From summiting peaks to redefining exploration

The North Face needed to remain a global trailblazer by reaching the next generation of explorers

Since 1966, The North Face has made a name for themselves as an inventive, outdoor-apparel icon. With the growth of their category and an increase in competition, The North Face needed to preserve their position as a distinctive industry leader while scaling the business globally.

We shifted The North Face’s definition of exploration from a daring physical feat to a bold mindset anyone can embrace

The North Face had a longstanding tagline: “Never Stop Exploring.” We found that exploration is much more than just a willingness to climb mountains; it’s the combination of curiosity and courage in action and is a mindset that can be adopted regardless of experience or background. Equipped with this key insight, we helped them consider “exploration” in a more inclusive way. The North Face is now able to serve more people, having expanded the context of “exploration” beyond physical space to one of personal engagement.

Through storytelling, we tied The North Face’s heritage to their fresh vision for the future

We brought to life this broadened relationship with “exploration” through five brand principles and a refreshed purpose — Dare to Lead the World Forward Through Exploration — along with an inspiring purpose narrative. For the final component, we designed a brand pyramid that placed purpose at the peak and organized strategy across the company.

The North Face used purpose as a compass to orient their people strategy

The North Face launched their purpose internally through initiatives like “Explore Days” (a program giving employees time off for exploration), purpose-driven recruiting efforts, and culture-preservation programs while relocating their headquarters. Externally, the company rolled out a global marketing campaign that targeted diverse “new explorers,” celebrating those conquering the steepest mountains to city streets.

To get closer to the company’s goal that exploration be enjoyed by all, The North Face greatly escalated their ESG efforts

Increasing Exploration Equity
They significantly expanded their Explore Fund with a $7 million pledge to further DEI efforts and access to outdoor exploration.

Leading Sustainable Innovation
They extended their investment in diverting textiles from landfills through their Renewed Circular Model which restores used clothing to like-new condition.

Moving Mountains Together
They made DEI commitments to their employees and their partners by featuring more ethnic, racial, and gender diversity in the climbers sponsored on their athlete team as well as a “She Moves Mountains” campaign championing female explorers.

The North Face built climbing walls, provided grants, and created adventure badges for The Girl Scouts to help youth get outside.
They pioneered FUTURELIGHT, a fabric crafted with 90% recycled materials.
And they are continually designing new products made with wool from regenerative farms.

BCG BrightHouse opened the aperture of our brand to think about the larger, more meaningful role we need to play for our employees, consumers, communities, and the planet…. Being purpose-led will not only allow us to connect more emotionally with our consumers but also fuel our long-term growth.

Arne Arens
Former Global Brand President

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