Brand Jam



Naima Wilson

Jamming brand with Patagonia


SCOTT OXFORD: 00:00.000 Today's episode of BrandJam was recorded long distance via Zoom, and the internet wasn't our friend. So there're a few clicks and a few buzzers, but push through, it's an awesome episode. [music] Good day. I'm Scott Oxford. Welcome to BrandJam, the podcast where we jam about brand because brand is our jam. [music] I'm a bought-in unashamed, story-loving brand evangelist. By day, I head strategy and creative for New Word Order, an Australian brand and creative agency. So I live and breathe brand every day, and talking to people who own, manage, or empower brands is my happy place. One of the more personal questions I ask every guest on this podcast is, "What's a brand we trust." Amongst the wide variety of answers, there is one brand that has come up more than any other and that's outdoor apparel company, Patagonia.

NAIMA WILSON: 00:54.088 You have to be true in what you do, not just what you say.

SCOTT OXFORD: 00:54.287 Everyone has their own reasons, but I wanted to get to the heart of what this brand is about and why it's earned the trust of so many. So today, I'm jamming with Naima Wilson, marketing director at Patagonia Australia and New Zealand, where she's charged with amplifying the outdoor apparel company's mission and values throughout the region. Naima has over 17 years of experience in the surf, action sports, and fashion industries, having held various roles in Australia and Europe, from sourcing to brand management. Joining Patagonia in 2015, today she oversees all marketing channel strategies and the running of environmental and sports campaigns. She's strategically guided regional environmental campaigns such as Takayna, to protect Tasmania's Tarkine region, and Big Oil Don't Surf, a fight against drilling in the Great Australian Bight, which resulted in oil conglomerate, Equinor, abandoning its drilling plans in 2009. She holds a master’s degree from France's renowned ESC Pau business school, which included a year's study in São Paulo, Brazil, specialising in international trade and marketing strategy. This experience has helped her forge a diverse business acumen, creative mind and to develop in-depth understanding of global cultures and markets. She currently lives in Jan Juc, what a cool name is that? It's on Victoria's surf coast where she enjoys surfing, trail running, mountain biking, all wearing Patagonia, I'm sure, and spending time with her husband and two young children. Naima, welcome to BrandJam.

NAIMA WILSON: 02:21.280 Hi Scott. Thanks for having me.

SCOTT OXFORD: 02:26.184 No. It's great to have you. I've been keen to have Patagonia on for ages, and you are deeply involved in all things brand. So I'm going to start by asking you the question, why do you think that your brand's trusted by so many?

NAIMA WILSON: 02:43.536 I guess Patagonia has been in business for coming up to 48 years, and since we started, we've been committed to using our company as a tool to reduce environmental impact. And I guess we've been ethically consistent. I believe the more consistent you are with your brand, or the more consistent the brand is, the more recognisable it is to your consumer, and it provides this sense of reliability. This really helps your customers to get to know your brand better and, almost, to get to know the brand on a personal level. The other thing that striked me when I started at Patagonia was the company transparency. I think it's actually quite unusual. It's really easy to say you are transparent as a company, but it's actually really hard to put it in practice and to demonstrate that. I guess that sort of radical ongoing commitment, because you have-- your customers will hold you accountable once you created that relationship with them, and it's a relationship that is not just based on price and goods, it's not just transactional and that create that trust and that loyalty. The other thing, I guess for me was authenticity. We got to start as a small mountain climbing equipment company and we were a tiny company. We had a customer base that was made up of friends of friends, of friends, and we developed very early this way to talk to our customers. The way we wrote in our catalogues, it was essential for us to treat our customers like our friends and adults. And it's something that we carried into the business till today and that we maintained.

SCOTT OXFORD: 04:19.216 Yeah. That in fact is what I guess sort of said. It was that, that they did see that you're a transparent company that actually lives your values. And the fascinating thing about values is that they're, largely just guide, the people we hire and our behaviour. But it's when the rubber hits the road, when things get challenging or when you have to actually test those values and not be found wanting. And I think that's the key as an organisation. You've opened your story up, and you've sort of involve people, but I love the fact that you talk about customers as friends, because that is a unique relationship in terms of, we look after our friends, we're fair and honest with our friends and yeah. So for you, that's clearly part of what attracted you to Patagonia in the first place.

NAIMA WILSON: 05:22.639 Yeah, for sure. I think working in an environment where honesty and truth and integrity are really important really resonated with me. And I also think that it's just that sense of purpose. And that was really, I guess, something that I was looking for in business.

SCOTT OXFORD: 05:44.515 So I know that Patagonia values across the board align with your own. And clearly, you're someone who does the outdoor lifestyle. So the clothing in itself, even without the rest of it is important to you, but across the board, it sounds to me like you get an opportunity to pursue I guess, a personal mission through the work mission because of that alignment.

NAIMA WILSON: 06:12.908 Yeah. Every employee's on a different journey. A lot of us love the outdoors and the ocean. So our direct engagement with nature make it natural. Sorry about the redundant word there. I'm definitely not a hardcore mountain biker or mountaineer, but I love getting outside and try to reconnect with nature on a regular basis, and our mission as a company-- I don't know if you know what our mission statement is. It's, "We're in business to save our home planet." It creates the sense of purpose. Together we are kind of working for the greater of the common good and beyond the connection with nature again, is that integrity and honesty that is kind of a guiding compass with everything we do every day in the company.

