Wild Rye Marketing Manager, Kami York-Feirn, sat down with the team behind Wheelie Creative's Outside By Design podcast to talk talk about finding a brand voice, tackling tough topics on social media, how to stand up for what your brand believes in and creating content that is relatable to both beginners and seasoned athletes.
Catch part of her interview below and tune into the full episode here or any podcast app.
Q: Can you tell us about your story and how you got to where you are in your career now?
A: I feel like I have a pretty unique career path in that I cultivated my position as a social media manager from scratch. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2010 with a journalism degree, and back then, the recession had just hit so there were literally zero jobs. But I'm a people person, I've known that I wanted to be a writer for a really long time, and an opportunity presented itself at my first job out of college. So I wrote my own job description and we started offering social media services for our clients. And that job turned into a job at Osprey as their social media manager for five years, and now I am currently the marketing manager at Wild Rye.
Q: What's your secret to directing a brand in the collective brand voice, but also balancing that with your personal preferences?
A: I think that is such a good question. And it's honestly pretty tough to answer, but what I will say is I think it's really important for people to work for a company that shares their same values and that they see themselves in as a brand. That's one thing that really helped me both at Osprey and Wild Rye, is they both want to get as many people outdoors as possible, and so do I; especially at Wild Rye, with the goal of getting more women on bikes. I personally discovered biking maybe six years ago and mostly was riding with men and it hasn't been really until the last year and a half that I've started riding with more women and going on group rides.
But when you're thinking about the brand side of things, you're looking at 'how do you get more women into the outdoors? How do you organize a group ride? How do you make them feel safe? How do you make this space feel welcoming?' And I think a lot of that comes from sharing the same beliefs as the brand and being on the same page there.
Q: How do you as one human woman handle the responsibility of managing marketing for an entire brand?
A: I think the funny thing about that question is from an outsider's perspective, consumers always think that marketing teams are so much bigger. And they're willing to say anything from behind a computer screen without realizing that it's probably the same person running the Instagram page as the Facebook page as the website and all of that jazz.
But I would say it's about work-life balance really and being passionate about what you do so that when you come to work, it doesn't feel like a job; It feels like your career. It feels like your passion. And now that I've moved into this role at Wild Rye, I am wearing so many more hats. That to me is exciting, where one minute I get to sit down and I'm writing Instagram captions, then the next minute I'm emailing our pro team about an event we're putting on, and then an hour later I'm working on a newsletter. I think you just kind of get into a groove and you just kind of, you do it. When you are passionate about the work that you do, it makes the daunting task of being that the voice of that brand, that much easier.
Q: How does a brand tackle the tougher topics facing our country right now?
A: I think it's hard to be a brand that is willing to stand up for what you believe in. Because when you commit to that, you're also committing to losing some customers. But in my mind, it all goes back to knowing who you are as a brand and 100% being behind that. Because I think with all the political stuff that's going on right now, you're either all in or you're all out. There's no middle ground really. And working as a marketer in this day and age, it's hard because you're always going to get criticism, regardless of what statement you make, whether you're for or against whatever you're currently talking about. I think that's the hardest part is getting everybody in your brand on board and making sure that you have a consistent message.
To learn more about finding your authentic brand voice, creating unique content and how Wild Rye is working to make the bike industry more inclusive, listen to the full episode here!