Patagonia Project | Skillshare Projects



Patagonia Project


“Find a niche and fill it.” Seth exemplified the genius in marketing 7UP as the un-cola, something different/opposite. Seth asks us: What does the marketplace look like to people who care?

What does it look like to people who care?

Patagonia is all about the “un-cola” approach. The first ad showing two extreme climbing athletes wearing Patagonia jackets while climbing in China. Compared to the other companies that spend money on campaign pictures of studio models with focus on the jacket, Patagonia is shifting the focus to the story that comes about and memories/actions associated with the jacket. The people who are also climbers or enjoy similar activities suddenly think of their own adventures and could see the Patagonia jacket suddenly as a natural part of their own future experiences. 


Seth believes that pricing is all about being in sync with positioning of a product. To prove this idea, Seth states that there is no relationship between what it costs to make a product versus what consumers pay. Rather, in this want-based market, consumers are willing to pay more for something associated with being the best. The price of something sends a signal about how “good” that product is perceived to be, and thus worth.

For instance, the $649 Men’s Primo Down Jacket can justify the true value of such an expensive product, relative to other sport jackets on the market, through this link back to positioning. The jacket’s description claims to keep you warm in the harshest conditions from dawn patrol missions to stormy laps in the trees” calling to mind images of professional outdoorsman who would greatly benefit from this product in extreme situations. This word association is key in the marketing of the product since it is the marketers who add the value to the product, not the product itself.

Seth claims that because of the association of price and positioning, by buying a cheaper product, we are sending a message of being less than. This ripple effect is the reason, Seth claims, that in price sorting a race to the bottom is already a loss. If you are worth the most people will pay the most and your product will be deemed the best. When Patagonia jackets are photographed in use by, proximal to, professional climbers, the way people see Patagonia changes and suddenly being used by the best makes them the best and ad shelf space is earned.



Promotion is all about the story associated with a product that becomes integral to its brand. Much the same way to Seth’s friend Linda who sends POM concentrate to an exclusive list, Patagonia with the Common Threads Initiative, is exploiting the personal connection of product-users and product-makers. The Initiative focuses on the mutual benefit of buying their product, you can sell their product second-hand or back to them after they mend it for you, seemingly placing the power in the hands of the consumer that it is not a traditional one-time sale/purchase transaction, but that it will develop into a long-lasting, multi-exchange which goes far beyond buying a jacket.



Patagonia has the permission to be treated as the best and to charge what they do because their competition simply cannot compete with the brand/image that Patagonia has created. There is nothing out there better than Patagonia that in causing people to look elsewhere. Patagonia has filled its niche for premier, professional-grade, element-shielding gear with an eco-friendly practice to boot.



This is all about making something worth talking about. Much the same way Seth packaged his “Purple Cow” book in a milk carton, Patagonia recently packaged its own brand into the Bowery Surf Shop. The shop is worth talking about because it is Patagonia’s first surf shop on the East Coast while the physical space it occupies underwent minimal alterations to preserve its history, successfully allowing it to bridge something new/radical with something existent that is familiar to customers in that region.



Due to Patagonia’s branding as a reimagined concept for how a product can double as a service, through the Common Thread Initiative and unique advertising campaigns, Patagonia is already name to a one-of-a-kind brand that attracts attention. As a result, their efforts need to be on the follow-through of those promises for lasting commitment to quality and goodwill toward customers and the environment in order to receive continued positive press.



Seth stressed that PR is not same as publicity. Rather, public relations is the act of a telling a story. At the bottom of each page on the Patagonia site are links to the company’s policies on Environmental and Social Responsibility. More than anything else a company can do to be successful is to act. Not only does Patagonia mention its practices but provides detailed explanations, including a letter from founder Yvon Chouinard about how the company has growth and that each year Patagonia “has donated one percent of its sales to grassroots environmental organizations” for what they do as a single unit and the plans for launching the “$20 Million and Change” to fund “like-minded” responsible start-ups who positively impact the environment. Patagonia has follow-through and are able to tell the story of how they have taken their success and given back to their land and other people with dreams that were once much like their own.


Responsible for half of the efficacy of a product is that if customers believe something works better, it does because people think differently about what they are going to get. When they are seeing videos of live-action trials of the gear how can they possibly think anything else can compete: “Leashless Jackets” from the Speed of Light collection.



When someone sees a Patagonia product paired with a bearded, snarling athlete talking about the durability of a jacket that blood amongst snow and rain are impenetrable to the jacket. The hardcore, extreme, up-for-anything adventurers become a natural association with the products.


Persistance: frequency + consistency in showing up.

Patagonia is consistently coming out with new lines of jackets and “bettering their formula” with each new product. The production of many versions of each product shows customers that they as a company are not complacent and are always working to bring the customers a newer, better product. This has built trust and made customers rely on Patagonia to eventually get it right and based on some site Reviews they have been quite successful in doing so.



The interior of Patagonia stores are very minimalistic with the focus on the product and the staff. The furniture that exists is made of wood or other natural, modern works again bringing consumers back to the company themes of sustainability and environmental consideration.



Being treated differently and as a special client is what keeps people coming back to companies like Patagonia. For instance, on their site, buying merchandise is so easy to pair and match because of special features. The “Kit Builder” feature is genius. Rather than people who may not be expert skiers who have suited up for competition for years, they can click on a series of paired pieces in various colors/styles based on conditions and region. Now anyone can feel that they have a personal stylist who gets them but from where they live to what activities they participate in with appropriate gear to match even Olympic athletes. How could someone not feel like these many layers were made for each of them personally. Not to mention, consumers will no longer feel guilty about spending thousands in one online-shopping trip or to a store where a Patagonia employee has been trained to offer the same assistance and rare service.


People like us:

Two of the reviews on the Patagonia website of the Men’s Primo Jacket being with customers stating their credibility as “I have many Patagonia items, this is my fourth active-wear jacket,” hinting at the tribe-like following of Patagonia. Statements like these are what speak to other consumers that hey, take this person’s advice, he/she has been using this product for a long time and keeps coming back. When people hear someone else that is so committed they begin to think, if I were to write this would I have the same credibility if I only own two jackets? <<Goes out and buys a few more Patagonia products>> Now feels to be someone worthy of the Patagonia tribe who can identify with people like him/her.



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