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6 marketing strategies for outdoor brands that want to go global

Martina Russo, CEO & founder
November 17, 2023

If you’re an outdoor brand, chances are you’re looking to establish an international presence. That requires a global marketing strategy that’s well adapted to stand out in new terrain. A strategy that transcends borders and allows you to connect with audiences around the world.

But international marketing doesn’t come without its challenges. It takes time, effort and a bit of patience before you start to see results. And that’s often where many brands get stuck.

In this blog post we’ll talk you through 6 marketing strategies you can use to take your brand to the next level. From defining your brand identity to tailoring your message across languages, we’ll help you with the tools you need to stand out from the competition and engage outdoor enthusiasts across the globe.

1/ Define your brand identity

Your brand identity is what makes you unique. It’s also a crucial component in your overall marketing strategy. And if you want your brand to go global, you need to create a reason for people to choose your product or service above anyone else’s. It starts with how consumers see you.

Brand identity incorporates:

  •   Tone of voice – how you talk to people
  •   Colors, shapes and visual elements, such as your logo
  •   Brand name
  •   Graphics
  •   How you interact with customers (aka customer service)

According to the latest loyalty statistics, 72% of global customers feel some loyalty towards at least one brand. And 75% of US consumers feel loyalty specifically towards brands that understand them on a personal level. In other words: if your customers feel you know them, they’ll also want to get to know you.

Defining your brand identity isn’t quick or easy. It takes time to figure out who you really are and how to put it into words and images. But once your customers recognize you, they’ll begin to trust what you offer. Your brand awareness will grow, and your sales will start to soar.

2/ Share your cause

Being a brand in the outdoor sports industry is about more than selling a service or product. It’s about using your platform to support the causes you believe in.

At The Action Sports Translator, we’re proud to be a full member of the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) alongside major outdoor brands like Patagonia, The North Face and other key players. 100% of the member fees paid to the EOCA go into the projects we support. That means we get to propose and vote on projects we believe in. We share this information with our community as often as we can in the hopes that together, we can have a more positive impact on the planet.

The effects our favorite sports have on the environment is a big topic of discussion right now. Sustainability in sports matters – but it’s about far more than ditching plastic cups. We have to change the way we think about the nature that is our playground. And inclusivity in sports is another serious issue. We all need to do our bit to ensure marginalized communities are included within the outdoor community.

Sustainability and inclusivity are just a few examples of what you can support. But whatever cause you decide to embrace, start shouting about it.

Plus, 66% of customers are likely to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand. In fact, 81% of millennials expect their favorite companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship as a starting point. As long it’s genuine, what you say and do matters.

Looking for inspiration about what causes to support? Then check out our blog post to see what other outdoor organizations are doing to change the planet for good.

3/ Integrate your story into your products

Your customers should feel something when they interact with you. They should be inspired by your products. Empowered by your content. And they should trust that what you offer is built to stand the test of time. Storytelling is one of the best ways to connect with your customers. It takes them deeper, allowing them to imagine how their lives could be enhanced by what you’re selling.

Look at Patagonia. The brand enriches its product pages with detailed product stories and information. Their copy does more than just sell a product – it encourages adventure and an urgency to act on the climate crisis.

Alt text: A product page from Patagonia showing printed clothes within The Wayfinder collection. Copy says: “Using the position of the stars on the celestial sphere, the Hōkūleʻa wayfinder navigates the Pacific Ocean”.
The product page for the Patagonia Men’s Pataloha Shirt with a product description and various pictures of the shirt worn on a model.

The North Face uses storytelling as a marketing tool, too. Each description highlights the features and benefits of the product while using inspirational language to show customers how it will fit into their adventures. The descriptions function on a deeper level and encourage customers to engage with them more fully.

The product description page of the Men’s Dawn Turn 2.5 Cordura Shell Jacket from The North Face with a flat product image on the left and a product description on the right.

