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“Enema” is to “Colon Hydrotherapy” as “Skiing” is to ________ ?

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I eat the same thing for breakfast every morning without fail: oatmeal. Since starting at Ryan Solutions in Oct 2011, I’ve gone through 25 lbs of oats. No coffee, no energy drinks, just oatmeal. A pretty healthy habit, no?

Yet, if this fact ever surfaces in conversation (especially in Colorado), I’m often scolded that I’d dare to eat “Quick, 1-Minute” rolled oats instead of the steel-cut variety. What can I say, I’m a rebel.

What’s in a Name
We live in a world of foodies. A couple decades ago, my family happily devoured a Sunday dinner of generic chicken patties from the frozen aisle. Yet last month, my sister and mother discussed the finer points of quinoa recipes during a casual evening conversation. Spend 10 minutes on Pinterest and you’ll see what I mean.

But here’s the thing, I believe this “foodie movement” is much more about the words than the flavor. It’s also much more about the mind than the palate.

People feel more intelligent, important, and elite when they talk about cooking with “organic Cotija cheese” than “store brand parmesan” even if the difference in taste is negligible (though I wouldn’t be surprised if a placebo effect comes into play as well). Wouldn’t you feel cooler ordering a Fois Gras Baguette instead of a Liverwurst Sandwich?

Not Just Food
As a marketer, when I realize the power of words and names on people’s actions, the wheels in my brain instantly shift into high gear. Think about a few other uncool things that, with little change to the actual activity, have found new life through their names:

  • Enemas as “Colon Hydrotheraphy”
  • Latin dancing as “Zumba”
  • Manual labor in a scrap yard as “Cross Fit”
  • Eating like a caveman as “Paleo”
  • Riding a stationary bike as “Spinning”

By changing the words, these brands broke through old stereotypes. The fitness industry seems to have this especially dialed. People who would never dare work construction do the same motions in the gym after their 9-5. Kinda crazy to think about.

Plutonium Dinitride Grooming Fleet
Our world loves to sound smart and ahead of the curve, so I do believe there are ways to rebrand certain resort and skiing products so that skiers not only feel better experiencing skiing but talking about those experiences.

EpicMix changed bragging rights of “days” (usually less than 100) to “vertical feet” (sometimes near 1,000,000)…
Sugarloaf made “tons” of snow instead of “cubic feet”…
Snowbird got grief about their mountain coaster plans because everyone was thinking “roller coaster” instead of “alpine slide”…

Maybe summer success isn’t about zip lines but about “Alpine TrekFit” (hiking in the mountains). Maybe winter needs to sell “Anaerobic Niegetours” (snowshoeing / skinning up the mountain at a fast clip) or “100% organic snow” (no snowmaking).

Part of this post is in jest, but part of it is dead serious…words are powerful things, so how can we use the right words to make skiing more fun to do and describe?

Skiing is great exercise, so, in our fitness focused world, why aren’t we selling those aspects of the sport? And why is corduroy groomed by a 1970’s snowcat at Mount Trashmore called the same thing as Prinoth Beast-groomed corduroy at Deer Valley?

If squirting water up your rear can become trendy and chic, something tells me there may be an opportunity here for skiing.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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