p.p1 is the story. Films like DamNation and Jumbo

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Patagonia has always been very, very good at telling compelling, engaging stories about the outdoors that get people emotionally connected to and excited about the brand, and seamlessly weaving its position on environmental issues into these stories at the same time. The editorial sensibility and journalistic approach is ingrained within the company and they understand that the brand is the story.

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Films like DamNation and Jumbo Wild tie directly into Patagonia’s activist identity. These films have helped the brand boost its level of engagement by triple digits. DamNation is a branded film that played film festivals like SXSW, premiered in stores, toured college campuses, and is now on Netflix, but the company also gave it away for free to environmental organisations to use as a fundraiser. 

Other films include Patagonia’s documentary promoting the brand’s Patagonia Provisions food division. It shines a spotlight on small businesses that are pioneering sustainable farming methods. Unbroken Ground, which carries the tagline ‘revolutions start at the bottom’, pushes an agenda of environmental responsibility and long-term thinking that is in keeping with Patagonia’s company ethos and values. They also produced a 30 minute documentary featuring Patagonia faithful and their extremely lived-in apparel. Not many brands can pull off a half hour of people telling stories about their favourite pair of 15-year-old swim trunks.

People are hungry for credible stories. Patagonia satisfy this need with content that is split between cause-based stories and more product and process focused stories. The brand uses storytelling as a way to provoke and inspire action. They educate customers and allow them to make informed decisions, make a difference, and maybe change someone’s perspective. They’re closing the gap between marketing image and corporate action or policy with the realisation that the potential stories have for impact and reach is much greater than other mediums.