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Yeti on how setting out the perfect year ahead is bolstering brand engagement

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By The Drum | Editorial

November 30, 2023 | 7 min read

Outdoor brand Yeti set about creating the perfect year to build consumer engagement online and give their customers bigger and better ideas for 2024. The strategy paid off and not only delivered increased sales but also secured the UX Award at The Drum Awards for Digital Industries. Here is the award-winning case study.

Example of the award-winning digital work

Our team set out with a simple mission - to create a compelling and efficient way for people to get the best outdoor moments on their calendar so they could hit 2023 running. At YETI, we find that many people want to live the wild lifestyle, but simply don’t know where to start. Year in Preview threaded that needle — a custom built and designed digital experience that’s accessible and easy to use for YETI loyalists and new outdoor enthusiasts too. One of our brand pillars is making the wild more accessible to everyone.

By simply answering a few short questions, the Year in Preview tool auto-generates a 2023 calendar filled with more than 130 seasonal, outdoor events and activities curated just for your preferences. In addition to the itinerary, Year in Preview delivers a personalized video compiling the array of dynamic events you’ve customized for your year ahead, helping you visualize what’s to come. Working in partnership with our digital product partner, Code and Theory, we engineered the experience to dynamically render 635+ videos from code, so that every possible combination of events were generated with the click of a button.

YETI has grown from a hunt and fish brand selling coolers out of its founder's truck into a global outdoor D2C brand with palpable influence in a wide variety of outdoor communities. YETI invests deeply in its diverse communities, giving it a unique pulse on everything from rodeo to barbeque to snowboarding, and everything in between. That’s allowed our team to develop marketing experiences that resonate with our community, and effectively propelled YETI’s massive growth. Year in Preview is just the latest testament to YETI’s ability to create products — physical, and now digital too — that serve people in a valuable and authentic way.

YETI’s CMO, Paulie Dery, summarized it this way: “Many of the events included (in YIP) occur in some of the most beautiful locations Mother Nature has to offer, with plenty of opportunities for camping, hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. We hope Year In Preview will spark interest in these communities from newcomers and give fans encouragement to try something new in 2023.”

We’re happy to share, it accomplished that — and more. Year in Preview is the first interactive, personalized calendar of its kind, empowering people everywhere to look ahead and plan their outdoor adventures. YETI had two key goals with Year in Preview, starting with solving a tangible problem for customers by building a personalized calendar that gave them access to the best and most diverse outdoor events year round. Second, to extend the reach of the YETI brand by making a lasting impression on new audiences.

For the first goal, engagement was off the charts, with a 9% add to calendar rate. That meant there were hundreds of thousands of events added by outdoor enthusiasts everywhere. Users also averaged more than 2 minutes on Year in Preview, which is 40 seconds more than the average B2C experience (source: DataBox).

This testimonial from Camille Egdorf, Professional Fly Fishing Guide and YETI ambassador, says it all: “We always talk about “the year in review” but why not look forward? YETI’s Year in Preview does just that! It makes it simple to plan and add that extra stoke level to your upcoming year.”

For the second goal, Year in Preview delivered more than 200M impressions through press alone. From Fast Company to Travel and Leisure, Digiday, Ad Age, and more, YETI captured a massive audience across business, technology, creativity, design, and lifestyle.

Year in Preview proved truly innovative, resonating with our target audiences and driving value for YETI's business and brand — all in one.

When we first started building Year in Preview, the biggest challenge we faced was figuring out how to create an experience that felt engaging and personalized to each user, without the data that the Spotifys and Googles of the world have access to. Consider the fact that with Spotify Wrapped, you simply wake up one day, open the app, and the annual wrap of your musical listening is waiting for you.

What we quickly realized is that at YETI, we’re the ones with the data in the form of outdoor community knowledge and our vast library of branded content. Instead of showing users a summarized version of their behaviors, it would be our goal to feed users our data in order to affect their future behavior.

We started our experience with a quick, visually-engaging quiz built to capture the data necessary to curate each user’s calendar to their specific interests. Along with the calendar, we provided the stoke — serving each user with a personalized highlight reel of their year-to-come, combining their music genre of choice with the best clips from YETI’s content.

In less than four clicks, we were able to provide users with something functional and inspirational to fuel their 2023.

When you consider how Year in Preview was conceived, designed, engineered and launched in just 8 weeks, it’s clear how monumental this feat, and its impact, truly was.

YETI’s growth story is undeniably tied to its hyper-focused efforts on individual outdoor communities, like hunting, hiking, surfing and more. The brand has invested in community leads that are responsible for being the absolute best subject matter experts on each category, and specifically knowing what each audience cares most about. And whenever we’re able to showcase all of our communities in one arena is when the strength of the YETI brand is truly put on display. Year In Preview was the first time YETI could illuminate and bring together the deep and varied knowledge of our many community leads, combining fish, hunt, surf, bbq, climb, snow, ranch and rodeo — all into one experience.

The YETI brand encompasses a diverse set of pursuits and passions, and Year in Preview delivered on its brand promise of making the wild more accessible to all — giving people a tool to create the 2023 that they desired, or didn’t even know they wanted.

We're proud this work has earned industry recognition, including a Fast Company Winner for Marketing in the Innovation by Design Awards, a Webby Award for Best Website — Travel, and four Indigo Awards (Gold Winner in Website Design, Gold Winner in Branding for Travel, Gold Winner in Interactive Design, Silver Winner in Branding for Events).

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