Questival: Inside the marketing genius that is Cotopaxi's.

Author:Foreman, Kelsie

There I was, scaling up the side of a mountain at 5:30 in the morning. It was a chilly 24-degree morning in October, and I was wearing woefully inadequate shoes. Along with two of my best friends, I was participating In Cotopaxi's annual Questival-a 24-hour adventure race that dares teams as large as six to complete as many challenges as possible, in an effort to earn points and compete with other teams across the state of Utah.

I had first heard of Questival when an ad popped up on my Instagram feed during the summer of last year. The promotion showed a group of friends ecstatically smiling while posing with a "Do Good" flag in the streets of downtown Salt Lake City. I had recognized Cotopaxi's logo on the flag-my favorite hiking socks are made by the company--and I was instantly intrigued. When I learned that the event was referred to as a "scavenger hunt like no other," I didn't even think twice about registering. Soon, I also had two good friends along for the ride.

Building A Customer Base

In the months leading up to the race, I was put in touch with Flip Chavez, the director of event marketing at Cotopaxi. I was full of questions regarding the event, and through conversation, Mr. Chavez told me that the first Questival race took place in Salt Lake City and acted as the company launch for the outdoor retailer in 2014.

Back then, registration for the event was a mere $10--as opposed to the $35 fee for registration this year--and included the same Cotopaxi-branded daypack that I received for participating. Event planners at Cotopaxi even promised an epic concert and a blinged-out finishers medal after their first-ever 24-hour race had come to a close. "The first Questival was in April of 2014," says Mr. Chavez "this was about eight months before my time with the company. The team wanted to create an experience with challenges that embodied who we are as a company."

And they've beautifully managed to do just that. While some companies struggle to create marketing campaigns or themes that truly symbolize the culture of their company, Cotopaxi nails it right on the head. And as a participant, I felt it immediately. With race day totems required for participation emblazoned in Cotopaxi's logo and "Do Good" slogan as well as event challenges that inspire participants to explore their state while giving back to the community, Cotopaxi makes every part of this event an incredible representation of their company as a whole while marketing their...

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