Calling all adventurers: BeAlive Inc brings outdoor storytelling to life

Capturing everything from the dirt on your face, the wind in your hair and the adrenaline in your veins – this Midland based media company is on the rise in a big way. With a lens on purpose-driven content and highlighting the stories of those living their dreams outdoors, BeAlive Inc continues to grow its impact in the outdoor world from right here in Michigan.

Simply put, their job is capturing that thing – the thing that rockets you up and out of bed before your alarm goes off. It’s different for everyone, incredibly personal and often inspiring.

BeAlive connects the human experience in the outdoors.

While BeAlive was founded in 2017, the roots of the company started long before, stemming from the work of brothers Chris and Casey Keefer and outdoor enthusiast and visionary Jason Brown, with efforts dating back to 2001 in various capacities. They have since expanded to include several focus areas, brands and people. In the growth, Brown now works as head of production and Chief Creative Officer.

At the heart of it – regardless of content type, sport, or location – the company is a tight-knit band of storytellers. Their subject matter often transcends any sport or adventure to focus on one thing – the human experience outdoors. Driven by nature, BeAlive Inc. is passionate about inspiring adventurers of all shapes, sizes and abilities to live their best life outside.

“There’s always vacancy for a 1 BR with million-star reviews. You've just gotta get out and find it.” – BeAlive

That aspect of storytelling takes many forms – from blog posts, to videos, to partnerships with ambassadors who are just as passionate about outdoor adventure as they are.  BeAlive ambassadors include survivalist Jim Bairdworld-renowned fly fisherman Jeff Currier, and fly fishing guide Maddie Brenneman among others.

Ambassadors are nice as the brand grows, but more than that, you’ll also find a heap of everyday, extraordinary adventurers on their social media feeds who are just as passionate, like Kirstie Ennis, this little guy and even the daily challenges of babysitting this local neighbor’s puppy.

At the heart of it – regardless of content type, sport, or location – the company is a tight-knit band of storytellers.

One of the drivers of growth that BeAlive has experienced has been the tremendous jump in purposeful brand storytelling across all industries. A recent Harris Poll study of more than 500 marketers noted the stray from traditional methods, towards the expectation for companies to have, actively practice and share their broader mission and purpose.

Jason Brown, head of production at BeAlive, Inc.

“It’s been shown many times that the traditional concept of brands talking about who they are is dead,” says Brown.

“The industry is now a place where consumers care about and want to see brands putting their values into action, whether that is sustainability or current social issues. From that perspective, consumers expect to feel an inspiring ethos, a strong point of view and to actually see brands put a stake in the ground on where they stand on key issues.”

The company works extensively with big-name adventure brands like The Outdoor Channel, The History Channel, GoPro and many more.

That expansion was part of the reason for opening the company's new studio space in Midland last year. BeAlive works extensively with big-name adventure brands like The Outdoor Channel, Travel Channel, GoPro and many more. Their continued growth was a catalyst for the studio expansion, plus it makes sense that a group of hardcore outdoor enthusiasts have the appropriate daily inspiration – like the climbing wall that spans a portion of the new studio, or the large game mounted throughout the space, all acquired on expeditions by the BeAlive team.

The new studio space isn’t the only thing in the works for this band of adventurers. BeAlive has a few other projects on deck as the company grows. BeAlive Threads will be the company’s line of apparel and merchandise. And in step with the company’s mantra of capturing the stories of those living their best life outside, BeAlive will soon be looking to offer experiential travel opportunities as well. From large events, corporate travel, to smaller adventure-travel experiences with adrenaline and awe-seeking consumers, the expedition side of the business is in the works too.

Simply put, their job is capturing that thing – the thing that rockets you up and out of bed before your alarm goes off.

The entire BeAlive team includes more than 30 people from production gurus to digital content experts – and both their rise and mission has made it possible to draw some significant industry talent, like adventure industry veteran Zachary Green, who brings extensive production experience from CBS’s Survivor, Discovery Channel’s American Chopper and Out of the Wild, Animal Planet’s Raw Nature and History Channel’s Top Shot, among others.

For Green, now the Chief Content Officer of BeAlive Studios, the draw to Michigan was part career move and part of what the state had to offer. With a resume full of notable programs under his belt, the appeal of a company with a purpose like BeAlive was easy. What took him by surprise was the amenities that Michigan had to offer.

BeAlive captures the daily dose of woo.

“When considering the next career moves and possibly relocating, Michigan wasn’t even on our radar initially,” says Green. “People from outside of the region don’t realize all that the state has to offer, from experiences to the natural resources at our fingertips.”

For BeAlive newcomer and Michigan newbie Keegan Ziemer, it was the company’s thirst to take on a movement and true brand identity that drew him from Colorado to serve as head social media producer.

Ziemer, who grew up in nearby Wisconsin, had never actually been to Michigan before, but had worked with BeAlive on a few contracts prior to taking the role. He finally made the jump in November 2018.

Keegan Ziemer, head social media producer at BeAlive Inc.

The move has proved to be a positive one, both personally and professionally for Ziemer, who adventures with his golden retriever as often as possible in his down time.

“So far, it’s been amazing. I’ve never felt like I couldn’t present even the most off the wall idea I’ve had here at BeAlive,” says Ziemer. “When you have the collaboration and teamwork at a level like this, things are bound to take off. It has also sparked my interest in adventure sports like paragliding and skydiving.”

Michigan has been a welcoming adventure as well for Ziemer, noting that his family should have traveled the state growing up. He compares it to a blend of his home state of Wisconsin, with the outdoor adventures reminiscent of what he had in Colorado.

That aspect of storytelling takes many forms – from blog posts, to videos to partnerships with ambassadors who are just as passionate about outdoor adventure as they are.

“So far, we’ve enjoyed checking out both of the state’s coasts, many rivers and spent some time in the Upper Peninsula,” says Ziemer. “I can’t believe I never spent any time here growing up.”

Coming from a hunting and fishing background, something that has surprised him in working with the company’s breadth of outdoor enthusiasts has been getting to experience the inclusivity of the outdoor community.

“Working with adventurers of all types at BeAlive, it has been really great to see how much community and knowledge sharing there is in the broader outdoor world,” says Ziemer. “Often times, hunting and fishing is marked by hiding your favorite spots, so it has been great to experience the learning culture and people who want to share their knowledge with others.”

Inside the BeAlive Studios in Midland, Michigan.

With so much enthusiasm for storytelling, BeAlive Inc is one to watch as they make their mark capturing moments of awe and adventure outside.

For more stories from BeAlive Inc, visit their website or social media links or check out adventures of all kinds with #GoBeAlive.

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Courtney Soule.

Courtney is a longtime Midland resident and enjoys telling the story of the community's evolution. She ran Catalyst Midland as the publication's managing editor from October 2017 through September 2020. Her favorite topics are interesting people, change makers, outdoor recreation and design. Aside from Catalyst, her published work can be found various places including Elephant Journal, Thought Catalog and a number of other websites, papers, menus and the occasional one-liner.