Patagonia’s Brand Purpose – Using Business to Inspire Solutions to the Environmental Crises

December 31, 2012 — Leave a comment

“BRAND PURPOSE” is an organization’s reason for being. An effective brand purpose defines the reason for an organization to exist beyond just making money. However, an effective purpose is critical for a brand to sustain long term financial growth. A good purpose can be motivating and inspiring to a brand’s employees when integrated into their business approach. Patagonia is an example of a brand with a purpose that goes well beyond making money.

The common wisdom that I have heard for years is that the purpose of an organization is to make money. As it turns out the companies and brands that have a purpose beyond making money are the most successful financially.

Patagonia was founded by Yvon Chouinard as a company that made tools for climbers. It evolved into a brand that provided clothing and gear for people with a love of the outdoors. This includes Alpine Climbing, Fly Fishing, Rock Climbing, Skiing, Snowboarding, Surfing and Trail Running. This passion for the outdoors has inspired the company to use business to implement solutions to the environmental crisis. Patagonia donates at least 1% of sales to grassroots environmental groups all over the world. Patagonia employes are encouraged to support environmental causes that are important to them. Through an Environmental Internship Program, they can leave their jobs and work for a cause for a month, and Patagonia will pay their salary and benefits. Over 1,000 employees have participated in this program.

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The company has launched a number of other initiatives to protect the environment including programs such as Common Threads, Bluesign Standard, and the Footprint Chronicles. Patagonia’s focus on the environment started in the early 90s.

What other brands have a purpose that is making a difference in the world?

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