Mythology, while helping clients around the country build belief in their business through advanced strategic marketing services, is based in the small, somewhat quirky state of West Virginia. It’s an amazing place, close to a huge percentage of the U.S. population, yet still somewhat isolated enough to retain a uniqueness of place and culture.
We at Mythology love this place, especially the tight-knit mountains that hug people into tight-knit families and communities. Yet we’re keenly aware of its economic and social struggles. Although we’re West Virginia natives, we’ve spent enough time living in larger cities like New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and Atlanta to be cognizant of how far behind a rural state like West Virginia can be in modern cultural amenities and digital expectations.
We’re very active in a movement called Create WV, and we find ourselves dreaming of ways to spark opportunity here through a daily exercise of generating “crazy ideas.”
I remember driving to West Virginia as my family moved back home in 2005. Driving down the interstate through misty mountains, we talked about the impact of outside influence on West Virginia: outside landowners who haven’t had the state’s best interests at heart; coal companies headquartered in places like Richmond, VA, who have such heavy influence on the politics of the state; media from New York who have always painted an unflattering picture of us from the early days of Hatfield-McCoy feuds.
Not surprisingly, many West Virginians are a bit suspicious of outsiders who have “come to help.”
Crazy idea: What if the future success of the state – its image, its opportunities, its long-awaited break – was in fact sparked by an outside influence; but this time, one with common goals, values and a need to reshape its own image? What if a partner came calling with something of great value to West Virginia, and needed our help as much as we needed theirs?
Is there a partner out there who would value West Virginia’s wild, wonderfulness? Who would see opportunity in our rugged terrain, instead of obstacles? Who respected and even embraced West Virginia’s community and family values, patriotism and tendency to help a stranger?
Who could it be? ESPN and the X Games? Disney? REI?
On November 18, 2009, the Boy Scouts of America announced a $200+ million investment in a new national scouting center and High Adventure Base in the New River Gorge region of West Virginia. The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve (“The Summit”) is scheduled to open on 10,600 acres for the 2013 National Jamboree. Well over 100,000 Scouts and their families will visit our humble state, have a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and hopefully (that’s up to us) the positive buzz will build.
Sometimes, crazy ideas become reality. The Summit is Disney meets the X Games meets REI.
Mythology is very honored, along with lead digital content agency WELD (also based in West Virginia), to be on the core marketing team for building The Summit brand and marketing engine, and to develop the long-term brand implications The Summit represents for all of BSA.
The Boy Scouts are a venerable American brand, one of the top twenty non-profit brands in the world. As American as Coca Cola and apple pie, yet facing many challenges in membership and image in today’s high-tech, X Box, extreme sports, “helpful is hokey” culture.
Things are about to change in a major way for the Boy Scouts of America and West Virginia. We’ll be exploring the implications of partnerships, brand transformation, cultural shift and many other issues as this project progresses.
Crazy idea: the Boy Scouts and West Virginia could be redefining cool, outdoor action sports and healthy lifestyles for boys and girls in the near future.