Sometimes you just have to go for it.
In the past, all sorts of brands have publicly avoided politics in order to avoid upsetting their customers from blue and red states alike. Now, in the current political climate, it’s almost risky to avoid leaning in and participating in political debates, especially when these controversies involve companies’ missions.
And recently, we saw first-hand how companies are doing just that.
President Donald Trump announced his decision last week to cut more than 1 million acres from two national monuments in Utah, known as Bears Ears. It didn’t take long for Patagonia, the brand down for outdoor clothing and gear, to weigh in. After the announcement, the company changed its homepage to a black screen with white text that read, “The President Stole Your Land.”
Bold move. Point, Patagonia.
The savvy marketing move went viral, garnering praise from both the outdoorsy and the indoorsy alike. Meanwhile, social media users were calling out other companies, asking, “Are you joining Patagonia? What are you doing to help?” They expected action.
Of course, Patagonia has a long history of environmental activism. It donates one percent of its annual profits and donated all $10 million of its Black Friday sales to conservation projects. Patagonia’s website states, “For us at Patagonia, a love of wild and beautiful places demands participation in the fight to save them.” To do that, Patagonia’s owner, a billionaire named Yvon Chouinard, has said he’s going to file a lawsuit against Trump to challenge the proclamation.
Sure, other companies quickly followed suit. REI posted a similar, albeit less politically charged message, and The North Face took a page right out of Patagonia’s book when it posted a black screen with white text condemning the announcement. Still, Patagonia was the first company to strike, and everyone noticed.
This move was a no-brainer for Patagonia. The president’s proclamation clearly violates what the company stand for, and their customers want political action.
Patagonia really went for it, and consumers are likely to reward them for it.