Communicating the Outdoors: Company Puts Action Behind Hashtag Branding

Communicating the Outdoors: Company Puts Action Behind Hashtag Branding

In an effort to stop Black Friday’s encroachment on Thanksgiving, a few stores plan to lock their doors this coming Thursday. Among these nonconformists stand IKEA, Petco and Staples, all of whom refuse to open before Black Friday dawns.

However, only one store has made the decision to close on Black Friday as well. Continuing the movement started in 2015, Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) plans to spend Black Friday 2016 encouraging others to go outside and play instead of shop. The company’s Black Friday webpage opens: “Will you go out with us on Black Friday? To opt is to choose. Outside over inside. Adventures over things. This Black Friday, REI is closing to #OptOutside.” Under its initial Black Friday statement sits a “Join Us Outside” button. Last year, 1.4 million people pledged to join the movement. So far, 1,967,940 individuals have clicked the button to support the cause and spend Black Friday outside, and the number continues to climb.

Recreational Equipment Index 1

REI Logo

REI continues to highlight its #OptOutside movement because the sentiment intimately aligns with its brand. REI began in the hands of 23 mountain climbing friends, and it continues to spread the original ideals of active, outdoor play today. On its website, the company proudly writes: “At REI, we inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.”

Not only does REI create and sell satisfaction-guaranteed outdoor recreational equipment, but the company also dedicates time and money to making outdoor fun a reality. Throughout the year, REI sends volunteers, including staff members, out to build trails, clean beaches and restore local habitats. And, on Black Friday, the company goes the extra mile to encourage people to #OptOutside.

REI’s Black Friday website includes the participant count, a video of diverse individuals participating in a variety of outdoor activities and a gallery of uploaded pictures. A “Tell the World” section allows participants to upload their Black Friday pictures to the website in categories like hiking, biking, running, skiing, snowboarding, climbing, camping and paddling. To even further motivate interested parties, REI provides outdoor ideas. Anyone can input their zip code or desired activity into the customized search bar and receive a list of potential ways to locally #OptOutside.

The founders built REI on the premise of outdoor adventure, and that dedication to quality experiences continues to push the company today. The company’s Black Friday decision to close stores, give all employees a paid day off and provide lists of local ways to get outside, reinforces the REI brand. REI products and programs all communicate a very clear reverence for the outdoors. Even though no other store may close on Black Friday, REI plans to do just that in order to effectively communicate the importance of enjoying the world.