22 Sep The Millennial Series Pt. 2: Patagonia
With the increased influence of the Millennial generation in the consumer market companies are having to change the way that they do business. Increasingly brands are being judged through a more human lens. How honest a company is, or how much it gives back to the world has become more important than price or convenience. We’ll be taking a look at some of the brands that have found success through being authentic. Today we take a look at Patagonia.
The Patagonia Model (Planet over Profit)
Patagonia has found success by establishing themselves as an outdoor company that genuinely cares about being responsible to the world. Their stated goal has actually been to generate less sales; citing the damage to the environment caused by consumerism. You may remember their “Don’t Buy This Jacket” advertisement from the 2011 holiday season, encouraging consumers to think about whether they really needed a new jacket. Given the fact that sales were up after this campaign, you’re forgiven if you found it superficial.
However, other actions show that Patagonia really is upholding their end of the bargain. In 2016 the company gave its Black Friday profits to local environmental groups. They have also opened repair centers where you can send beat up or broken products and have them repaired. There are a few options at these Patagonia repair centers; you can send back old clothes to receive store credit or you can have your clothing repaired. The clothes that are sent in for store credit are then refurbished and sold on Patagonia’s website.
“…just the latest of many actions Patagonia has taken to protect the world around us.”
The latest piece of news you might have seen Patagonia connected to is their lawsuit against President Trump and members of his cabinet. Trump and Co. are trying to reduce the size of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument.
As detailed by CEO Rose Marcario in her Time editorial, the company sees itself as a standard bearer for environmental protection. Words tend to ring hollow if there’s no action to back it up. The lawsuit may seem radical but it is just the latest of many actions Patagonia has taken to protect the world around us. This New York Times article shows the many environmental causes and grants the company has supported over the years.
Patagonia’s passionate environmental advocacy does carry some risk. Their approach has gained them some enemies, and some have even described their methods as anti-growth. However, the numbers argue otherwise, Patagonia is finding success by being authentic to its “Cleanest Line” focus.