Author Archives: kenprchal

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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Homeless In Seattle: A social media profile


(photo credit: Rex @ Homeless In Seattle)

Homeless In Seattle is an organization dedicated to promoting awareness of homelessness in greater Seattle.  Their objective is to humanize the issue by creating a narrative, profile, and high-def photograph of a different homeless individual virtually every day.





Content Calendar: As mentioned, they wish to publish a new piece once per day.  Their Facebook posts coincide with blog entries on their Tumblr page (follow link), and Twitter/Pinterest/Google+ activity is more sporadic.

Contributors: From what I can gather, the blog and all associated channels are all operated by a single contributor.

Message: By issuing profiles, photographs, and stories, the goal is to humanize his subjects, and help remind us all that we’re all just soulful people.  In doing so, the blog hopes to ultimately generate awareness and donations for other associated agencies.

Outreach: The target audience are Seattle locals, people with a conscience, those who may pass homeless brethren and perhaps next time consider stopping to share a dollar or a chat.



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Who’s Your Patty? Red Mill vs. Blue Moon Burgers




Red Mill and Blue Moon can both be classified as local, fast-gourmet burger chains.  Each has three locations in Seattle proper (though Blue Moon is soon opening a 4th).  Although Red Mill has a bit more history (est. 1937), both chains are revered as neighborhood staples, and regarded by many as ‘must trys’ for both locals and visitors alike.
Red Mill has developed a reputation as a Seattle culinary staple, having been touted as “one of 20 hamburgers to try before you die” according to both GQ Magazine and the Oprah Winfrey show.  Red Mill has also been featured on Travel Channel’s ‘Man Vs. Food’:

Given such press and fanfare, along with deep roots in the city, Red Mill most likely approaches social media much differently than Blue Moon.

Blue Moon Burgers are the new kids on the block.  Having only been in existence for around 5 years, they are inherently lesser known, and perhaps more in critical need of an effective social media platform.



Red Mill:

  • 206 Twitter followers
  • 104 Tweets
  • 6,570 Facebook likes
  • 27 Facebook posts since Jan 1st, ’14

Blue Moon:

  • 3,636 Twitter followers
  • 10,600 Tweets
  • 3,178 Facebook likes
  • 40 Facebook posts since Jan 1st, ’14
  • Foursquare Mayor receives free fries with every order
  • Diners may order take out through Twitter or Facebook

Outcome and Reaction:

Despite a 70 year head start and numerous national awards, and having proved the will to seek expansion, Red Mill appears stuck in the mud.  Perhaps slow and methodical growth is their game, but regardless, their social media and outreach appears to be dwarfed by newcomer Blue Moon.  Of course, Blue Moon has required social media tactics in order to succeed in such a highly competitive space.  But, as demonstrated time and time again, they’ve appeared to be consistent, transparent, attentive, and thorough in their approach.

To me, it’s no wonder why they’re continuing to expand even more so in 2014.  With such an enormous investment in social media, the word gets out fast… with ears come customers, and thus revenue.  Their reliance on social media in particular as a means of generating orders is quite novel, and something many competitors may soon be offering themselves.




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