This article is part of CMO.com’s November series about commerce and consumerism. Click here for more.
For this week’s episode of “Marketing Today,” I spoke with Davis Smith, founder and CEO of Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear company with a humanitarian mission at its core. It was Smith’s experience growing up and later serving missions in countries including the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Bolivia—where he witnessed extreme poverty firsthand—that planted the seeds for his career path and the eventual founding of Cotopaxi.
Smith described Cotopaxi as a brand “that is about inspiring people to go out and do good. We’re a brand that believes that capitalism can be a force for good in the world—a brand that believes that businesses need to look beyond their bottom lines to try to find ways they can impact their communities and people around the world.”
About his values-driven approach, Smith added, “I’m still learning ... but I think if all of us start making these efforts, man, what a wonderful world we’ll live in.”
Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:
- Smith talks about witnessing poverty in the Dominican Republic as a child and realizing he wasn’t any different than those kids, just luckier. (1:30)
- The story of Edgar and his shoe-shine kit, a memory that fuels Smith’s deep-seated feeling of responsibility. (2:52)
- What led Smith down the entrepreneurial path. (5:57)
- Doing good through the mechanism of business. (9:58)
- Capitalism as a force for good while also being incredibly destructive—to people and the planet. (12:34)
- How Cotopaxi builds its do-good mission into every aspect of the brand. (14:47)
- Cotopaxi isn’t looking to steal share, so what motivates it? (19:24)
- Cotopaxi as a digitally native vertical brand. (24:26)
- The future of marketing and connecting with consumers using offline experiences. (31:00)