REI is an interesting company. They’ve achieved ubiquity and success by any metric. But as a supplier of nice outdoor gear, they’ve managed to maintain a connection to their roots. REI is still about nature, connecting with a deeper sense of self by experiencing life in faraway, distant, and remote places. REI may provide the gear you need to survive, thrive, or be comfortable in such settings. But ultimately, the company exists to facilitate that experience, not to sell tents and trail gear.
They maintain that branding reputation in a number of ways. Recently they paid their employees to go out into nature on Black Friday, and they close on Thanksgivings. But they’ve also been doing it in their video marketing, in a series of profile pieces about interesting real life individuals who have a special connection to nature. This time Ponytail Paul is the subject of their thoughtful and emotional piece of marketing.
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Images credit (under CCL) by order: EM’Força – Corremos com a EM