As digital marketers, we love working with outdoor brands. They inspire us to produce digital content, paid strategies, and design work that connects their businesses with their communities online and in nature. To help rugged brands with their digital marketing needs, we are highlighting five companies that impressed us by producing ethically curated content focused on sustainability, community, and socially responsible messaging made by thoughtful digital marketers. 

1. Patagonia 

Yvon Chouinard founded Patagonia in 1973 as a rock climbing company that put ethical business practices at the forefront of their marketing efforts. Today, Chouinard and Patagonia uphold the same environment and moral business standards they started with over 25 years ago. They do this by executing digital marketing strategies that resonate with their target audiences and creating thoughtful content that conveys that they are much more than an outdoor brand selling sleek jackets.  

Patagonia inspired digital marketers after launching Action Works (a web platform for environmental grassroots organizations), publicly supporting innovative family leave policies, and protesting digitally by closing their online store to protect and increase awareness of Utah’s beautiful landscapes. They also have a badass social media presence and blogs that give outdoor enthusiasts and part-time hikers exhilarating content from around the world. And like us, Patagonia is a B-Corp Certified company that doesn’t shy away from promoting their environmental initiatives and social responsibilities on their website and beyond.

2. Tentree  

Another fellow B-Corp, Tentree, is a sustainable outdoors company that does digital right by staying true to its mission to produce earth-first clothing. They do this by creating social media and web content rooted in promoting their ambition to plant one billion trees by 2030, advertising their sustainable manufacturing process, and partnering with charitable organizations around the world that supports several restoration projects.  

What’s excellent about Tentree’s digital content is that it often focuses on the outdoor experience by using marketing tactics that protect and preserve nature instead of trying to sell you something overtly. In a landmark example of brand awareness, they held an Earth Week Instagram campaign that subverted their clothing altogether and asked their followers to like an image of a tree in exchange for planting one in real life. The post was such a hit that it became one of Instagram’s most successful posts historically and generated 15.5 million likes and 400,000 new followers over five days. 

Instagram's most successful content

3. REI  

REI has always cultivated community by running their business as a co-op that reinvests profits back into their employees, nonprofits, trail restoration projects, and hundreds of outdoor groups. Their digital marketing teams use those same philosophies, but they leverage their community in a way that’s changed how outdoor brands–and digital marketers–use social media by maximizing user-generated content. 

They did this by owning hashtags like #OptOutside, #REIchallenge, and others that encourage people to share their outdoor adventures online (#OptOutside has since been used over 14 million times on Instagram alone). REI then shares that content on their social media profiles and elsewhere to spread brand awareness to millions. At the same time, their highly-engaged community freely advertises the REI brand on personal profiles in posts that reach even more eyes. In addition to their groundbreaking social media efforts, they also have educational and high-quality blog content covering everything from SEO-topics like camping gear for your dog to personal outdoor experiences. 

4. Fjällräven

The Swedish-based company Fjällräven thoughtfully balances their digital presence with socially responsible messaging and Nordic outdoor nerdiness. You’ll often find them promoting and supporting nonprofits like the Beach Clean Network, The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, and combating the effects of climate change through The Arctic Fox Initiative alongside online advertisements of mountaineers wearing their sleek arctic gear. 

Fjällräven’s digital branding works because it captures Åke Nordin’s– Fjällräven’s owner–passion for nature and conservation. Instead of simply promoting images of their signature Kanken backpacks, they avoid pushy sales speak by keeping sustainable design and production at the forefront of their online experience while producing engaging digital content that captures their products in the great outdoors.

5. Danner Boots 

Danner does a fantastic job of creating a digital experience that’s very much rooted in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps most impressive is how they leverage user-generated content and produce digital media to tell regional stories that implicitly communicate their homegrown branding and passion for the outdoors. Blogs covering company values, high-quality videos showcasing Oregon culture, and backcountry social media content collects to make a package that positions them as a leader in Northwest digital marketing.  

Outdoor Digital Marketing Done Right 

We love seeing outdoor brands become more ethically conscious and socially responsible with their digital marketing efforts. Does your outdoor brand need help online? Reach out to us by using our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.