Von Trapp Family Forges Social Media Connection

“The ways we connect with others will be around forever, even though Facebook and Twitter may not be,” according to Jeff Keni Pulver, organizer of the BRANDSconf held in New York on Thursday. The conference explored the humanization of brands and emphasized the importance of engaging and listening to customers.

Pulver developed a unique format of having several diverse speakers present for ten minutes each instead of his earlier conference agendas that offered different tracks with breakout sessions. He said, “Each session was not attended by enough people, so I wanted to bring back the common shared experience for everyone.”

The human connection with brands was highlighted and shared by speakers Sam von Trapp, director of operations at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont and Rich Nadworny, owner and digital strategist at the lodge’s agency, Digalicious. Von Trapp is the grandson of Baron and Maria von Trapp who were featured in the classic movie The Sound of Music.

“Though the von Trapp brand already had a personal dimension, one of their challenges was how to keep the family’s story alive,” Nadworny noted. Von Trapp eventually returned to work at the Trapp Family Lodge after an earlier career in the ski industry. An outdoor enthusiast, he often recounted wildlife stories to the lodge’s guests in person, but wanted to share these experiences with a broader audience. Nadworny suggested telling the stories via email and social media.

The stories generated a large following and positive reaction, “both from hardcore Trapp Family Lodge fans as well as from The Sound of Music fans,” Nadworny reported. In response, “Meet the von Trapps” package tours were created for those who wanted to wander the grounds and learn more about the family’s history. The tours were offered in the off-season and became popular.

The evolution from social channels to a more personal connection was described by von Trapp. He said, “Now I set aside time to reply to people and I’ve developed an ongoing dialogue with them.” He added, “At first the family was not sure if social media was the best method to reach people, and we feared it would be too impersonal, but it has enabled us to draw more people into our world.”

[Image via IMDB.]