1105x622_Grants-hunter_rYou have optimized your website, put your pay-per-click strategy in place, secured back links to your website and have built Facebook and Twitter pages.  All tactics to create traffic to your site. Now that you have visitors to your site, how do you engage with them? Do you connect with them in a way that identifies with them deeply or do you just “sell” them? Do you have a story that resonates with your customer to the point that they become brand ambassadors for your company? Are you a company that makes a difference in their lives? It’s not good enough to get consumers to your website.  If you don’t engage them on a personal basis your business will have a hard time convincing them that you can make an impact on them. While tactics can create marketing in a point of time, brands that engage on a personal level, that have a impactful purpose are ones that sustain. The book “It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven by Purpose” written by Roy Spence of ad agency GSD&M, goes into this philosophy and why it is important to companies.


In the past brands have talked about themselves through traditional advertising channels.  With the advent of the social media and websites like YouTube and Vimeo, brands have imbedded themselves into the lives of their intended customers.  Creating branded content that goes beyond telling their story, brands have been able to define their purpose creating a connection with an audience.  Marketers have found that through high-quality content, brands can fuel initial perceptions, inform research, build trust, and ignite purchase decisions that create a perpetual buying cycle for customers that feel bonded to a brand (See graphic developed by McKinsey & Company).


Many companies have leveraged the impact that video has to tell stories. Some brands have become ambassadors of causes, documented them and built YouTube channels around them.  They understand the impact that they can make through connecting with their audience rather than constantly selling them. Consumers were enthusiastic about branded videos, with 59% of US adult internet users saying they watched them when they visited a brand’s website, and the majority of respondents actually preferred to view brand videos on a company’s site. Fully 40% of respondents favored watching such content over reading the same information.

Patagonia’s compelling strategy and how brand tells their story.

Consumer brand Patagonia, has immersed itself into becoming a company whose purpose is what drives sales.  In an AdAge article, Joy Howard, Patagonia’s VP of marketing stated, “We have a mission to solve problems in the world. That’s very much a part of how we engage with consumers.”  Fast Company and Marketing Sherpa describe how Patagonia leverage its brand to create consumer activists that support the causes Patagonia outline as part of their purpose. Another Fast Company article goes on to compare the Patagonia marketing return on investment versus JetBlue, Apple, Target, and Johnson & Johnson and how it outranked all of them.


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Patagonia has created a series of YouTube channels, specifically one called “The New Localism” that speaks to it’s customers passion for public causes around the world.  Additionally Patagonia has created a series of videos in its “Environment” channel that talks about sustainability as well as it programs including its “Common Threads Partnership” recycle program.  The company’s vision of “reimagine a world where we take only what nature can replace,” is the corner stone of its purpose communicated to its customers and followers.


LMPGS_book2Extend the brand through experiences.

Its obvious that Patagonia values its customers passions and the stories that they tell and have focused their marketing on the these relationships.  Patagonia has gone so far as to add publishing to the brand experience by producing ebooks, technical manuals and inspirational books like the autobiography “Let My People Go Surfing” written by Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, that further extend the brand into its customers culture.

Content that engages continues to impact and creates a bond between consumers and

brands.  Many other companies have followed this strategy. North Face, Nike’s Makers Movement, Microsoft Special Olympics are a few of the many companies that have embraced this opportunity.  Brands that follow this engagement process will have the best possibility to create a sustainable relationship with is customers and market.