Patagonia, the Activist Company - Interview with Vincent Stanley, Director of Philosophy

November 3, 2016

Patagonia is the quintessential Ueber-Brand. This brand is fascinating and we have written extensively about what we think drives and sustains its success in our latest book as well as on our blog.  But it is quite another thing to hear it all directly from 'one of the family' - quite literally.  For Vincent Stanley is not only Patagonia's 'Director of Philosophy', previously VP of Marketing and Communications as well as co-author with company founder Yvon Chouinard of "The Responsible Company," the bible for leaders who seek to do good while doing business. He is also Yvon's nephew and became one of the very first employees in the early 70'ies when he helped him extend the chicken coop in the back yard that served as 'equipment forge', as he will tell us.

In this interview we will touch on most of the elements of Ueber-Branding beginning with Patagonia's strong sense of Mission, the brand's Myth, the product to Behold, how the organization 'Lives the Dream', 'Un-Sells' and how they strive for Responsible Growth.  We will also get insights into:

  • why the choice was to run Patagonia, not a foundation to protect the environment
  • what is authenticity vs 'putting on a show' when it comes to maintaining the myth
  • how content marketing and social media come naturally to Patagonia - since 1972
  • who and how they set themselves up to evolve and grow while keeping their soul

And, of course, we will talk about the famous ad Vincent ran not to sell more but to change the way we feel and think about owning a garment (despite his denying, we still think it also helped sell more Patagonia ;-)

Patagonia Activism in a Chicago store. A call to help save the air, earth, water and recycle your worn gear.
Patagonia Activism in a Chicago store: A call to help save our air, water, soil and to recycle your gear.

If you liked what you heard in the 'official' part you will love the take-outs from the chat we had after the official interview was over. Hang around to hear why:

  • poor people and nations pay the price for fast fashion and cheap garments
    (Or: Why $29 for a trucker hat is not creaming but rather not charging enough)
  • environmental consciousness is a great engine for innovation and attracting talent
pata-mission.jpg
Yvon Chouinard and that mission statement Vincent talks about - more relevant now than ever.

FURTHER READING:

For more insights what drives the success of Ueber-Brands like Patagonia, read our book “Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueberbrands”.  For a detailed case study of Patagonia, background materials  and other case-studies, check out our blog.

Want to compare and contrast the Patagonia story with another environmentally conscious brand that 'shines from the inside out'?  Then read about our visit to the Freitag bag making plant in Switzerland here.

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