Ben Saunders

25/08/2008

Polar explorer, Motivational speaker

August 2008

Ben SaundersBen Saunders is a record-breaking polar explorer and by his own admission an "extreme blogger". From the North Pole he wrote to millions using his blog, a PDA, a matchstick and a satellite phone. While becoming the youngest person in history to walk solo to the North Pole, Ben was able to keep us up to date with the progress.

Blogs are the most diverse of digital publishing platforms. They can be harnessed by anyone, anywhere for almost any publishing reason. Ben's blogs demonstrate their power both to amplify an offline event and to make intimate connections with millions.

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Ben Saunders


Ben Saunders is a record-breaking polar explorer and by his own admission an "extreme blogger". From the North Pole he wrote to millions using his blog, a PDA, a matchstick and a satellite phone. While becoming the youngest person in history to walk solo to the North Pole, Ben was able to keep us up to date with the progress. In this edition of Digital Thought Leaders he tells how he did it.

Blogs are the most diverse of digital publishing platforms. They can be harnessed by anyone, anywhere for almost any publishing reason. Ben's blogs demonstrate their power both to amplify an offline event and to make intimate connections with millions.

We caught up with Ben in London between expeditions after following his adventures online. He runs two types of blogs: ones for the expeditions and a personal one that is rich in the background of planning a polar trip. The logistics are incredibly complex, and blogging is only one part of the high tech story that helped put him into the record books. His team have been harnessing groundbreaking thinking on survival techniques, high energy foods, heat insulating clothing and communications. They even found a way for him to swim across the open water leads that appear in the gaps between ice sheets.

"I never set out to become a polar explorer, but what I found is that with focus and determination it's incredible what people can achieve." This is a theme echoed throughout Ben's expeditions and throughout the blogs.

What do the blogs do for the expedition?


Many websites still lack meaningful connection to the organisations they support. This polar expedition is from a tiny organisation, and yet the website allows a massive amplification in the number of people they touch.

The blogs allow this project to benefit from:

  • Telling the story as it unfolds: They give a window into a world none of us will experience, tracking the highs and lows of the expedition itself, the build-up and countdown before, and the recovery and reflections after

  • Creating intimacy with millions: Creating a connection that builds buzz and discussion around the event

  • Building a personal brand: Creating brand equity for Ben as the focus of the expedition and building depth into the brand

  • Resources for journalists and stakeholders: Making it easy for stakeholders to find reference information about the event and its progress
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    Digital Insight Report
    Ben Saunders, polar explorer

    Ben Saunders is a record-breaking long-distance skier, with three North Pole expeditions under his belt. He is the youngest to ski solo to the North Pole and holds the record for the longest solo Arctic journey by a Briton. Since 2001, Ben has skied more than 2,500km (1,500 miles) in the high Arctic, which he recently worked out equates to two percent of his entire life living in a tent. When he's not pulling a sledge, Ben divides his time between planning and training for his next expedition, and earning a crust as one of the UK's leading motivational speakers. He is an Ambassador for The Prince's Trust, an Honorary Vice-President of the Geographical Association, and supports the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and the Orchid Cancer Appeal.

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