What's 'Siberian Unicorn'?
Updated: Sep 10, 2019
Everyone knows what a unicorn is, right? A one-horned horse that is either a childish and silly, imaginary character or -- at the other end of the spectrum -- a mystical, transformational figure that walked the earth long before humans. Either way, no one really thinks of them as real, or if so, only as a rhinoceros that someone bumped into after hitting the peyote.
And then, a few years ago, it happened. Someone found one! Archeologists were poking around in Siberia (as they do) and they unearthed a single-horned, horse-like creature that at once seemed like it must have been strong, fast, badass and kind of homely. It was all of these things and also a creature that existed alongside people. So, in fact, this mystical, imaginary, and all-the-stuff-of-imagination thing was actually something real. The Siberian unicorn.
In any event, all of this came to me when I was talking to my friend Tom Lillig. We were having an extended navel-gazing session about our work in PR and marketing and, then, my own side-gig in directing trail races. I was trying to make sense of it all, really. We were talking about how people really craved real experiences, things they could touch and feel, and how this craving was growing as the world was becoming more digital. People were gravitating towards live music, or Spartan races, or ultrarunning as they spent more and more time on Facebook, or Twitter, or even Amazon. Tom brought up the Siberian unicorn because it was all over Twitter at the time. People were fascinated because -- presto! -- unicorns were real, and it was a great thing to tweet about. We thought it was a great metaphor. It is.
So that brings us to now. For the last 10 years or so, Scena Media has done this kind of mixed bag of work that always has put us at the intersection of digital and live activity. For every website we have built or social media campaign we've pieced together, the secret has always been tying it all to real things -- events, celebrations, outdoor challenges. This all comes out in the Projects on this website. We'd create something like a digital reading experience that millions of kids would use but the thing they really cared about was that we might show up at their school with WWE. Since that talk with Tom, though, we've gone deeper and deeper into making experiences, especially athletic ones as Scena Performance.
So, how do you connect someone stumbling around on the Palisades above Calistoga with someone seeing a Facebook ad or a short video or a cool website? You just can't have one without the other. That's how. At least that how I explain to myself why we've spent more time making our own outdoor events, like Dick Collins Firetrails and Sonoma Women's Triathlon as we have anything else. And here's the "why:" when you create one of these events, you literally never know what's going to happen. Every time, someone comes up to me and describes some kind of incredible experience that catches me totally by surprise -- and it's always good.
And all of this has led me back to Siberian Unicorn. I have always used the rhino as part of the logo for our events because I felt like that was my spirit animal. In the same way, I think the Siberian unicorn is my new one, and the one for my company. It doesn't exactly make sense in business terms, but it does to me. The Siberian unicorn exists as the edge of the real and the imaginary, a symbol of something strong and even a little mind-boggling. Powerful in body and mind and for it as well. And in that way, the Siberian Unicorn as a name is what we're striving for in our Events and our Projects.
Maybe it doesn't exactly make sense in this moment. But, you know -- people always want you to be one thing or another. Something simple and easy to describe. An 'elevator pitch' about yourself. Your brand. Life is never that tidy and easy to explain, at least not to me. So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Welcome to the era of the Siberian Unicorn.