When Craig Rowley moved over to REI after 25 years on the agency side—at creative shops including Carmichael Lynch, Borders Perrin Norrander, and Saatchi & Saatchi—he was already pretty familiar with the company: He credits classes he took at REI with helping him summit Mount Rainier.
For Rowley, vice president of marketing, REI is the perfect fit: a purpose-driven brand that isn’t all about the transaction. “Any company that taps into what people are passionate about in a brand—Is there a higher purpose that they stand for? Are they good corporate citizens? Do they treat their employees well?—All these things matter,” Rowley said.
He went on to add: “There’s a tension in that. You’re kind of forcing people to make a choice or take a side. And when you do that sort of thing, I think it gets you noticed and kind of burns you into people’s souls.”
Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:
- Rowley talks about creating an agency vibe within a client culture. (3:24)
- Building brands today: “It’s not just about selling stuff.” (5:28)
- Purpose-built branding: “It’s not for the faint of heart.” (8:09)
- Rowley’s take on the experience economy: “People are moving away from buying stuff to buying experiences.” (18:51)
- “Any brand can have a purpose that is meaningful and matters.” (24:39)
- How brands win: Sharing values to create customer loyalty. (28:25)
Read related interview: “Ben Steele Blazes New Trail As REI’s First Chief Creative Officer”