but, um, we're to the point where we are working with brands to help elevate the world through meaningful and impactful creative work, and really, really focusing on making marketing that matters. Like, we don't want to just sell stuff to the world. We want to be really thoughtful and strategic about the brands that we partner with and the different collaborations that we link all our different clients up with.

And, um, you know, we… our main mission statement is to help connect people with themselves, each other, and the natural world through communication and creative work that makes people feel feelings and take action.

Iris: Love it.

Lisa: Dope. Yeah. ‘Cause we've been doing this for 11 years, and this is not our first rodeo at this point, but this process that we've... we've actually kind of like turned our services into three sections of services. So there's three levels of engagement. They're scalable, they're repeatable. You go round and round and round. We take you and your brand from level one to level three, back again, it's really awesome. So I want to hear the breakdown of our WHEELIE level up process?

Iris: Yes, please. Let's do it.

Lisa: There's three levels. Number one, level up yourself. So this is, this is intended at like CEOs, VPs of marketing, CMOs, brand managers, director-level positions. We help... we want to start at first with you as a person because, like, businesses don't do business. People do business. Do you remember the movie Newsies that's like…

Iris: I have seen that one.

Lisa: Thank goodness. Remember, he's like, “headlines don't sell papes. Newsies sell papes.”

Iris: Yes.

Lisa: Remember that?

Iris: No.

Lisa: I learned everything I know about business from the movie Newsies because business doesn't do business. People do business, you know? And um, yeah, level... level one we offer - and we're working on it, ‘cause everything we planned totally got demolished by COVID- 19. So, um, but the, the theory behind level one, Level Up Yourself, is we offer workshops, webinars, leadership retreats, and one-on-one consulting to, uh, kinda help... help brands or help people learn their positioning. Because the really cool thing about being an agency is that we talk to tons and tons and tons of different brands where like a VP of marketing or CMO is just very, very specific and focused on the brand that they work for.

So we kind of bring that bigger perspective. That's a really cool thing about an agency, and we work with those leaders in those leadership roles to help be the best, best them that they can be. You know, because historically in the outdoor industry, like I've seen it happen so many times where you're just kicking ass at your job and you keep getting promoted and promoted and promoted, and then you majored in marketing or something and then suddenly you're running a team.

Iris: Yeah.

Lisa: And, uh, this, this level is really for, for those people that want to, uh, lead their vision and lead their team and lead an agency, and we kind of help with those tools. It's really fun. That's level one.

Iris: So if you are a VP of marketing or a CEO, or you know of one who would make an incredible guest that we can talk to about how they level up themselves, we would love to have him on the show. So hit us up, send us an email. DM us on Instagram. Send us a letter?

Lisa: It's true. I go check the mail once a week.

Iris: Carrier pigeon. But no one's at our office right now, so maybe that's out of the picture.

Lisa: Yup.

Iris: Yeah, we'd love to hear your ideas on who we can talk to.

Lisa: Yes. And then, level two.

Iris: Level two!

Lisa: So level two, once you level up yourself, you can move into level two, which is level up your brand.

Um, and this is all about making great work. So this is where you take your personal style as a leader, um, from level one, and you work with us to create meaningful work that resonates with your audience. So this is like our fun, normal agency services. Everything that you've seen us doing where we're making amazing videos and we're writing, filming, producing, branding, creative direction. All the cool agency- like doing. Right, level two, level up your brand is about that actual production. This is where we're getting permits. We're writing stories, we're doing sunrise shoots. Um, we're tracking metrics and hitting goals and drinking coffee. It's just like that, that crazy agency life that we love so much around making beautiful work. So that's what level two is. It's kind of the easiest to explain.

Iris: So people were looking for in level two is going to be artists and creatives and athletes, ambassadors. What else?

Lisa: Uh, producers would be fun. Anyone who's a social media, uh, I guess influencer. It's still fun to talk to influencers and anyone who's a content creator. Oh, I really want to talk to like a fabric designer this year. We haven't talked to many people in apparel. That would be fun.

Iris: Mmm.

Lisa: But anyway, so that's, that's level two. And we would love to talk to, uh, all those creative humans out there to talk about what it's like to work with agencies, what it's like to work with brands. What it's like to work as a freelancer versus in house, so that, that would be, um. Yeah. If that, if that resonates with you, then get ahold of us. You can send an email to or Instagram. Instagram's a really, really good way to get ahold of us too.

Iris: Okay. That's level two. What's level three?

Lisa: Level three is so dope, Iris. So first level one, you level up yourself. Level two is level up your brand and three is level up your community.

Iris: Woo!

Lisa: Woo. So this is all... level three is all about giving back. So at first, we work on you harnessing your genius ideas. Level two, we work on the brand, what it stands for, who it connects with. And then in level three, we're all about community. And so this is where we take your brand and its core values, and we build an initiative to make a positive impact on the world. So this is more experiential marketing. This is like, sometimes we actually build the 3D objects, like trail signs, trail maps. If you are a large company that's selling shoes, for example, um, you need trails. And so does that turn into conservation? Does it turn into actually like throwing down some money and doing some trail work or some trail signage? Um, you know, is it, is it throwing speaking events in your local areas? Is it, um, you know... it's a really heavy element of philanthropy and sometimes it's political. So sometimes we work with your numbers people at your company, uh, to talk about or kind of like a - well, Tom’s shoes is the classic one for one model. You know, that's when we might get the financial decision makers involved and really figure out what type of philanthropic initiative your brand can take. And we also help actually make it happen and build it. And it's super fun.

Iris: So with level three where I'm going to be speaking with, uh, founders of community organizations, B Corps, people who are on the ground getting shit done and, um, trail organizations, different companies who have give back programs. So if you know of someone who is kicking ass in that sphere, we would love to hear about them.

Lisa: Absolutely. And if you're a brand manager listening to this and you're like, what are they talking about? Uh, that would be awesome for the brand. I manage. Hit us up. Um, we'd love to talk to you about how, how we can do that even now at this strange financial, um, time of, of COVID-19, you know, there's ton of different ways to get, get your community, uh, impacted positively through partnering with an agency.

Iris: So three levels, and the guests that we're going to have on season five on our podcasts are all going to pertain to one of the levels. And we're going to rotate through one, two, and three. And talk about leveling up yourself, leveling up your brand, and leveling up your community.

Lisa: Heck yeah. I'm excited.

Iris: Me too.

Lisa: You know, I am like, I'm just so excited to like use marketing for a greater good.

Yeah. So thank you for listening to our first little mini-sode of season five and it's just delightful to be in your ears. And I am grateful for everyone who's ever reached out or listened to the podcast or a high fived me at Outdoor Retailer. And I'm especially grateful to brands that we've worked with who have hired us and all the different creatives we've gotten to collaborate with. I'm just feeling really, really fortunate to have such a cool, creative outdoor community.

Iris: Yeah. And we can't wait to launch the rest of our episodes of season five. Stay tuned.

Lisa: Stay strong.

Iris: Stay tuned. Stay strong. You love you.

Lisa: Bye.

Iris: Bye. .

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