The most impactful solutions are made when people unite to solve a problem. What’s more, Innovation soars when attention and focus are pointed at making the world a better place. When businesses take both on, amazing things happen.
We’ve seen this come to life in companies like Tom’s Shoes. Having “giving” as a mission is becoming more in demand and more common, but it hasn’t taken hold in the outdoor, bike, snowsports, endurance or travel markets.
Many companies in these markets have devoted incredible resources and time to protection of the environment. Few, if any, have taken on a solutions-driven, ‘giving based’ approach with global societal issues like poverty alleviation.
Until about 20 months ago…
Enter Cotopaxi; a company with an iron-clad commitment to using the power of business to drive social change.
Entrepreneur Davis Smith wanted to build an authentic outdoor brand equally devoted to product and apparel innovation as it is to making the world a better place in Cotopaxi.
Smith grew up in an adventurous family that lived all over the world and enjoyed outdoor pursuits along the way. He spent time in other industries prior to founding Cotopaxi, but kept being drawn back into what he loved: outdoor adventure. He began to study a way in and found a huge opportunity for a brand that resonated with the millennial consumer.
Smith and his team at Cotopaxi know that millennials need their own outdoor brand instead of adopting the brands of their parents and grandparents. The right positioning for this brand was clearly values-based, nimble with product innovation and launches, and ultimately, a brand that literally exists to improve the world.
This is no small undertaking.
Pushing a new concept like this forward required a different approach to distribution and marketing.
Cotopaxi as a brand is all about providing an experience to its target market, which involves great products and adventure. But Cotopaxi’s customer also wants to be part of the experience of a brand that’s eradicating global poverty and giving back, literally through its grant programs, which fund global nonprofits that focus on three key areas: health, education, and livelihood.
Smith explains how this is unfolding for Cotopaxi in this amazing interview. Additionally, we dive into the incredible backstory of Cotopaxi, how they’ve carefully used offline events (“Questivals”) to promote their brand when it seems like everyone wants to focus online, how a sense of adventure connects people, and how they plan on changing the world going forward. Get ready to be inspired to do more good, to help others out who need it, and to live an adventurous life, on this episode of Intrepid Entrepreneur!
Enter to win one of two Luzon Del Dia, Cotopaxi’s best-selling pack!
This durable and versatile pack is made proudly in the Philippines by an employee who has total creative control over the pack’s colorway, plus, it’s made of remnant materials. Each one is unique! Davis loves this particular product because it embodies the spirit of giving back and showcases the awesome Cotopaxi team in the Philippines. Two lucky listeners will win this awesome pack, valued at $49.95! I’ll be announcing the winners the week of Feb. 15, 2016. Thanks!
Bravery in Business Quote
“We’re trying to build a business whose primary mission isn’t to generate a profit, but to make the world better.” – Chris Davis
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The Cliff Notes
- E-commerce can be challenging right now, because the cost of acquiring customers is rising
- Leveraging the offline aspect of your brand can be an important tool, and a way to stand out online
- Offline, local events can be a powerful way for people to understand a brand on a deep level
- Younger generations have a hard time identifying with older brands
- Millennials feel like they can change the world, and they will align with brands that feel the same way – This is GOOD!
- When you have a company that is involved in bringing change for the good to the world, it connects with an audience on a deep level
- Venture money is a numbers game. You simply have to pitch a lot of investors
- Venture capitalists are humans too, often with a real hunger to make the world a better place. Don’t underestimate the funding you can get for a business that is doing good in the world
- In much the way that fashion and technology have taken on the fast iteration mentality, Cotopaxi can stay ahead of the curve by testing and iterating fast on new products
- Adventure has the power to connect the world
(click to tweet)
Habit for Success
When your mission is to do good in the world, and consumers see you putting that first, they will align with that mission, and form a very strong connection with your brand.