At what point does a company's growth hinder its relationship with the core audience that launched it in the first place?

It's a never-ending question in fields ranging from coffee (Starbucks) to outdoor (The North Face). Can you be big and still be accepted by the core?

This was the dilemma for Orvis when they sought our help to better understand their relationship with fly fishers. Orvis has been synonymous with fly fishing for more than 150 years and is arguably the most well known brand in the industry. However, its rapid growth over the past two decades had blurred its ability to keep pace with the changing landscape of the sport and the broadening sensibilities of the core fishing audience. And if they lost the core, then who were they? It's a common problem for many brands and our brand strategy helped them visualize a path forward.

Focus groups both in-person and online led to key insights that helped craft a way forward for Orvis fishing.

As is often the case, we started with research. Focus groups revealed that Orvis' challenges were not merely in communications but in the mixed signals they were often sending via numerous other channels including product, retail and partners such as lodges and guides. To those in the know, it often felt like two separate companies: fishing…and everything else.

Orvis' wealth of angling resources helped inform the brand strategy as tangible proof of the new brand promise.

We created a strategy and path to help fishing regain its voice within Orvis. And more importantly for the long run, perhaps better unite the various segments of the company under a singular brand premise. The strategy was artfully depicted in an internal website and consumer insight film which allowed their staff and partners across the country and globe to log-in and understand the challenge, the process we went through to address the challenge and the path forward.