Arc'teryx Brand Purpose Statement Case Study: How Important Is Simplifying & Clarifying A Purpose?
If you’ve ever read one of our posts (we highly recommend them!) or if you’ve ever sat down and had a chat with us, you know how important we believe a brand’s purpose is. We think it’s SO important that we’ve written an extensive blog post on it: Brand Purpose Statement Explained if you want to get into the details of it.
But have you ever wondered what a strong purpose statement looks like in action from a real-life big-brand outdoor business that actually lives and breathes its purpose?
In this case study post, we’ve taken a large outdoor brand’s purpose statement(s), dissected its true meaning, and applied Tortuga’s brand purpose framework using the exact steps and questions we use with our own clients in our brand field guide project.
The overall goal of this case study is to offer a unique perspective on what a well-known and BIG brand purpose statement can look like, see how it works (or doesn’t work), and demonstrate why simplification is often better than complexity when it comes to a brand’s purpose!
Curious about which brand we decided to conduct our case study on? Well, we decided to look at Arc’teryx’s brand purpose statement.
Disclaimer: Arcterex is not our client, nor did we speak to anyone at Arcterex for the purpose of this case study. We also highly respect them as a purpose-driven brand, and this blog is intended to break down our purpose process, not to question the nature of their purpose.
Who is Arc’teryx?
Arc’teryx is a Canadian-based, high-end specialty outdoor apparel and equipment company focusing on technical gear for more extreme outdoor sports and mountaineering.
They take a high-quality, design-by-doing approach to their products –and it shows. Their high-performance gear is centred around technically advanced functionality, durability, and design so it can “be able to withstand the toughest and harshest of weather conditions.” (440 Industries)
Arc’teryx is also HUGE on sustainability and social and environmental responsibility –and we’ll go ahead and say it, Arc’teryx rivals Patagonia in the environmental initiatives department.
The purpose (get it?) behind this case study is to unpack Arc’teryx purpose statement and apply our brand purpose frameworks, including a series of questions and methods to see if their purpose can be improved and how, or if it’s on point as is. We’ll give you a hint - we have some suggestions for improvement, but we’ll explain that more below.
Unpacking Arc’teryx Purpose Statement
Arc’teryx is a solid example of how a brand’s purpose is being used successfully by a huge outdoor brand. According to Outdoor Crunch, Arc’teryx’s thorough product research and development have led to a performance standard that is virtually unmatched in the outdoor apparel brand industry.
But does their purpose statement accurately reflect the entirety of what a true purpose should be?
Unfortunately, when brands get really big, they tend to get complex and lose the simplicity of what they stand for. While we did eventually uncover Arc’teryx’s true purpose statement, we really had to search for it on their website.
Arc'teryx Current Purpose Statement
Our central purpose is to build the finest products possible. At Arc’teryx, the goal is to create equipment that enables a person to be immersed in the moment of doing, regardless of external conditions. We build gear to last and endure the wildest conditions. Apparel & accessories with unparalleled designs engineered for elevated performance.
Don’t get us wrong, Arc’teryx purpose is solid, and they do a wicked job of living it out, but it could be better. Right now, it leans towards generic, and we believe it could be clearer. We also believe that it could speak more to the emotions of their customers and less towards the company's aim. Although it’s great to create gear that allows a person to be immersed in the moment of doing, we want to know what that means to the customer.
What does an Arc’teryx customer feel when they are immersed in the moment? What pain points brought them to seek out such high-quality outdoor gear? Why do they keep coming back to Arc’teryx?
By applying our brand purpose framework, we want to find the simplicity in Arc’teryx’s purpose and distill it into two simple statements that clearly reflect what Arc’teryx already does well.
Dissecting The Arc’teryx Purpose Statement Using Tortuga’s Brand Purpose Framework
Using the Arc’teryx purpose statement from above, we want to conduct a simple two-step process to differentiate and define Arc’teryx’s purpose statement and ultimately, improve it!
Our framework begins with identifying two halves or two different perspectives of a brand’s purpose. There is the business side, where you focus on the impact you want to have on your customers' lives, and there is the global side, where you focus on the impact you want your business to have on the world –these are also known as a business purpose and a higher purpose.
By looking at Arc’teryx’s purpose statement from above, you can see they have lightly touched on their business purpose, but they haven’t addressed their higher purpose at all –even though they have one and take action towards it at all levels of their business.
Let’s see how we can improve each half of their purpose statement by using our brand purpose framework.
Arc’teryx Business Purpose
First, it’s important to understand what a business purpose is and how we define it here at Tortuga Creative Studios.
A business purpose is the practical and emotional value customers receive through a company's products. A brand’s business purpose should be about the impact they have on their audience's lives because this is what will increase the impact they will have on the planet. It’s the problem they solve for their customers, and it also encompasses why this brand started its business in the first place.
Tortuga’s Brand Purpose Framework To Discover A Business Purpose
To understand Arc’teryx’s Business Purpose, we need to answer a few key questions.
Who is their customer?
