Here’s a bold example of a brand living its beliefs. In this case, its active lifestyle brand REI. Of which I happen to be a fan.
The retailer is taking direct aim at the frenzied consumerism that dominates the holidays with a message to do the exact opposite of what Black Friday demands.
Case in point, I received this email from them last night:
As you can read, all stores are closing on the day after Thanksgiving, arguably the biggest shopping day of the year. But they’re not only closing. The outdoor gear and fitness retailer is paying all 12000 employees to #Opt Outside.”
They’d also like customers to “opt outside” instead of shopping as well. With the hashtag #OptOutside, REI will ask people to share what they’re doing on Black Friday on social media.
The decision to close their stores on this HUGE shopping day has big bottom line implications. But according to REI President and CEO Jerry Strizke, “”As a co-op … we define success a little differently. It’s much broader than just money. How effectively do we get people outside?”
Here’s what’s so impressive about this initiative:
1. It’s one thing to have a distinctive purpose (which in itself is refreshing beyond the typical generic mission statement). It’s another thing to live it.
2. REI’s true sense of purpose comes from the top, from a “Brand CEO” who is the living, breathing embodiment of the brand.
3. It’s a sure fire way to inspire people inside the business, who I’m sure, stoke the flame as front line brand ambassadors outside as well.
4. It demonstrates REI’s authentic and meaningful social impact, which has a big emotional impact on today’s customers.
By the way, REI has earned a place on FORTUNE magazine’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” every year since the rankings began in 1998. No kidding.