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How to Market to the Growing BIPOC Community in Outdoor Spaces

Updated: Feb 15

The outdoor industry and landscape is changing - FAST! And brands have massive growth opportunity to keep up with the changing participant base - if they want to.

"The new and young outdoor participant bases

are significantly more diverse than the total

participant base, a formula for long-term

growth in diversity for outdoor recreation"

(OIA, 2023).

The key is brand awareness and authentic connection. Diverse visual representation in your marketing assets is just a starting point, not the end goal.

The best way to do this is through grassroots marketing. Many BIPOC individuals are coming into outdoor spaces as adults - which means they rely on friends, mentors, and community leaders for gear recommendations. Realistically, community leaders will recommend the brands that are actively supporting access and educational initiatives, and the community will trust the brands that they see offering such support.

  • Build consistent and sustainable relationships with community leaders and groups. This should be a reciprocal relationship! Otherwise, it feels extractive, tokenizing, and inauthentic.

  • Create access and educational opportunities and provide financial or logistical support. You can't just add your name/logo to an event and call it even. Either you help create and support the event, or you give back to the leaders that are doing it for you.

  • There are already people out there doing valuable community work - help them make a difference! The benefits trickle down in the form of growing awareness about outdoor activities, introductory spaces to explore, and access to technical and safety knowledge and gear. There is no need to recreate the wheel and start up unsustainable initiatives.

  • Get creative! There are so many ways to partner with a variety of community and grassroots initiatives. Reach out, ask community leaders how YOU can support THEM.

When there are significant financial and social barriers to creating opportunities for the BIPOC community, real brand awareness and loyalty will grow if the brand can help address immediate community needs. Essentially, you have to show some solidarity with our personal mission and struggles. Community work is a labor of love. Brands have tremendous power to ease some of the burden - and expand their customer base along the way.

*Photos from IntsxnSurf Intro to Surf classes


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