So let’s get personal and enter the confessional booth for a minute.
I have 8 Patagonia coats.
Now, before you get all judgy that it’s excessive and wasteful and exactly the opposite of what an environmentally responsible company stands for with its commitment to sustainability, let me explain.
You might consider me a gear glutton, but each and every coat serves a unique purpose and has accumulated hundreds of miles of use – up and down mountains, across oceans and even continents. From skiing, hiking, snowshoeing and sailing to bonfires, beach strolls, dog walks, and grocery runs, each coat holds a place in my active life. And in my heart. It may sound cheesy, but my outerwear harem has trekked all over the world with me and, quite literally, had my back through many wild adventures.
But why does my loyalty run so deep for this brand? Why is Patagonia always the first – and only – place I turn to for outerwear and technical gear? It’s actually pretty simple and boils down to three things brands should consider when attracting new customers and keeping them as lifelong loyalists – and family members.
- Make a kick-ass product.
While Patagonia is by no means the most affordable option, its products are top-notch and built to stand the test of time. Durable. Reliable. Timeless. I mean, there is one guy in our ski house who still wears his Patagonia from the early 90s. The fact is, Patagonia makes a really solid, long-lasting product that, whether it markets it or not, works really well.
- Make me feel good about choosing your brand above others.
If you haven’t seen it yet, this Patagonia video, cleverly titled “What the Pluck?,” is a must-see. Created in partnership with iconic surf culture artist Geoff McFetridge and set to the tune of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” the video creatively illustrates the brand’s commitment to the ethical treatment and sustainability of every feather used for its 100% traceable down. What I love about this video (beyond its dark humor and quirky aesthetic) is the ostensible backbone of a brand that decided not to flap its feathers and make excuses over harsh critique. Instead, Patagonia spent its energy tackling the issue head on and encouraging other companies to do the same.
This video is just one example of how Patagonia lives and breathes its mission.
- Make every interaction the best it can be.
A few years ago while skiing a magnificent powder day at Mad River Glenn, I had my worst fears realized: My Patagonia ski pants split – right on my rear. And while, I was able to work out a temporary solution in the form of a GIANT silver-duct-tape X across my bum, it was clear that the pants were finished.
The following weekend I went into Patagonia with my now-unsalvageable pants and explained what happened. To my delight, the associate explained it never should have happened and that, if I could find a pair of ski pants at the same price point, Patagonia would replace them.
This was great news, but it didn’t stop there.
After asking me what type of skiing I do, another associate suggested I upgrade to more insulated (and more expensive) pants. But, as I was checking out, the original associate rang up the new pants free of charge! She said she knew how important powder days are and was really sorry my pant debacle crimped my time on the slopes that day.
Not only did Patagonia stand by its products, it stood by its customers, too.
So, here’s to you, Patagonia. You hit the target every time when it comes to delivering on your brand promise and valuing me as much as I value your products.
That’s why I plucking love you.