Wilderness Chic: Patagonia vs. The North Face





Patagonia and The North Face:  Competing high-end outdoor apparel companies with retail presence across North America.

Both companies are based in California, were founded within five years of one another (Patagonia in 1973 and The North Face in 1968), and each has a certain cult following.  The North Face maintains a brand that reflects a general affinity for the outdoors.  In contrast, Patagonia’s brand is more representative of environmentalism and conscientious living.  Each has retail presence in Seattle.

Here is a comparative breakdown of each company’s social overall social media metrics:



Tweets: 6,169
Photos/Videos: 618
Following: 2,139
Followers: 160K
370k FB likes
# of US retail locations: 30


Tweets: 6,916
Photos/Videos: 531
Following: 1,237
Followers: 197K
3.9m FB likes / 29k visits
# of US retail locations: 40


Using Topsy to run a deeper comparison over the past month, the explicit Twitter mentions follow similar patterns (and aptly appear similar to a mountain range).


The ebbs and flows of the chart may simply reflect a greater propensity to interact during weekdays than over weekends.  Perhaps Social Media Management does not work weekends, and perhaps just as well twitter users understand this fact.


In order to measure the overall impact of each campaign, we’ll turn to Klout.

Though each score is relatively high, Patagonia’s presence (89) is slightly greater than that of North Face (84).

Image  Image

With similar engagement stats for both Twitter and Facebook, it’s worth diving into a few of the other networks to see where this discrepancy may be rooted.  Each being Outdoor apparel companies, and the outdoors at times projecting brilliant aesthetics, I chose to examine Instagram:



It’s quite clear now: despite a similar number of posts, and despite following half as many accounts, Patagonia has more than 2x the number of followers as The North Face.  To me, this clearly represents a brand much more in tune with the millennial generation.  Perhaps they also feature more beautiful photography.  Regardless, this is undoubtedly an issue for The North Face, and they need to figure out how to match Patagonia’s numbers.









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