The outdoors are becoming more inclusive. Are you?

The Outdoor Industry is facing a “moment”. The winners will be the brands and organisations that can embrace women in leadership and the outdoors, sustainability, diversity and inclusion.

These were the key themes from the OIA’s recent Annual Conference and AGM. This two-day event provides an opportunity to gain insights into the outdoor market from industry leaders. For people like us - the agencies tasked with marketing outdoor brands – it delivered a better understanding of how we can help outdoor companies grow. It was also a chance for the OIA to launch its new brand video (you can see it below) which we helped to create, we very much enjoyed the round of applause it received!

“The Outdoor participant base has increased 6.9% since the COVID pandemic began”

Outdoor Participation Trends report 2022

Image 1

The OIA Con­fer­ence 2023

Post COVID, there’s a new consumer on the hills, bridleways and pathways that we can’t afford to ignore. Despite restrictions on entertainment lifting in 2021 outdoor recreation participation has continued to grow, increasing 6.9% since the pandemic began. And we’ve also seen an increase in previously under-represented groups which is driving diversity across all ethnicities and age groups. There were 35,000 more girls than boys taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme this year, for instance.

We don’t see this change as something that should be feared. We see it as a huge opportunity for growth. The brands and organisations that consider women, diversity, sustainability and inclusion in their marketing plans will be the winners. Choosing influencers who have a genuine passion for the outdoors, bringing energy and dynamism to the sector, rather than selecting someone that fits the right demographic or dress size.

We need to get more inclusive on the ground, too. To use the collective knowledge of the Outdoor Industry Association’s 200 member organisations to educate new participants and help them enjoy our great outdoors skilfully, safely and without judgement. Nobody likes to be the new person in the class. We need to engage and empower different groups to ensure they feel like the countryside is for them, not just fleece-wearing fifty-year-olds.

Image 2

This new consumer and marketplace will inevitably bring in new competitors. Companies, large and small, need to be ready to face those challenges. At the Foundry, we’ve already started working with the Outdoor Association Industry and helped them kick off the conference with a brand film. Their long-term vision to ‘Get More People Active Outdoors’ is an ambition we’re also fuelling for GM Moving, getting more people in Manchester engaged in physical activities.

Hearing from keynote speakers like Tracey Crouch CBE, Carly Czuba, Kate Dale, Bex Band, Anita Kerwin-Nye, Ollie Olanipekun and Tom Kay, has really helped us get to grips with what the industry needs right now. This is the perfect opportunity to grow. To think differently, find better advocates and champion new approaches. We’re ready, are you?

If you own a brand or organisation that is competing in the Outdoor Industry, and you’d like to find out how we can help you bring more ‘outsiders’ into your conversation, please get in touch. Call Hamid Abdul on 07906 208 322 or email to book a meeting.


About The Foundry

The Foundry is a strategic communications agency, based in Manchester, delivering fully-integrated marketing campaigns for B2B, B2C, public sector and healthcare clients. Compliance marketing services include qualitative and quantitative research, branding and packaging design, social media campaigns, educational websites, CPD programmes, online learning tools, in-clinic training materials, posters and patient literature.

For more information, please call 0161 926 8444.