Q & A with King Eider Communications CEO Dena Vick
Megan Plete Postol 02.17.22
Dena Vick was a power player in the outdoor industry long before she founded her own communications agency last year. King Eider Communications, named after the ornately adorned King Eider duck, has hit the ground running. She has worked with top brands – Shimano, Smith’s Consumer Products, and more – crafting the brands’ messaging and managing communications efforts. All Outdoor (AO) caught up with Vick (DV) in January, fresh off her return from SHOT Show, to pick this outdoor industry PR dynamo’s brain.
AO: Tell me about King Eider Communications
DV: King Eider Communications is a full-service public relations and marketing agency. By full-service, I mean we are content creators—written and visual, we bring products to market, plan media events, manage media buys, etc. If I had to offer one word, It would be integration. King Eider Communications integrates marketing and communication efforts. This is on our website but it really explains the jest of it:
“We build awareness and revenue for outdoor brands through strategic storytelling and compelling content. We are outdoor enthusiasts, which empowers us to provide our partners with consummate experience and authenticity. We excel at optimizing organic resources and ad spend to deliver results where they matter most—the bottom line.”
AO: What have been some of your favorite projects?
DV: Media events and product launches are always fun. This year we’ve hosted events in Fort Worth, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida. During these events I enjoy spending time with writers, editors, pros and our clients.
AO: What has been surprising about that role of founder?
DV: I was surprised at the warm welcome I received from the industry. You always have to wonder if there is room for another public relations company and how will the industry receive a new company. I also didn’t know if being a female would create any barriers but it has not. I’m treated as an equal amongst my colleges and peers. I’m fortunate to work in this industry and with great people.
AO: What was the inspiration to start King Eider Communications?
DV: I’ve worked in a number of roles during my career—brand manager, marketing director, communications director, etc. In each of these roles, I hired and worked with various agencies in several capacities. What I noticed was almost always missing was the writing and storytelling. They would want you to spend more on the creative design than on the actual media spend. I was constantly asking for native content and media relations but ended up taking care of it with my team. When I decided to start my agency, I wanted first and foremost to provide content creation and extemporary media relations. As a marketing director, you often get pulled in a number of directions and taking calls from the media, sending out samples, and spending hours on the phone pitching new products and product stories can get pushed down the priority list. When King Eider comes on board, we become an extension of their marketing and communications team.
AO: How has the business evolved?
DV: We just hit our one-year anniversary. We started out with two owners and a couple of writers. We are now a team of five with several writers on board. Part of this growth included added video production to our menu of services. We also started out with clients in the fishing industry but now work in hunting, housewares, fishing and outdoor sports.
AO: What keeps you going?
DV: My team, partners and an exciting industry. It’s a very exciting time for outdoor sports, especially fishing. There are quite a lot of new anglers that have entered the sport since the onset of COVID. There are new companies being formed, several companies being acquired and many new technologies incorporated into existing products offering better performance. My team is great. They are excited about the market and the products and partners we represent. There’s no lack of motivation and the best way to keep a positive attitude is to surround yourself with positive, successful people.
AO: DV: What is something people probably don’t know about you?
DV: I love to garden and ride my bike in my down time. I’m an avid hunter and angler.
AO: What else is important to note/include?
DV: I’m trying to do my part to prepare our future leaders. It’s important to teach young adults entering the workforce about our industry. There are a lot of young people that want to work in our industry but don’t know how or where to start. Our industry can be very intimidating. For example, it’s one thing to say, “I grew up bass fishing so I know fishing.” The job in the fishing industry can include anything from tackle to electronics. There are regions, species, tactics, tools, tackle, line, electronics, watercraft, nearshore, inshore, offshore, open water and hard water, and so on. I hire several interns and do my best to teach them what they need to know to be successful in outdoor industry careers. I work with them on their writing skills and put them in positions that compliment what they are studying in school. I do my best to teach them what what won’t learn in school and shorten the learning curve they will experience in their first job. I hope most of them will stick with me after graduation, but if they don’t, they will be a great asset to the company that hires them.