How I Bicycled My Way to Better Branding
By Glen McDermott | Notes from the Rock
Growing up in Australia, I fancied myself an early explorer temporarily based in the new frontier town of Canberra. I spent hours drooling over maps and reading of faraway exotic lands, planning my exit.
The world atlas was my bible.
That's me on the back.
My quest for adventure multiplied when I got my first bicycle for my 10th birthday. Suddenly, my ability to escape my siblings went from five miles on foot to 20 miles on my bike.
I bonded with those two wheels, and together we went places on the roads less travelled. Short tours around Australia and Tasmania led to extended rides throughout Southeast Asia.
These trips were transformational.
Mount Nemrut, Turkey
Riding 100+ miles a day gets you in great shape, so I arrived at these places in the height of wellness and full of gratitude.
I had made a huge personal effort to travel, inspiring openness and appreciation in most everyone I met. I had invested in getting to their town.
On a bike, you are unprotected, exposed, and vulnerable, and vulnerability is the ultimate human connector. The people I met wanted to know my story, and they wanted to tell theirs. It’s the ancient exchange of travelers —a precious global currency and I have plenty.
From the Buddhist temples of Indonesia to the remote goat herder camps along the Russian border, I was warmly received by complete strangers over and over, everywhere I went.
We shared stories. We communicated across language barriers. This kind of true human connection is hard to achieve when you travel tucked away in planes and cars.
Bagan, The ancient capital of Burma (Myanmar)
Mountain ranges are daunting obstacles on a bike tour. But if taken one visible stretch at a time, it's doable.
Slow and steady.
Not only does reaching a mountain summit on two wheels give an immense sense of accomplishment, it offers an awesome view of the world and an appreciation for what is humanly possible. This has been one of my biggest takeaways from the many countries and ranges I have ridden.
Anything is possible!
Throughout these bicycle trips, I served on marketing teams for Australia’s Country Road, Metro in Singapore, The Limited in the U.S., and other Fortune 500 companies. But those miles changed me. I wanted to do something more meaningful, more healthy, and more authentic. I knew I had to leverage my creativity and deep well of gratitude to help people live better and more meaningful lives.
The Blue Mosque, Istanbul
I now had a responsibility to apply my skills in creating ideas, images, and video to build a better world. I wanted to support the companies and organizations that are part of the solution.
Slow and steady.
And so Red Rock was born here in New Haven, Connecticut.
Red Rock takes the corporate world’s best marketing practices and applies them to nonprofits, health and wellness initiatives, and small to mid-sized businesses. We tell our clients’ stories with compassion, empathy, and authenticity, key ingredients for effective communication and a connected customer base.
WHY RED ROCK?
The vast featureless plains of the Australian Outback lead to a massive red sandstone rock.
Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock or simply “The Red Rock,” is Australia's iconic spiritual center. This monolithic sandstone feature rises out of the desert, an icon to be seen from miles around. It’s a gathering place for local tribes, an oasis and a focal point of their ancient storytelling.
The Red Rock is everything a good brand needs to be.