What makes a brand become popular again? Is it a group of mavericks that rediscover and reapropriate a brand from days gone by or something else? Lately, I’ve rediscovered such a brand, The North Face. By the time I started to get into climbing The North Face had already sold out to those of us at the core of the market. We thought there were just too many posers wearing the brand. From posers the brand then became hot in the urban market. It looked like TNF would be another washed up brand that chased the mass market. Being in the outdoor business, the business story of TNF was just as circuitous, jumping from owner to owner all wanting to grow revenue any way possible.
As a board member of both the American Mountain Guides Association and Black Diamond Equipment I’ve had the good fortune of staying in the loop of what people talk about when it comes to the best gear. In the last six months, The North Face is a brand that is a part of that conversation.
How did this happen?
With all of the effort put into chasing the masses it still anchored itself in the outdoor business by attending the Outdoor Retailer show, when most big brands were walking away, and continued the dialogue with the core market. TNF also stayed committed to its team of outdoor athletes, supporting their adventures, and using their stories to stay connected.
The North Face is getting the opportunity to have it’s cake and eat it too by staying connected to the authenticity of the core market and using it to inspire the rest of their customers.