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These 3 outdoor brands turned their customers into communities

By FashionUnited


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Consumers care more and more about the environment, according to Jan Agelink, one of the founders of Dutch trendwatching firm Buro Jantrendman. He presented a lecture titled “Fashion goes outdoor” at Dutch fashion trade fair Modefabriek last month. According to Agelink, not only are today’s consumers changing their shopping habits to reduce their impact on the planet, but they also display a growing interest in spending time outdoors. Consequently, the demand for outdoor apparel is growing.

But there is another important reason behind this growth. Agelink noted that some of the most successful brands in the outdoor segment have applied smart marketing strategies: they know exactly how to play with the increased longing for nature in a way that doesn’t scream “buy this product now”.

During his lecture, Agelink mentioned three examples of outdoor brands that have managed to build a strong relationship with their customers, turning them into loyal fans that keep coming back again and again.

Rapha Clubhouses

Rapha is a British bicycle brand with flagship stores in several cities around the world, including New York, Berlin, Tokyo and London. Named “Rapha Clubhouses”, they are so much more than just stores: in addition to selling bikes and bike accessories, the space is a haven for the cycling community, with lectures, workshops and weekly rides for members. To Agelink, a true example of how a brand can sell a lifestyle, not just products.

The North Face Mountain Festival

How about joining The North Face for a weekend full of adventure? Held over the last weekend of July, the North Face Mountain Festival welcomed consumers aged 18 and above to hike, jog, and climb together in Val San Nicolo, Italy. In addition to practising sports, participants also joined cooking and photography workshops. In the evening, free dinners with live music provided the perfect setting for participants to mingle. Tickets cost 149 euro (transport to location not included).

According to Agelink, this is a good example of a brand investing time and money in turning their customers into a real community. It also provided The North Face with an unusual retail point, as all clothing and accessories necessary for the weekend’s activities were available for sale at the spot.

Patagonia’s Worn Wear

Patagonia Inc. is an American outdoor brand that places sustainability at the core of its business. Not only are Patagonia’s clothes manufactured in a sustainable way, its items are also made to last. But the brand has come up with an initiative to expand its products’ life cycle even more: its “Worn Wear” buses ride all across the United States and some European countries, offering clothing repair services. In this unconventional manner, Patagonia has successfully stressed the durability of items items, and its identity as a sustainable brand.

Patagonia also asked customers to share the story behind their most beloved Patagonia items on social media, once again reinforcing the message that a Patagonia item is meant to resist the test of time. According to Agelink, this is a great example of how an outdoor brand’s sustainable ideals and commercial interests can come together.

This article was originally published by FashionUnited the Netherlands. Author: Marjolein Stormezand. Translated by Marjorie van Elven.

Photo credit: courtesy of Rapha Clubhouse Amsterdam

Rapha Clubhouse
The North Face