Covid 19 has changed how businesses operate with one of the main changes being that companies' global marketing strategies have to be purpose driven. What that means is that brands need to be authentic and operate with integrity. With social media, it is especially important for companies to speak out or take action when appropriate. For example, in the middle of the pandemic, Nike decided to donate 140,000 pieces of footwear and apparel to frontline workers around the world. The amount donated was worth more than $5.5 million. Although this is a big expense, it increased their brand perception. How customers view a company’s purpose can change their perception of the product or service itself.
An excellent example of a purpose driven company is Patagonia. They are an outdoor apparel brand with excellent quality clothing but also a long-standing dedication to sustainability and social issues. 80 billion garments are produced each year which accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions. In general, the industry is shifting towards offering inexpensive clothing items that are thrown away very quickly. Patagonia combats this by using recycled fabrics and offers repair and reuse programs. Also, their headquarters in Ventura, California runs on solar energy and they are one of the founders of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. This overall commitment translates to their marketing where they highlight issues they want to tackle.
An example of this is in the 2011 Thanksgiving season, the brand created an advertisement titled “Don’t buy this jacket”. It was designed to offset the overconsumption problem by educating customers on the environmental impact of the fashion industry. They encouraged customers to not purchase their jackets year after year. Despite this, Patagonia’s revenues grew about 30% in 2012 and 5% in 2013.
This advertisement titled Crude Awakening educates and calls on customers to take action for the Refugio Oil Spill in 2015. They used the #CrudeAwakening to promote the issues they are shedding light on. Due to the publicity they brought to it and other members of the community, three new bills were signed to prevent offshore drilling. Patagonia is so successful with its purpose driven marketing because the company actually operates with integrity. Since its founding in 1973, Yvon Chouinard has always had sustainability at the forefront of the brand. They back up their marketing with actions that they truly believe in.