“Every time we’ve made a decision to do the right thing, it ends up being good business.”
– Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia founder.
When Patagonia started their Common Threads Initiative, which encourages people to buy less of their product, it caught my attention. I like companies who choose their own path and fly in the face of convention. It appeals to my entrepreneurial nature. But the reason it caught my attention was that it was actually asking people to buy less of their product. When is the last time you thought of that as a growth strategy?
While the program is still too new to draw any conclusions on success, it has already had over 24,000 people take the pledge, according to their website. Even though it is a private company and financial information is hard to come by, I would bet that Patagonia will succeed in growing revenue even though it is asking people to buy less. Why? Because it is completely authentic to what Patagonia is and why they exist, and that is the lesson for the rest of us.
Being authentic is something that is often forgotten in the corporate world by businesses both big and small. Companies get on the treadmill to chase money and markets. They forget why they got into business in the first place. Patagonia has not forgotten this. They have been growing successfully for years while staying true to their cause.
Authenticity leads to loyalty. Loyalty means happy customers. Happy customers are great word-of-mouth, revenue-generators for a company. Simple right? Well, if it’s so simple, why do so many companies forget or forsake it?
Doing the right thing is often good business, if it is authentic.