The Importance of Patagonia’s Black Friday Campaign

This year, Patagonia announced that it would donate all Black Friday proceeds to grassroots environmental groups fighting to protect natural resources like water, oil and soil. The company expected to rake in about $2 million across its 80 global stores and Patagonia.com. In reality, Patagonia recorded $10 million in revenue – five times what the company expected – and is still promising to donate 100 percent of that revenue to the environmental groups. 80percent Patagonia’s Black Friday campaign may well do much more for the company long-term than just make top-tier, national media headlines after Black Friday. According to Edelman’s 2016 Trust Barometer – the firm’s 16th annual trust and credibility survey – 80 percent of respondents agree that business must play a role in addressing societal issues. In fact, according to Richard Edelman, “the public is responding positively to CEOs who believe they can fulfill the dual mandate of earning profits and providing societal benefits.” Today’s consumers expect businesses to do much more than just make profits – they expect them to contribute to society and communities in which they operate. They feel it’s a company’s duty. While Patagonia has been committed to giving one percent of its daily global sales to environmental organizations since 1985, the scale of this Black Friday commitment makes a bold statement that everyone will read about – Patagonia shopper or not. According to Patagonia executives, it was born out of a post-election brainstorm where many felt uneasy about the uncertainty around future environmental efforts under the new administration. “We definitely came up with the idea after the election,” Lisa Pike Sheehy, vice president of environmental activism at Patagonia, told CNNMoney. “This is a difficult and divisive time for our country. I believe the environment is something we can all come together on. … Environmental values are something we all embrace.” In my opinion, this Black Friday campaign was genius and will have long lasting impacts on the company because consumers will continue to be drawn to a company that shares their values and cares about making a positive difference in the world.