REI's Brand Honesty: Transparency as Big as the Great Outdoors

It's All about the Brand, and More about Relationships...

When I saw popular retailer REI's announcement last week that the company intended to CLOSE on Black Friday. It stopped me in my NYC tracks. Close? Hello?  I'm sorry, but that day is the retailing cut throat start to the holiday shopping season. What's up here? 

I was lucky to catch their CEO, Jerry Stritzke, on the CBS Morning Show explaining the bold retail move.  He talked with such genuine regard for the 5 million customers of the brand who deserved to see the brand live out its core belief about enjoying outdoor life---especially with friends and family on a holiday weekend. I immediately wanted to cheer. This company that is in business for outdoor living and sport, was  honoring their brand commitment and the relationship it has with its outdoor tribe . I got it.  Shutting down the brick and mortar stores AND masking the online screens is a demonstration of living authentically as a company. Their hashtag #optoutside says it all.

 As I write a book about using brand tenets in education, I suggest  business can teach us about relationships.  In the past, educators didn't want to learn from business. Educators were classically stuck in four walls, in offices and were worlds apart from the buzz of daily life. With the internet and social, the school day isolation is over. As REI shows conveying your brand through action is what makes success. And that's something for schools to know. Tell the story, talk the talk, walk the walk and keep growing your relationship with the people you want to serve. You do it transparently online and in realtime. And you make more customers happy and satisfied, and they tell someone else of your greatness...that's scale!  'Scuse me... I've never shopped REI and the window is open on this red down jacket... better get it now. Just call me a new member of the tribe!

              The Brand giant REI demonstrates its relational chops with a Black Friday Brand Gamble!

              The Brand giant REI demonstrates its relational chops with a Black Friday Brand Gamble!

#optoutside #REIsports #brandedlead