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Storytelling has long been a way for humans to connect. It's a powerful marketing tool and companies in the ecommerce space have been finding ways to tap into the strength of storytelling to reach customers. Whether you refer to it as content-driven commerce, content marketing, or story-based commerce, good stories are at the heart of the connection process. 

"A great story is true. Not necessarily because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. Consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on." - Seth Godin

The following are six great examples of outdoor companies using content to build an audience and grow their community. 


Just check out their YouTube channel or Video webpage to experience powder skiing, surfing, base jumping … and a baby skateboarding. And that’s what GoPro is about - experience. GoPro's cameras give you a real-life perspective and GoPro does an awesome job of showing that in an authentic and very relatable way. 


Wagner Custom Skis

A small company based in Colorado, Wagner Custom builds skis for a passionate niche group. Their website - and social media accounts - cater to the snow athlete who prefers a personalized approach. Wagner Custom’s Journal is full of adventure and athlete stories, from traveling the globe to skiing great snow.



Patagonia has long been an environmental company. In addition to producing popular outdoor clothes, they support an active, healthy, environmentally friendly, and passionate lifestyle. The company shows this part of their culture through storytelling - both with beautiful photography and their blog. The Cleanest Line comprises travel, adventure, and environment stories.  


Eagle Creek

Eagle Creek has built a popular business that’s focused on luggage and bags. Their blog, The Travel Hub, is aptly centered around travel, adventure, transportation and appeals to a wide variety of readers - including the family traveler, the organized planner, and the budget adventurer.


Tough Mudder

As a popular obstacle adventure, Tough Mudder has become a sort of movement in the race world. The organization is also great at producing content that builds community and audience. While Tough Mudder isn’t selling a product like some ecommerce sites, the site does inspire passion, excitement, community, and accomplishment.



Red Bull has made themselves into an action and sports company … but they also dove right into content generation. The Red Bulletin is a great collection of original stories about sports, culture, and lifestyle - everything that strengthens Red Bull’s brand.

While I point out a number of blogs as examples of great content, storytelling can really be done in a variety of ways - through web design, images, interactive pages, and video. And not everything has to be digital. The key is authenticity, consistency ... and knowing who your audience is. 

If you are using content to drive your commerce, we'd love to hear about your experience. What's working? What isn't? What do you want to try but haven't? Leave a comment below!

If you're interested in other posts about ecommerce, you should read Michael's piece called, "Start your Content + Commerce Revolution."

UX Director, Principal UX Designer, Strategist
Rick has been designing user experiences since 1999 and managing UX teams since 2005. As a leader, he helps people be the best designer they can. He continues to consult, having led engagements with universities like Emory University, UNC, UCLA, and University of Minnesota as well as mission-driven companies like RedHat, Stickergiant, and Obermeyer.

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