River City Outdoors is a collective of longtime outdoor enthusiasts and leaders working to build a vibrant outdoor culture and brand in the Greater St. Louis region by connecting the community to its outdoor assets.

We worked with its steering committee to develop messaging that would best communicate their goals and work that would best represent the nuanced and multifaceted culture in St. Louis – from residents’ identities to their favorite outdoor pastimes.

Our Objectives

We started with listening sessions with the RCO team and other internal stakeholders. Then we hosted a focus group whiteboarding with members of the St. Louis community who run or lead organizations also working to address outdoor recreation for youth and people of color in the region.

The goal was to involve community members (who could potentially become River City Outdoors’ partners in this work) in the foundation of the process – not only to inform RCO’s messaging, but to also ensure that the narrative RCO amplified included the people who are currently and will continue to be most directly impacted by its work.

Our Work

Once we heard from the community focus group and synthesized their feedback, we…

  • Created a documented framework for messaging
  • Trained the RCO team on the messaging framework
  • Drafted website copy informed by the updated messaging

The Outcome

In addition to including the diverse range of outdoor experiences in their communications to attract diverse audiences, the River City Outdoors team also had to be equipped with the messaging tools to acknowledge St. Louis’s history of racial inequity that disproportionately impacts its Black residents and their ability to enjoy the outdoors in the same ways as their white counterparts.

Hearing directly from community members about what they wanted to see from an organization like River City Outdoors allowed us to create messaging and copy that included their voices and stories.