Patagonia’s Information to Getting Political
In today’s polarized political landscape, many brands feel compelled to adopt a political stance – despite ever higher stakes. Patagonia’s new CEO Ryan Gellert shares best practices for navigating difficult terrain. – As Brit Morse says
The wrong way
Don’t ask customers what they think. Do what you see right, says Gellert, who advises against interviewing customers to gauge the impact political news has on brand issues: “We pride ourselves on being committed to the truth as we see it , and not the top line of the. ” Business, “he adds.
Gellert also notes that political stance shouldn’t necessarily be about supporting a party or a decision, but rather about selecting candidates who promote guidelines on issues that are important to you. For Patagonia, climate change is: “The climate crisis is an existential threat to our own creation,” says Gellert. “It takes airtime and conversation and should be one of the things Patagonia focuses on the most.”
That doesn’t mean your company isn’t dealing with setbacks. When customers question their environmental, public order and political viewpoints, depending on the nature of the comments, Patagonia will provide an explanation of why the company is addressing the issue and continuing its work. But most of the time, he says, when criticism is raised on social media, it is “our community that defends us first”.
The right way
Be brave. And be consistent. For smaller businesses looking to advocate a problem, first think carefully about what you believe and what you want to do in the long term, as most political problems cannot be resolved in a year or two. And when you speak, speak clearly and loudly: “When we see something, we speak to him and give him an opinion,” says Gellert. “We try to be direct and clear – and not to gloss over it.”
Patagonia has been a long-time environmental advocate. In the last election cycle, four senatorial candidates from Arizona, Maine, North Carolina and Montana were approved who “mostly focused on taking the climate and environmental crisis seriously”.
Not sure which topic is most important for your brand? When you manufacture a product, the first thing you do is look at your supply chain, advise Gellert, and see what improvements can be made there in terms of environmental impact. Again, remember that your political stance need not be biased. Patagonia also worked to remove obstacles to voting this year, which “is something frankly any company should be pushing for”.
From the winter 2020/2021 issue of Inc. magazine