Patagonia’s Corporate Sales Strategy Shifts Toward Ecology-Minded Clients

Logoed Patagonia vests are set to become a rarer site in some corporate circles, as the Venture, California-based apparel company is limiting who it will provide products for in its corporate sales program. The company is shifting toward more ecologically-minded companies for its corporate sales, aligned with the declaration, “We’re in business to save our home planet,” in its mission statement.

Patagonia’s corporate sales catalog notes, “For each order, we require disclosure as to the type of company whose name will appear on the Patagonia product and how the product will be used.”

How this provision is playing out in certain industries received fresh attention this week when Binna Kim, president of communications agency Vested, shared an email they received when trying to order Patagonia products for a financial services client.

The email read, in part, “Patagonia has nothing against your client or the financial industry, it’s just not an area they are currently marketing through our co-brand division. While they have co-branded here in the past, the brand is really focused right now on only co-branding with a small collection of like-minded and brand-aligned areas…This is a relatively new direction for the brand and this division, all coming through the lens of their new mission statement, ‘We’re in business to save our home planet.’”

Patagonia’s fleece and puffer vests have earned a reputation as part of the de rigueur uniform for professionals in the financial services and technology industries. In Silicon Valley, they’ve become known as the “power vest.” Patagonia has said that it wants to work with more B Corporations, which are businesses that have met high standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. Patagonia is a B Corporation itself.

Patagonia’s products are sold direct to corporate markets and in the promotional products industry through supplier Driving Impressions. Danny Rosin, CAS, co-president of distributor Brand Fuel, says, “Seth Godin tells us to be a ‘mindful-specific versus a wandering generality’ and Patagonia, a leading B Corporation, exemplifies this as they prioritize the environment. I am impressed that Patagonia is willing to risk market share by standing for ideals aligned with their corporate values. This decision is a powerful reminder to all companies to remain focused on their moral compass.”

filed under April 2019
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