When your audience is composed of eco-minded adventurers, it helps craft a brand narrative that relates to these mindful consumers. Seattle-based production company Motofish has worked hard to produce outdoor lifestyle imagery centered on stories that can connect with individuals in a meaningful way. This approach was essential to building the visual identity of Hest, a new camping mattress company looking to revolutionize how we sleep under the stars.
We wanted to build an authentic brand that is not “here today and gone tomorrow,” and that can also appeal to consumers in an already crowded market.
Motofish photographer Chris Cumming connected with Hest founder Aaron Ambuske through their sons, who play sports together in the neighborhood where they both reside. While Aaron has worked in the outdoor industry for many years, Hest was a new venture and he relied heavily on Motofish’s production team to help craft the brand’s narrative.
He was looking for more than just a production company and more than just a photographer. He wanted one company where he could create all the branding for Hest.
Hest’s name is taken from the Greek goddess Hestia — who ruled over the home and hearth — as a way to inspire people to take the comforts of home into the wild. As the team began to storyboard content and product imagery, Motofish wanted to speak to the types of experiences that this product could open for individuals of all ages, abilities, and lifestyles.
Part of our thinking was that this is a product that makes being outdoors as comfortable as sleeping on your home mattress.
People invest all their time and resources into activities like mountain biking but then sleep in the cars, making it harder for them to appreciate the activity itself.
Because Motofish has centered their work around outdoor photography, they wanted to create concepts that strayed away from typical active lifestyle imagery. Instead choosing to capture authentic moments, like when a subject is tired and cold, all bundled up in their sleeping bag.
We wanted to make sure that the shoots we were doing were more than just action photography. We wanted them to have more of a story behind them.
One shoot took place in the picturesque Moab desert, where a group of women gathered for a mountain biking weekend. While Motofish feels that this location has been overused, they took the opportunity to stage the shoot around the experience of three friends, capturing the moments where the trio laughed while singing to Taylor Swift.
I don’t know if there is an outdoor brand that exists that hasn’t done a mountain biking shoot at Moab, so we made it a girl’s trip to bring originality to the concept.
The team staged the Hest mattress in a variety of ways, having the subjects sit on top of it or flip it over to use as a prep table. In addition to creating a meaningful brand narrative, the client also wanted product imagery that could speak to their product’s features. Motofish balanced the needs of the client within the context of the story to ensure the images felt cohesive.
It challenged our creativity to tell the story of the brand while also introducing people to a new product.
For the other shoot, Motofish didn’t travel as far, instead opting to stage a father-daughter winter surfing trip on the Washington coast. They played with the idea that the mattress offered possibilities for families to connect and engage outside their homes. And while the snowy weather was a risk for Motofish’s equipment, it did little to dampen their spirits.
We had a freakish three-day snowstorm, which is unusual in Washington, but it turned the shoot into much more of an adventure than it already was!
Throughout their careers, the team at Motofish has been fortunate to work with many clients who utilize their branding to tell the story of who their audience is. Motofish seeks to understand the core of why a consumer needs a product and they use that to drive the creative direction for the shoot. Their ability to create a visual narrative that speaks to the human experience aids companies like Hest in building a strong brand proposition.
More than just shooting interesting images, we had reasons for each shoot. I learned in this project how to advocate for a slower, more meaningful start to create a brand identity that was distinct and authentic.