How REI created sustainable user-generated content

REI’s social media team set up a website for photos of their fans’ outdoor adventures. They didn’t realize they were creating a huge storehouse of PR and marketing content for REI.

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(This story holds tips and advice from REI’s manager of social and earned media, Lulu Gephart. Her talk at’s Brands-Only Summit is here.)

REI isn’t just an outdoor gear store—it’s a co-op.

Its employees love being outside. In her recent session at the Brands-Only Summit, Lulu Gephart, REI’s Manager of Social and Earned Media, recaps one of her own adventures:

“Two lessons: If you get a chance to hike the Spanish Pyrenees, do it. And don’t drink the water, because you’ll get the ‘Spanish Plague,’ and you’ll want to die.”

For every outdoor adventure REI’s employees go on, thousands of their customers do something similar. To capitalize on that, Gephart explains, REI asked them to share photos and stories from those outdoor pursuits.

The goal of REI’s 1440 Project: Gather photos from customers’ outdoor adventures captured at every minute (1,440 of them) of the day.

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