4/ Tailor your message to each market

If you operate in different markets, your copy needs to be compelling enough to convert anywhere and everywhere. But here’s the thing: word-for-word translations aren’t going to cut it. To prevent your message from being watered down in other languages, you may need some transcreation alongside translation.

Transcreation is about more than just words. It’s about understanding the meaning behind the message and finding creative – yet strategic – ways to make it resonate in different languages. Think marketing translation meets copywriting. When done right, your copy will have the same impact in every language – even if it looks different technically. That’s what tailoring your message to each market is about.

That’s where it gets tricky. Your customers need to recognize your voice wherever they are in the world. The most successful outdoor brands know how to speak to their audience without losing the essence of who they are. They attract customers from all corners of the world because they adapt their message depending on who they’re talking to while still staying true to their unique voice.

Staying consistent across markets doesn’t need to be complicated. For example, creating language-specific tone of voice guidelines is an easy way to keep you and your teams on track. It takes some time and effort to create the guidelines, but then they’ll become your brand bible for communicating with people outside your business. Plus, your product and marketing teams can refer back to them when creating content, allowing you to stay consistent in every language and medium.

5/ Engage with your audience on social media

Social media is a fantastic tool for getting in touch with your audience in real time. You can share stories, start conversations and chat with your customers one to one.

User-generated content is an underrated marketing tool. People love to see real adventurers doing ordinary things. It connects with them on an emotional level and allows them to see what your products are really like out in the wild. And – even better for your business – it doesn’t cost much to implement.

Salomon engaging fan on social media using product content.

You can also engage with your fans on social media with video content. Did you know that TikTok has over 1 billion global monthly visitors? Plus, video captures the beauty and intensity of the outdoor industry better than text can, so you’ll be more likely to inspire and engage action sports fans.

An image of climber Xian Goh wearing a lavender puffer jacket on the Instagram page for The North Face.
An image of ultra-marathon runners and best friends Emily and Hannah wearing matching black running shorts and a lightweight purple jacket on the Instagram page for The North Face
An image of ultra-endurance bike rider and racer Lael Wilcox standing behind her bite in front of the mountains on the Komoot Instagram page

6/ Leverage influencers

The outdoor sports industry is all about the lifestyle. It’s authentic, raw and fueled by passion. With social media at everyone’s fingertips, outdoor sports fans enjoy engaging with adventurers they relate to and admire online. That’s why leveraging brand ambassadors and influencers can help you:

  •   Boost engagement
  •   Attract new audiences
  •   Help customers connect with your brand
  •   Spark conversations

The content influencers create also helps customers see exactly how your products can fit into their lifestyle. You’re more likely to get sales if your customers can see themselves wearing what you offer when skiing, surfing, hiking, cycling and exploring the outdoors. Here’s an example of how some of the world’s biggest outdoor brands do it:

Team up with the sports translation agency outdoor brands choose to go global

Marketing yourself as a global outdoor sports brand isn’t easy. It’s hard enough for you to create a brand that action sports fans want to engage with locally, not to mention what comes next: keeping your voice consistent across languages when you go global. 

Luckily, there’s an easy fix: partner up with us and leverage our linguistic, marketing and industry expertise. We’ll help you create and localize content that sports fans care about, empowering you to scale your sales and speak to audiences wherever they are in the world. We’ll help you reach them with a voice that’s both authentic to you and right at home on foreign shores.

Ready to dive in? Shoot us a message at hello@theactionsportstranslator.com to find out more.

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Martina is the CEO and founder at The Action Sports Translator. After starting her career in marketing translation in 2010, she has been recognized as a Localization industry influencer multiple years in a row and has been working with some of the world's most exciting brands to bring multilingual marketing campaigns to life.

Co-founder and localization manager at Protect Our Winters Italy, she founded The Action Sports Translator to provide outdoor brands with a sports translation service that truly gets them. When she isn’t working, you can usually find her climbing a mountain or snowboarding down the other side.

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