A Company That Clothes, Also Nourishes Its Customers

Patagonia is an adventure clothing company uniquely committed to identifying important environmental problems. Problems they can help solve with product-based solutions. They did it with their move to organic cotton in the 1990s. Now they’re working to change the score for salmon fisheries.

Clearly, it is counter-intuitive to save wild salmon by eating them, but that’s what Yvon Chouinard and his crew are cooking up with their new Patagonia Provisions Wild Salmon Jerky product line.

This is company’s essential argument for sustainable fishing:

The salmon industry today is a broken model. Too many endangered stocks are dwindling under the pressures of indiscriminate harvest and unsustainable fish-farming techniques. Something has to change. We believe a market-based solution is the best way to effect that change. Our goal, then, is to create a new model, one which demonstrates that adding value to selectively harvested salmon is not only possible, but good business. With your help, our success can create opportunities to reform current fisheries and protect the future of wild salmon.

It didn’t take much to convince me to buy. The jerky comes in three flavors: Smoked Teriyaki, Smoked Chili Pepper and Smoked Black Pepper. It’s $12.50 per pack and the shipping is free. Plus, ‘gonia accepts PayPal, so I am just a few clicks and a mailman away from river-caught wild salmon, smoked in Terrace, B.C..

Patagonia’s decision to use only organic cotton in their products resulted in a shift felt throughout the garment industry. This problem is a bit more difficult though, because unlike cotton, Patagonia’s purchases of wild salmon are small, by comparison. Regardless, we need to start somewhere and Patagonia’s example may have ripple effects within the industry should this new product gain traction with consumers.

One thing’s for sure, Patagonia’s leaders wear their hearts on their fleece sleeves, and they know how to tell a compelling story that moves people. In the video above, everything from the cinematography, to the script and editing work to hold one’s attention, inform and convert.

Patagonia is a visionary company that can be applauded, studied and copied for so many reasons. In this one example, we’re looking at brilliant advocacy marketing supported by beautiful and timely content marketing. All of which spawns positive word-of-mouth.

How can your company benefit from this case-study? Find out what your customers care deeply about (beyond brand preference). Then ask yourself what you care deeply about (beyond boosting market share)? Find the intersection of these things, and you’ll be on to something.

1 Comment

  1. David Burn says:

    My friend Bruce is a fishing guide in B.C. I posted this video on his Facebook page and asked him to comment. He says he’s glad Yvon is helping raise awareness of the problem, but that the wild salmon problem is worse than we know. He says there are “coverups of deadly disease and parasite, mass escapes of foreign species into our ecosystem and complete disregard for the wild salmon.”

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