Retail in Asia


Patagonia’s Angela Clark on storytelling and the brand’s plans for the future

Already creating buzz for its sustainable ways, outdoor apparel maker Patagonia made waves in 2022 when its founder, Yvon Chouinard, announced he and his family would donate the company – valued at around USD3 billion at the time – to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, and a nonprofit organisation called the Holdfast Collective.

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Founded in 1973, Patagonia has continued to gain favour among customers for its divergent marketing efforts and commitment to conscious consumerism.

Retail in Asia speaks with Angela Clark, head of Patagonia’s digital studio, on the importance of brand storytelling and Patagonia’s plans for the future, ahead of her panel discussion at the upcoming eTail Asia event.

RiA: Tell us about what you do at Patagonia.

Clark: Our primary objectives are to support Patagonia’s mission to save the home planet. The way we do that through digital is by telling amazing stories. Patagonia has always valued storytelling as a way to inspire people. We produce documentaries, write articles, and support an army of artists that capture these amazing images in the field. While it’s important to communicate to consumers why sustainability is important, it can also seem overwhelming and downright depressing. The founder has said the best way to avoid those feelings is to take action. Make an impact however you can.

Source: Patagonia

This is why Patagonia Action Works was founded. We select and support 1,000 grassroots activism organizations working on climate change each year. We grant them skill-building support, fundraising support, and awareness-building.

We attempt to inspire conscious consumerism and action for our customers fans and activists around the globe. We work hard to balance storytelling to inspire and storytelling to help consumers find our great product to enhance their lives and outdoor adventures. We showcase products that explore how to produce long-lasting products that have minimal impact on the environment. Items that people can love and wear for years, pass down, and even recycle at the end of the product’s life.

RiA: What is your vision for 2023 and beyond?
Source: Patagonia

Clark: [To] develop a universal expression that unites Patagonia digital, store channels, sports, product, re-ecommerce, food, activism, and communities. The team is working on a newly created digital strategy designed to scale the digital business through an engaging website rooted in storytelling and community building that showcases all of Patagonia’s businesses making discovering and buying products aseffortless as possible. We will be soon redesigning the site experience.

Long-term we are looking to expand Worn Wear, our recommerce platform and repair services, and develop an app and a loyalty program that highlights and inspires action.

RiA: How do you effectively connect with your customers online?

Clark: We connect with our customers through several traditional channels like e-mail and SMS for retention. We also engage with our customers through our organic social channels and in stores through store events. We also reach out to our consumers through paid marketing efforts in search, CTV and affiliate channels, as well broad-reaching brand marketing campaigns. We also offer the best in class storytelling, we lead most conversations with customers through storytelling, we build a strategy that allows to cover product selling and pure storytelling content.

RiA: Can you give us a sneak peek of what you plan to cover at the eTail Asia Summit?

Clark: I’ll be talking about how Patagonia is working on changing consumer behavior by encouraging its customers to become activists, our strategy for communicating to consumers about sustainability efforts and future goals, and how we determine the guiding principles for Patagonia in the marketing space. I’ll also tackle how Patagonia is tailoring its messaging to these young consumers, and how we evolve our sustainability message in a world where thousands of brands claim to be sustainable, but are not.

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RiA: What are some of the key topics which you are keen to listen to during the summit, and why must people not miss eTail Asia this year?

Clark: I’m interested in understanding the global market a little more in the marketing space and sustainability and e-commerce overall. This conference sounds like an amazing opportunity to be able to hear from some of the leaders throughout Asia on what their challenges are in ways they are winning in today’s complex marketplace.