Tell us a little about yourself. What is your role at AETHER?

I’m what I like to call a Fractional CMO. It’s an odd term but I think it’s actually a great thing — and a great resource for the current business environment. After years of working with big brands and startups alike, I came to realize almost every brand needs high-level marketing thinking to scale and transform their business but in addition, are not ready for it 100% full-time. So by me being fractional, I come in with a certain level of flexibility that allows me to really dig in and help a brand find their north star and then see through key points of execution — on a scale that’s right for the brand. At AETHER, I’ve been working closely with the team on getting the brand story out into the world — something I’ve been really enjoying as there is so much to tell, the product is so well designed and such good quality. I was actually a huge fan of the brand long before we started working together.

With an unprecedented year under our belts, how has AETHER had to evolve its marketing strategy?  What are some accomplishments you’re proud of in 2020 despite the sudden shift?

AETHER is a people-first business. Jonah and Palmer, the two founders, are salt of the earth humans who really understand the value of the team behind AETHER. The pandemic wasn’t easy for us — AETHER had been a brand that really treated our retail environments as marketing experiences and all of a sudden those were just ...gone. So we had to pivot — fast — into telling an interesting brand story online and really driving ecomm. It hasn't been easy but I think some great things have come out of it. I’m so impressed by how our teams have managed to create amazing work through different touchpoints that really speak to the personality of the brand, whether that’s our new brand campaign, which I love, the launch of the AETHER ‘Alpine Alfa’ restomod adventure vehicle or the drive-in movie experience we did mid-pandemic, allowing people to enjoy a safe but fun night out in style.

AETHER ‘Alpine Alfa’ restomod adventure vehicle outside with mountains in background

What’s been one of your favorite projects or campaigns that you’ve worked on with AETHER?

Our recent ‘You Only Get One Spin’ brand campaign is a personal favorite of mine because I think it’s so right for the brand but it also speaks to me as an individual too. I really believe that as humans, we’re restless at heart. But despite that, we can often end up in routines and monotony.

This campaign is a way of reminding people that life is short — make it count. Go out, explore, live, take the wrong turn — don’t let your clothes, or your dreams, become moth food.
Being able to have a human insight on that level but tie it back to a brand whose focus is outdoor and adventure gear is to me an amazing marriage of strategy and creativity. I’m also biased but I happen to think the execution is thumb-stoppingly beautiful. It just gets people thinking, “what is this?” and then pairs this beautiful imagery with really powerful messaging that resonates for the brand.

What are some brand ethos that you try to incorporate into each of your campaigns and what is the most rewarding part of that?

I love unlocking the potential in a brand and with AETHER the process of that has been great because there’s so much good there already. The product is amazing, from the purposeful and versatile design to the commitment to quality and longevity with our lifetime guarantee. The people are exceptional, smart, talented and community-focussed. The team really lives the product but beyond that, they are really passionate about their community and giving back so we try to include these pieces in our campaigns. This isn’t just some anonymous multinational company churning out gear and telling you a story — these are real individuals who really put their heart and soul into everything they do.

How do you think about media partnerships, and what are some reasons that you've partnered with Gear Patrol specifically?

We look at partnerships in terms of the synergies we can create with our audiences but also, from a human level too. Who are the people who have the same innate curiosity around design and adventure as we do?

For us, that’s been a big part of the relationship with Gear Patrol. We’re excited by what Gear Patrol is doing and think it’s a great place to tell our story while giving people a peek under the hood of AETHER. We also think our product is a great match for the Gear Patrol audience. I mean, if you’re going to talk about the best products to take on your adventure - well we think AETHER should be on those lists!

Do you have any gear that you can’t live or leave without?

I’ve been a fan of AETHER long before I started working at AETHER. I think the product travels so well. Right now I’m in rainy Amsterdam and have my Meridian Jacket with me which has been a lifesaver here. In LA, I’m a huge advocate of the Santo Pullover. For motorcycling, I love the Mojave Jacket and I snowboard in the Stealth Snow Jacket and pants. So it’s a little bit contingent on what I’m doing but I love the stuff. Oh, and the Down Poncho! We brought two of those on a trip recently and they were used as pillows in the car, windbreakers out on a boat and then as the best thing you could dream of putting on next to the fire pit. By the time we left I think everyone wanted one - they’re pretty cool.

Mark in AETHER snow jacket with googles outside in snow.

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