What happens when the company you work for starts to encourage people NOT to buy their product?

Patagonia is a clothing company renowned for its conservation efforts and environmental awareness. The brand is associated with high-quality products and outstanding brand ethics. But in a competitive world filled with profit driven companies, how does a brand that cares more for the environment than a high growth rate remain one of the top outdoor clothing brands in the world?


Build the best product. Cause no unnecessary harm. Use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

The mission statement in front of the first Patagonia Store in Africa!

Brand ethics builds trust

As seen in their mission statement, Patagonia is not a profit chaser nor your typical clothing company. The key to their success is their loyal customer base. The customers know what they are buying into. It is no secret that Patagonia openly reveals how damaging the production process of their clothes can be for the environment. Consumers respect honesty and transparency. Not only does Patagonia talk about caring for the environment, 1% of all company profits are donated to selected conservation organizations. As of this year, Patagonia has donated over $78 million to conservation efforts.

Anti-Marketing Strategy

In 2011 Patagonia launched their paper ad-campaign named “Don’t Buy This Jacket” just before Black Friday. Their aim was to encourage consumers to think before they buy new clothes and to consider repairing their old clothes. Instead of a decrease in sales, good old reverse psychology came into play and they saw a steep increase in sales.


Wait what?! Should we buy it or not?


Source: goo.gl/UV2XcC

By making customers feel like they are a part of an initiative creating a change for the environment, Patagonia deems their customers as “activists”. The key to promotion is brand awareness, if customers resonate with the brand values, they become loyal to the brand.

Social Media Presence

Patagonia has a strong presence on Instagram with almost 3 million followers and posts regarding brand ambassadors or environmental issues. With creative ads like the one below, they keep reminding consumers what they are buying into.


Source: Patagonia Ad

First Television Advertisement

For the first time in the company’s existence, they launched a $711 million campaign to broadcast over the entire America. The message? Simple. Look after the public parks.

Founder, Yvon Chouinard, uses the platform to advocate against the depletion of national parks. This is yet another example where the brand uses its influence to make a difference.

Storytelling as Marketing Tool

According to Patagonia’s vice president of global marketing, they use the brand as a story on its own and try to make it as easy as possible for consumers to see what they stand for. Instead of promoting products via catalogue or just using pictures in magazines, Patagonia always tries to tell a story about the product. The people who use it, what they stand for, what their lifestyle looks like. By creating a story consumers can relate to or connotate to a certain product is one of Patagonia’s strongest marketing skills.


A look inside their brand new store in Cape Town

Source: Own photo


Patagonia in South Africa

Patagonia just launched in South Africa last weekend (26 August) by opening a new store in Longstreet, Cape Town. As committed marketing students, we went and took a look around the store.

The following items can be found in store:

  • T-shirts
  • Hoodies
  • Backpacks
  • Wetsuits
  • Caps
  • Windbreakers
  • Hipsters

IMG_2746                                       IMG_2777

By making an effort to minimise their environmental impact and donating 1% of all sales to conservation efforts, Patagonia truly lives by its mission and inspires customers to do the same. Patagonia truly is a good example to all companies on how to establish yourself as a brand.