During Black Friday of 2011, Patagonia launched an anti-marketing campaign. Instead of alluring the hustle of the midnight crowds with sales and promotions, their employees urged shoppers to NOT buy anything…
In an advertisement before the largest sales event of the year Patagonia urged their customers to think, not buy.
“We want to do the opposite of every other business today. We ask you to buy less and to reflect before you spend a dime on this jacket or anything else.”
This campaign was not a stunt, however. It had everything to do with Patagonia’s story—their brand’s narrative. If the customer is the hero of the story, then buyer’s remorse or impulsive spending is the antagonist.
Patagonia strives to do something better in this world and customers spending money they don’t have on clothes they don’t need ruins their mission. This is true vision and purpose.
They pursue happy and sustainable customers over daily sales and serious profits. Their actions in 2011 are not surprising … their mission is to “leave a world inhabitable for our kids.”
Our businesses can learn a lot from Patagonia’s supreme dedication to vision and purpose. Although they make arguably the best quality outdoor clothing on the market, people who wear Patagonia are not proud of their “nice” clothing, but are rather proud of the fact that Patagonia stands for both less and more: less spending, less impulse buying, and less waste; more quality, more sustainability, and more thought.
Patagonia teaches that scale is possible without a dedication to it. We can focus on our customer’s needs and daily strive to satisfy them via the proper way they need satisfied.
Patagonia also teaches Digital Marketers that the best way to increase leads is to ask customers not to buy and, rather, to think. When they do, they become profits for your brand, not just customers. And that makes all the difference.