- Product: Outdoor clothing and gear for silent sports
- Purpose: In business to save the planet
- What can we learn? Make your purpose your mission
Patagonia’s purpose is their mission, it’s the very reason for which they exist. Having a purpose that’s so deeply intertwined with your brand’s identity works to galvanise a community of supporters with a shared values who rigorously campaign in your favour. When business and purpose are woven together your impact is maximised- but so is your reach.
What's Patagonia's story?
Patagonia are an American clothing company that markets and sells outdoor clothing. Their mission, “we’re in business to save the planet”, epitomises what it means to be a purpose-driven business. Their purpose is so deeply embedded into their brand that it dictates both their direction and decisions, attracting customers who not only want to buy their products, but who engage with their resources, propagate their values and fuel momentum for the fight. With fighting the climate crisis being an epic problem to combat, they have fine-tuned their work to three core areas of most effective altruism; agriculture, politics and ‘protected land’. Clearly defined goals, with a road mapped out in how to get there, provides a means for Patagonia’s audience to become more than just ‘consumers’, but allies too.
In an interview for Egon Zehnder, Patagonia's founder Yvon Chouinard explained “We’re trying to encourage people to use the power of consuming and do some good with it. In other words, consume from companies that are trying to be morally responsible. Buy their products, support them and buy better quality. Don’t keep buying stuff that’s going to go out of fashion in a year or two… Save up, wait till you can buy one that will last for the rest of your life.” This tread-light, live-slow ethos is one that can be largely credited for inspiring an ever-growing movement of purpose-led businesses, but also consumers.
Patagonia engage their consumers in creating positive impact at the moment of purchase. As part of the ‘1% for the planet’ initiative, they’ve pledged 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural world. Across all their online platforms, they share a wealth of extra information providing meaningful ways consumers can engage with their mission beyond consumption. Though supplying activewear, they actively discourage excessive consumerism, contrary to the majority of today’s retail marketing. Their ‘Worn Wear’ initiative provides services to fix damaged Patagonia wear, or trade-in old items for something new- further reinforcing their ethos on minimising waste and inspiring a culture of sharing and re-wearing.
What can we learn?
So, what can we learn from Patagonia? Their purpose is deep-rooted, embedded into the core of their business and breathed into every ‘crevasse’. They’ve grown a customer base who are acutely aware of what they've set out to do: an objective far more profound than promulgating excessive consumption and maximising profits. Their diligent work geared towards one distinct goal demonstrates their credibility in their field, and as a result, has attracted an almost cult-like following of liked minded individuals who support both their business, and it's values, in a pursuit to make change. A purpose this fierce unsurprisingly enables Patagonia to enjoy a distinct competitive edge in the market they occupy, for which they are worthy. Share their drive, borrow their expertise and take inspiration from their values. In this new decade of purpose, we hope they inspire other businesses to follow suit.