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Backbone Media celebrates its silver anniversary

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Backbone Media is celebrating 25 years of success by innovating for tomorrow. Originally established as a public relations agency representing outdoor lifestyle brands such as Black Diamond Equipment and Polartec, Backbone Media desired to provide meaningful career opportunities and work-life balance to the active Carbondale community. Today, they are delivering on that initiative as one of Carbondale’s largest employers. Backbone Media splits its 135-person strong workforce into three equal parts, with hybrid work environments offered in its Carbondale and Denver offices and fully-remote employees working from across the United States.

After 18 years with the company, Greg Willams was recently promoted to president of Backbone Media. Working from the Carbondale office on Fourth and Colorado, Williams told The Sun, “We want to make the right investments in our business. We want to integrate the right technology. We want to make the strategic hires we need to make to be competitive.”

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During his tenure, Williams has helped upscale the company’s business and transitioned the agency from traditional print media to the company’s present 80% digital landscape. Now more than a PR agency, Backbone Media also specializes in strategic media buying with a dedicated data analytics team evaluating the outcomes of clients’ digital campaigns. Williams said, “The pace and cadence of change within digital media almost require most brands now to work with a digital media agency.”

From its boutique roots, Backbone Media has amplified its expertise to contend with the dominant city agencies for brands like Yeti, Osprey, Chaco, Thule and Salomon. The pandemic supercharged the digital arena, enabling Backbone Media to expand its services to include social media, affiliate marketing, SEO and content marketing. Heading in the direction of full channel management and content creation, the agency has identified TikTok as an area to target the younger demographic.

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“One interesting client we have, which we do that for, is Bank of the West. We create sustainable finance TikToks: financial literacy on TikTok. Kids gotta learn somewhere,” Williams said.

In addition to TikTok, Backbone Media will spend about $75 million buying media this year from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, Hearst Media, Outside Magazine and other print and digital platforms. Backbone Media is celebrating this rapid growth by rebranding the company to accommodate a more diverse demographic. The agency’s coordinated color palette establishes a lighthearted and fun mood while relying on clean technical design elements to ground the brand in its origins.

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Williams said, “It started as a core outdoor agency, then active lifestyle. Then with rebrands, we say we are for people that want to move, people that want to travel, people that want to be active, people who don’t want to be pigeonholed into a demographic.”

Along with the change in color scheme, the contemporized logo visually represents the company’s innovative tagline, “The here and the next,” with an x representing the agency’s presence combined with an arrow indicating the company’s forward momentum.

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Williams explained, “One thing we are really looking at is what’s next. How do we remain competitive? How do we continue to deliver for our clients with changing media consumption habits, generational trends and post-COVID changes?”

Williams recognizes that Backbone Media’s achievements are rooted in its warm relationships with some of the most iconic brands in the outdoor industry and its employee cultivation. Growth remains a core value for the rebranded agency in terms of company success and employees’ opportunity for upward mobility. The agency is competitive, which involves a degree of hustle. Still, it is mindful of its lifestyle commitment to its employees by paying a living wage and building a supportive culture with flexibility that promotes work-life balance.

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“We have very low turnover relative to other agencies in the country. Therefore, we have low turnover with our clients as well. They like the consistency that we can provide,” Williams said. “We want to be telling our story 25 years from now. We are 135 hard-charging, fun individuals, and we are good friends.”

Highly quantifiable digital advertising mediums allow for the calculation of precise returns on investments for the company’s brand partners. Backbone Media invests in the future with data integrations, which enables the company to target and convert audiences at modern media’s blistering digital pace. Perpetually in motion, Backbone Media spins from here to the next with pedals underfoot, skis over shoulders and marketing in mind.

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Tags: #Backbone Media #Greg Willams #John López #media #outdoors
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