Interview by Mike Sullivan
Does your company have an Architect of Adventure? How about a Master of Monkey Business? If the answer is no then you obviously do not work for the most exciting, entertaining, and adventurous company in the entertainment industry: Red Frog Events.
Today’s interviewee, Joe Reynolds, is not only the Founder of Red Frog Events, but the Architect of Adventure as well. Red Frog Events has pioneered a new industry, combining event management, entertainment, and adventure racing to create the Active Entertainment industry. Following the immense success of their adventure running races, Great Urban Race, Warrior Dash and Beach Palooza, numerous competitors have emerged with the intentions of carving out their own niche within this new market, though Red Frog Events remains the true industry leader. Red Frog Events has created a unique racing environment in which all participants have the opportunity to challenge themselves, have fun, and celebrate their accomplishments.
Red Frog Events is not getting stuck in the event-only rut, they have branched out to one of their greatest innovations RegistratioNATION. Launched in the fall of 2009, RegistratioNATION is a provider of automated online payment processing and database management for events. This system has been successful in booking all of Red Frog’s 2010 and 2011 events, and will be released to the public in 2012 as one of the only customizable registration websites in the industry.
Red Frog Events won the Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award from the U.S. Chamber. Congratulations! What do you think made Red Frog Events stand out enough to receive this great award?
Thanks so much! Receiving this award has truly been one of our biggest accomplishments to date. After all of the hard work we’ve put into growing the business, it was very gratifying to be recognized by such a prestigious entity.
I think we received the DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year largely due to our creative work place and unique culture. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. How many offices have regular foosball competitions? At the same time, we can have fun in our office because our employees work really hard to make each and every event a huge success. Often times when people hear about all the shenanigans that go in on our office, they don’t always realize how dedicated our staff is to putting on very detailed events all over the country. We’re always changing and evolving, and it’s not easy. We’ve grown a lot in the past four years, and this award shows that we are the true pioneers of the active entertainment industry.
Tell us about your target market and what creative avenues you have used to reach this target market.
We mix the idea of a 5k race with an all-day festival – giving our customers an athletic work out, but also a social party. Due to the nature of the race, most of our participants fall into the 18 – 35 age range. At the same time, we’ve had families participate in races together, so we really reach anyone who is looking for adventure.
Word of mouth has been our most successful way to reach our target market. Once someone participates in a race, they tend to persuade their friends to join them in the next one. We are very active on social media, and we also participate in localized media outreach in each city where we hold an event.
You’re description of your office space including tree houses, sound-proof bunkers, ziplines, and beer on tap is definitely unique but obviously successful. What is it about this type of work environment that makes it work so well for a company like Red Frog Events?
When I started this company, part of my mission was to create a workplace that felt like home and to work with people who felt like family. I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve become just that. I wanted to create a work environment that was successful, but also one where people WANT to come to work and actually enjoy being there. Red Froggers may work long hours to make our company such a huge success, but we also make sure to take plenty of time out for regular team activities. If we expect people to work hard, then we should also reward them and create an environment where they want to be. We receive hundreds of job applications every day because we have a reputation for treating our employees right and having a lot of fun along the way.
Red Frog Events has grown its events from 1,194 racers in 2007 to more than 150,000 in 2010, with a projected 700,000 by the end of 2011. WOW! How have you been able to continue to grow this quickly even in an economic downturn?
We created a completely new niche for our industry. Racing events, like 5Ks and 10Ks, are becoming more and more popular. We took that idea and pushed it even one step further, turning these races into all-day events where people can relax and get a little crazy. It allows people to forget about their day-to-day responsibilities for a day and just have fun.
Your events obviously have intriguing names, Great Urban Race, Beach Palooza and Warrior Dash! Can you give us a more detailed description of what goes on during one of these events?
Great Urban Race was the first event created by Red Frog Events. Inspired by The Amazing Race, Great Urban Race is a wild urban adventure. Teams solve twelve clues and complete exciting mental and physical challenges while discovering the city in a fresh way!
Beach Palooza is a gnarly running event held on sandy shores where Paloozers get their feet wet while tackling a series of radical obstacles. As the sun sets, the stoked crowd lets loose with beer and beach tunes!
Warrior Dash is a mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run. This fierce running series is held on the most challenging and rugged terrain across the globe. Warriors conquer extreme obstacles, push their limits and celebrate with awesome music, beer and warrior helmets.
What has been the greatest challenge for Red Frog Events thus far?
Our biggest challenge has been keeping up with the company growth due to the popularity of our events, believe it or not. This past year, we actually hired 80 event coordinators to help coordinate our events! We are so pleased to be growing at such a rapid pace, but are keeping a clear focus on maintaining our unique work environment and producing top-notch events. s
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