There’s a gem of a golf and ski resort in Minnesota about 50 miles from the Canadian border and 20 miles from the nearest major grocery store. Yet summer and winter sports enthusiasts make annual pilgrimages to Giants Ridge without fail. It’s not good, it’s spectacular.
Let’s focus on golf. All 36 championship holes. Recent news:
- Golf Digest named The Quarry at Giants Ridge the No. 1 public course and No. 4 among all private and public layouts in the state, joining prestigious Interlachen Country Club and major championship host Hazeltine National in the Top Five. The Quarry also ranks one of America’s Top 35 public courses. More validation is GOLF Magazine honoring Giants Ridge as the 11th best family resort in America, higher than Disney and JW Marriott.
- Unique to courses in the state, the Finn Cycle – an electric two-wheeler on which golfers to experience a fun alternative to carts and walking – was introduced. Take it for a spin on The Quarry and The Legend’s rugged terrain.
- Extension of Giants Ridge golf-resort marketing / PR partnership with Buffalo to grow consumer awareness, sales and loyalty.
Set amongst the beauty of Minnesota’s northwoods, Giants Ridge is in Biwabik, Minnesota. The four-seasons, family-oriented resort has grown from a local ski hill (long ago) for local, day visitors to an attraction for guests from coast to coast and internationally.
Skiers revel in 35 downhill runs, more than 60km of world-class, cross-country trails (which served as Olympic training grounds) and a snow tubing park. The resort also offers miles of year-round recreation trails, including a world-renowned, expansive mountain bike trail system, water sports, unbeatable lodging, dining and shopping. Despite its remoteness, Giants Ridge is an easy one-hour drive from Duluth and three hours from the Twin Cities.
It’s difficult to excel in one sport, let alone two. Well, Cassie Larrabee has accomplished that feat with a low (sort of) golf handicap and all-around softball prowess. A Manager at Buffalo Agency the past six years, she also boasts immense knowledge of and a keen eye for golf fashion. Moreover, Cassie is super fun, witty and committed to helping advance clients’ businesses.
- Cranberry sauce or stuffing? By process of elimination, cranberry sauce gives me a weird, chunky “Jello” vibe.
- TV binging – “I am Beyoncé always.” If you know, you know.
- I love ECCO –The shoes are the best, especially styles I can wear with a trendy outfit and on the golf course.
- Fantasy foursome – My dad, mom and husband. I love my golfing family!
- Buffalo is special – It’s because of the people. I’ve been in two of my teammates’ weddings parties!
- Softball glory days – My pitching arm really feels all the wear and tear of doubleheaders. Division III athletes, what-up!
- My mom Debbie – Talk about inspiration. The song “Because I’m Happy” is literally her theme song.
- Playing St. Andrews – Should be at the top of every golfers’ bucket lists. I broke 90 for the first time there… He-yo!
- Best business advice – Remember your “why.”
- Perspective on life – Keep close the things that matter most.
- Big ideas – I think I have a new App concept every week.
- Marketing is my calling – Being creative, keeping you on your toes and making a brand come alive is just half the fun.
- My dream day – Somewhere by the ocean sounds good.
- If I could change the world – Let’s not get too political here.
- Favorite color – Reverting to elementary school Ice Breakers. Turquoise!
- Work hard, play hard – Girls just want to have fuh-un.
- Fab five in Hollywood – Let’s change that to the fab two. The Hemsworth brothers to be exact.
- I like my eggs – Poached. Eggs benny with a side of mimosa is #brunchgoals.
- Top sports teams – Weird allegiances forever catch me grief. Go, Cowboys, Orioles and Hokies.
- Parting wisdom – Does YOLO count?
Big Buffalo News
I love it when a plan comes together.
Our Buffalo Groupe recently acquired 54 Brands, the Charlotte-based marketing company with a celebrated history in golf and adjacent industries. It joins Rawle Murdy (based in Charleston and acquired by Buffalo in May) and Buffalo Agency (established as Buffalo Communications in 1991) on our roster.
The trio combines to advance our leading marketing platform that connects brands to the golf lifestyle through amazing content that drives action. Buffalo also owns “Morning Read,” the daily golf newsletter with news and opinions from famous golf writers, as well as companion “Where to Golf Next” and “The Equipment Insider” weekly digital publications.
54 Brands brings a complementary, distinct set of capabilities and 20 years’ experience in the golf industry, especially in the area of B2B marketing. Its work for Club Car, Golf Channel / GolfNow, MacGregor, National Golf Foundation, Pinehurst Resort, Softspikes, Shark Experience (GN Media) and other brands has captured numerous awards. Offerings range from top-level marketing and business strategy, field marketing support and turnkey management of brands’ presences at trade shows, including the PGA Merchandise Show, Golf Industry Show and CMAA World Conference.
Industry veteran Jack Burris remains president of 54 Brands and joins the Buffalo Groupe Executive Committee as a managing director. The agency is now be known as “54 Brands, a Buffalo Groupe Company.”
“We excel at getting granular with data that informs how we purposefully separate brands from market clutter,” says Burris. “That causes meaningful brand-buyer interactions which build trust, intent to purchase and, ultimately, sales – it’s tremendously gratifying to help grow clients’ businesses.”
There are no certainties in life. However, data can help to forecast how 2019 holiday shopping will likely be conducted. Not surprisingly, it’s increasingly digital. That’s good news for marketers who are set up to attract and engage consumers with amazing content. But the power of words, images and video cannot succeed by their lonesome. Without bolstering SEO, SEM, social, website, e-mail and related executions, opportunity cost is assured.
- Reports predict more than half U.S. online sales will originate on mobile devices. Laptops are cumbersome to always carry everywhere. People are busy and conveniently grab time to shop on the go from their palms. Mobile commerce hovers around 60% during the holidays in the Eastern hemisphere. It’s reported that 8.5% of Black Friday and Cyber Monday mobile traffic originates via social channels.
- Americans largely suffer from a “Last Minute Larry” plague. They’re likely to start shopping after the December 15 regular shipping deadline. That’s why, despite too few parking spots at many malls, the click-and-collect trend is poised to significantly grow. Buy online, then pick up gifts in store.
- Amazon will approach 45% of all holiday sales either direct from the behemoth (15% in 2018) or with third-party sellers on the Amazon marketplace (26%). Shoppers are conditioned to efficiently check out products at Amazon for price comparisons, deep selections, speedy delivery, a lenient return policy and overall trust.
With so much on the line come December giving, why maintain digital status quo?
On the Board
When it comes to the environment, we’re talking about healthy living. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
As such, I’m proud to be the newest Board of Directors member of Audubon International, the global leader in promoting eco-sensitivity. The 32-years-young organization works closely with communities, developments, resorts, hotels and golf courses in 36 countries to plan and implement sustainable natural resource management practices. Its training and resources are second to none.
Audubon International’s certification program has long been the gold standard of sound environmental stewardship where people work, live and play. It centers on practices in six key areas: environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, outreach and education, chemical use reduction, water conservation and water quality management.
If you’re a golf course, country club, resort or community, I urge you to join Audubon International. It’s a steal of a deal and the impact is meaningful. Just ask the 3,000-plus members who are community pioneers.