Gone are the days when businesses should operate without acknowledging — and serving — the customers and communities that ensure they continue to exist.
The expectations of audiences today have changed dramatically compared to those of just a few decades ago. For better or worse, people expect companies they support to share at least some of their cultural and social values.
Our answer to this call is the concept of "Good Corporate Citizenship". We hold it to be one of our four core brand pillars, and it's an idea that intrigues us to explore and excites us to explain.
A Bridge Between Audiences and Businesses
Modern audiences look to align what they consume and who they support with their own internal beliefs. They see purchases as a vote of confidence toward companies and want to know that the businesses which they support make an effort to be a positive force in the world.
However, taking a stance on social issues can be something of a tightrope walk for modern businesses. Any position you take that might resonate with one group inherently risks alienating another. For the purely financially minded, it's best to stay vague on sensitive topics to appeal to both sides.
Yet what we define as "Good Corporate Citizenship" doesn't require any inflammatory stances to be held, but can be best understood as an enduring connection between a business and the local community. Regardless of the politics of the day or individual beliefs, a business can always return value to the local community by sharing its resources and supporting local initiatives.
The Ties of Obligation
Before a sale is ever made or a product is ever ordered, all companies are tied to several strings of obligation.
First and foremost, there lies an obligation to customers. A company must provide what they promised when they promised to a customer, or it isn't likely to last long in any sector.
The second tie of obligation is the connection between a business and its stakeholders and investors. To these individuals or groups, companies owe that they act in a manner they believe will most likely return their investments.
Finally, is to the local communities involved with a company. This means where the product is produced, where the offices and warehouses are located, and all the places where the countless gears turn to allow the business to be physically possible and flow.
Often this final group is overlooked, but we see it as equally vital for a business to not just be successful but ethically sound in the modern business world.
Community Support and Transparency
Before a business can flourish around the world, it needs to function well at home.
Local communities are invaluable to any brand as they grow from an idea to a full-fledged business. They provide their direct feedback on products and services as they develop, and lend character to a brand as it develops its unique identity.
Transparency helps fill in the gaps for both in-person and digital audiences to understand how a business lives and breaths. As wonderful as digital connections are, there's inherently some distance to them, but transparency in communication can help fill this gap for supporters. Whether it's good or bad news, we feel that our supporters deserve to know the whole story behind our workings.
Community support and transparency are crucial for a company to stand the test of time. An earnest commitment to both ideals is what we like to call "Good Corporate Citizenship".
A long-term play and two-way street
It's easy to go fast and only keep eyes only locked on growth ahead, hopping from one project and seeing the only measure of success in sales and massive scaling.
However, we believe in taking things slow, building methodically, and giving the time necessary for roots to grow deep and strong. Of course, we look to branch out and are eager to expand, but never as the cost of sacrificing our support of local communities who first believed in and supported us.
By holding true to ideals like "Good Corporate Citizenship" we aim to be a positive force in the outdoor apparel world for years to come.