Dan Hirsch

Founder & CEO On Board Experiential Marketing Sausalito, CA

As the world becomes increasingly digital, On Board’s rapid growth relies on face-to-face connection

I started this company 20 years ago to create live experiences that people would want to attend. It began with fusing my two passions together: music and snowboarding. We created the first on-mountain music and pro-snowboarding events. From there, we just kept dreaming up crazier experiences—events that would grab people’s attention and capture their imagination—including building the first snowboard jump in the middle of summer in Austin, Texas, bringing in 150 tons of snow to make it happen.

Since then, we have always taken the approach that nothing is impossible and kept an open mind to what experiential marketing could mean, especially as the world became increasingly digital. Today, our business is built on creating lasting, memorable, and shareable live experiences for our clients that can be leveraged across any platform.

In fact, the rise in social and digital media has fueled incredible growth for On Board, because it’s given people the ability to take these amazing experiences, share them with their entire network, and ultimately, provide greater reach and ROI for our clients. 

The Nike Women’s Marathon, for example, has been going on for the past decade and continues to expand across the country. The race has evolved into the largest women’s running event in the world and is now the most digitally connected race, spurring millions of conversations globally. It is even the largest single fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, with over $150 million raised.

I have seen this industry grow up since I started. “Experiential” used to mean popping up a tent and handing out coupons, but now, brands are starting to understand that they need to get face to face, make a personal connection with their consumers, and basically break through the clutter. Attendance at live events is going up, which to me is an indication that the basic need for direct interaction has only grown. The more digital the world gets, the greater the demand and need to go out and have true live experiences. Marketers are getting keen to that and know that making strong, lasting, memorable connections with their consumers takes more than a traditional campaign.

I want On Board to be known as the place to come for truly integrated live and online experiences. We believe that people love to share a story. We integrate our brands into events that make for great stories that consumers want to share with their friends and ultimately, with the world.