Outdoor adventurers and enthusiasts (like snowboarders, skiers, hikers, mountaineers, climbers, trail runners, etc.) who thrive in the natural environment.
What does Arc’teryx help them with?
By developing and creating high-quality, well-designed, and high-end outdoor apparel and gear that matches the various extremes of the environmental conditions they adventure in, Arc’teryx enables their customers to concentrate on their current outdoor activity rather than their physical condition.
What emotion do they want their audience to have with the end result they deliver?
Arcteryx enables people to be immersed in the moment of adventure, regardless of conditions, without worrying or stressing about their situation because they are confident in their gear. They can experience the full enjoyment of the outdoors with products that are easy to use and stylish yet durable and functional in every environment –from humid rainforests to the dry high-alpine.
How could this emotion impact their lives?
Because Arc’teryx apparel and gear are perfectly crafted for each adventure, whether it’s hiking, mountaineering, climbing or something else, they‘ve created the possibility for adventuring to become more comfortable and therefore, more desirable and sought after.
When your clothes are well-designed with high-quality materials made for extreme outdoor conditions, you won’t think twice about ice climbing with friends on the weekends.
Does this have a knock-on effect elsewhere in their lives?
Because of the high-quality gear and apparel Arc’teryx creates, their customers know they can trust Arc’teryx products enough to go out and enjoy the outdoors without worrying about what they’re wearing, allowing for a full, undistracted, and immersive experience in nature. Wearing Arc’teryx means they can fully focus on what they love and be present in their adventure, regardless of the weather.
How does this knock-on effect impact them practically?
Arc’teryx customers are more easily able to do more of what they love and have more high-quality experiences in the outdoors.
Based on what they do for their customers, what is the largest impact that Arc’teryx can have on their lives?
Making the extreme outdoor environments (and associated sports) more accessible and enjoyable with gear that is functional, durable, and intuitive.
Arc’teryx [New & Improved] Business Purpose Statement:
Arc’teryx is committed to helping outdoor adventurers who are looking for gear they can trust. By providing high-quality, well-designed, and high-end outdoor apparel and gear that matches the various extremes of the environmental conditions they adventure in, we help our customers have undistracted and immersive experiences which allow them to feel more joy and less worry while adventuring in the outdoors.
Arc’teryx Higher Purpose
Similar to our process with the business purpose from above, it’s important to understand what a higher purpose is and how we define it here at Tortuga Creative Studios.
A higher purpose is the global cause or challenge that a company is willing to be an ambassador for. It goes beyond what their business does (like creating high-quality apparel and gear) and focuses more on the bigger picture of how they want their business to positively impact something on a global scale.
Tortuga’s Brand Purpose Framework To Discover A Higher Purpose
What is the core global issue our audience is concerned with?
Is there a sub-issue that is more relevant to Arc’teryx’s audience?
By targeting outdoor enthusiasts, Arc’teryx taps into their customers' values around conservation, environmental protection, sustainability, and overall planetary health. In particular, Arc’teryx makes a huge effort to incorporate sustainability into its production and life cycle process.
According to their Sustainability Page, Arc’teryx is “guided by design, community, science and passion, we have committed to halve our environmental footprint and grow our positive social impact. We align with the circularity principles of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and are pursuing circularity as part of our path to net zero.”
What is their belief on that issue?
The environment is the playground for both their customers and their employees and therefore needs to be protected and conserved for this generation of outdoor adventurers and the ones that come after.
By making their products with the best materials and creating the most refined and durable products possible, Arc’teryx empowers their customers to keep their gear in play for years.
What is the link between the Arc’teryxbrand and that issue?
Arc’teryx lives and breathes their purpose of being good ancestors, empowering people to find inspiration in nature, design and one another, acknowledging our interdependence with one another and the living world, and achieving climate justice by addressing global inequities.
This belief is ingrained in their company at all levels through the materials they use, the designs they develop, the wages they give, the people they hire, and the advocation for change they engage in. Their actions showcase their values and their purpose and naturally attract the loyalty of customers who are equally passionate about the same issues.
What most relevant shared belief that they have with their audience can they make an impact on?
Arc’teryx [New & Improved] Higher Purpose Statement:
Arc’teryx is dedicated to supporting climate action, responsible consumption and production, and reduction in inequalities by focusing on building a sustainable product life cycle. We support our higher-purpose through the act of developing environmentally and socially responsible products that last.
Arc’teryx As A Purpose-Driven Brand
Overall, Arc’teryx has an extremely good grip on its business and higher purpose, it’s just not necessarily simple and clear to see on its website They’ve provided so much information surrounding their purpose that they’ve lost the simplicity of their purpose statement along the way.
However, once we identified and clarified the two halves of their purpose, we can see that Arc’teryx is a solid example of how higher purpose and business purpose are being used successfully by a huge outdoor brand, and we truly believe they are a model that other outdoor brands could (and should) follow.
As a sustainable outdoor business, you should consider both what you stand for on an environmental level and what you stand for when it comes to your customers. Arc’teryx is a great example of this, and they showcase their values and purpose by living and breathing them through their actions towards a better future.