The Lesson Learned When Your Mission and Brand Do Not Align
While waiting for my daughter to complete a ballet audition, I opened NYTimes.com and read a recent and interesting article (or it became a couple of articles) on the unintended phenomenon of how the “Patagonia Vest” has defined an industry and became a status symbol. The article, which is a critique of a new fashion exhibit of artist Simon Denny also focused on how Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s blouses and scarves came to represent Global Capitalism. In case you are interested, check out: “Tech Bro Uniform Meets Margaret Thatcher. Disruption Ensues.”
With piano solos and pointe shoes tapping in the background, I marveled at how powerful a single article of clothing, such as Patagonia’s vest can define an industry and actually work against an intended mission.
Patagonia’s mission: “We’re in Business to Save Our Home Planet.”
Somehow, the intention of outfitting those who “prioritize the planet” turned into becoming an elite status symbol among the financial and tech industries with very different missions! Since the ditch of the 3-piece suit, the co-branded “power vest” was the new attraction strutting down Manhattan’s streets and other Urban hot spots such as Silicon Valley, like a daily status Fashion Show.
The issue in question is what type of “green” were these inadvertent clients interested in? The ones that line pockets or grow from the earth? For my sarcastic friends, I know that money originates from trees! LOL!
In a bold move, Patagonia pulled a corporate brand reality check when in the Spring of 2019, denied a financial institution’s brand new order because they did not align with their true mission. Patagonia believed that their vests were representing the green and greed of Wall Street and not the lifestyle brand it built its mission around.
Are Your Employees In Alignment With Your Mission?
What does your mission currently look like? Polished and professional? Now ask yourself, how does your team look? How do they sound? Are they in alignment with your goals? Appearance is crucial and does impact how your brand is perceived. Even our famous “hoodie-wearing” Executive Mark Zuckerberg was compelled to up his fashion game amid outside pressure.