SCOTT OXFORD: 07:07.578 Yeah. I particularly love that you guys run campaigns that really put that purpose into action in terms of not just existing and making daily decisions that are supportive of the home planet, but also you put funds and effort and time and the Patagonia brand behind actual change. And can you tell me about one of your favourite campaigns that you've been a part of? Maybe it's that one I mentioned in the intro, but yeah where you've been able to sort of see the power of the collective consumer who support Patagonia in action through campaigns that you produce?

NAIMA WILSON: 07:51.522 Yeah. For us it's more important to get the environmental story out, more than the Patagonia brand, and before all we'd like to emphasise storytelling and spotlight the environmental causes we care about. And that's probably why some of my highlights working at Patagonia was to support grassroots, environmental groups, across Australia. And there's a couple of campaigns I worked on in the recent year. They actually happened in the same year. One was to make takayna/Tarkine, in the northwest of Tasmania, a World Heritage-listed site. It's still a fight that is ongoing, and we continue to support that campaign. And the other one was to fight against oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight. And it resulted by bringing new audiences and making people aware of that important issue and making Equinor, which was one of the oil drilling companies, to withdraw from the project. And what I like about what I do, is really bringing new people and lead them to action. One of my favourite quotes from Yvon Chouinard, who is our founder, is actually, "The cure for depression is action." And I really think human beings are really only happy when they're acting, and when we feel agency, and when we feel a sense of responsibility. When we feel we can put our stamp on something. That can really bring change.

SCOTT OXFORD: 09:26.643 Yeah. Yeah. And that's the thing, that as individuals we can feel quite powerless, and when a platform exists with like-minded people who are pursuing the same goals and same outcomes, there's real power there. In preparation for this episode, I was down at Burleigh Heads, which is by the ocean, and took the time to explore one of your stores, and I'm very familiar with the product, and I even have a staff member who is constantly wearing it. And I had a really good chat. He's a bit like you, he's not a mountain climber, but he just said to me, "It aligns with my values. I like what they stand for, and you know what, the clothes are good [laughter]. They do what they say." And that's the other side to it.

NAIMA WILSON: 10:08.002 It is simple. Yeah. Communicate simply about your values and as you said, you find like-minded people. A brand for me is about building community but also understanding that your role as a brand is not just having a relationship with your customers but also facilities that community and those relationships between customers. We know we attract like-minded people and you're part of something bigger together.

SCOTT OXFORD: 10:38.418 Yeah. And that's the great thing about a brand is that most of your clothes would have some element of a logo on them. So it's almost a person wearing Patagonia sees someone else wearing Patagonia and there's a pretty good chance they're going to be kind of part of the same tribe. And that's where--

NAIMA WILSON: 10:55.977 Sure.

SCOTT OXFORD: 10:56.178 --the real positivity of badging, I guess, in terms of brand, where it helps people identify that there's someone who shares their-- and in this case, it's not just shares their taste in clothes, but probably shares something bigger than that. And there's that, sort of, that purpose. I just want to pick up what you're saying, it's pretty powerful to be able to get an oil company to withdraw from drilling. That's amazing.

NAIMA WILSON: 11:25.787 We didn't do it on our own. [laughter]

SCOTT OXFORD: 11:28.256 I was going to say, you must've joined with more like-minded people in order to do that.

NAIMA WILSON: 11:32.243 Yeah, our role is to support grassroots environmental groups, they're the true heroes. And they are the ones that are the forefront of those battles. To put the spotlight on their work. In that case, we know that our coastal and surf audience really care about their backyards and that's a new audience that we brought to the campaign and a lot of-- surprisingly, a lot of people living in those area didn't know about that issue. And it's similar to the Tarkine. We brought the trail-running community, which is one of our core sports to that issue and really kind of showing them that they can use their running as a tool to protect wild places.

SCOTT OXFORD: 12:16.328 Yeah.

NAIMA WILSON: 12:17.847 So we stand behind grassroots, environmental group. We are part of 1% for the Planet. Company founder Yvon Chouinard founded 1% for the Planet with Craig Matthews in 1985. We give 1% of our sales every year to grassroots environmental groups. And to this date, it totals to over $110 million.

SCOTT OXFORD: 12:43.447 Yeah, I was going say you're truly global company. And so that is a significant-- that's a significant amount of money. And so, Patagonia, I assume, is all over the world, but it's a relatively new brand to Australia, isn't it?

NAIMA WILSON: 12:58.503 Yes, we've been in Australia for over 10 years. But we really seen, I guess, significant growth and I guess, activity in the last five to six years.

SCOTT OXFORD: 13:10.119 Yeah. And has-- this is a strange question to ask. But I wonder if the impact of COVID which really gave us all a reason to get outdoors and into wild places when we're allowed rather than sitting in front of televisions or going to work, did that did that have an impact on you, as an organisation that's really promoting sort of outdoors and wild places?

NAIMA WILSON: 13:35.152 It did have, I would say, a positive impact because of the industry and the sports we're into, because people, as you said, are kind of turning to the sports and kind of try to get out as soon as they can.

SCOTT OXFORD: 13:50.760 Yeah, and look, as different parts of the company open up. I'll admit that, here in Queensland, we just have been incredibly lucky, and we get to spend time outdoors. I do know that we've all become a little bit more casual and even-- people like me, I spend a lot more time working outdoors, and it's interesting, I need more kind of-- I need more Patagonia pullovers to keep me sort of warm on cold days and the like, but-- I mean, sort of enjoying that. But the point being is that Australia's going to open up and as we start to learn to live with COVID rather than thinking that we can beat it, we will be getting out and about more and face-to-face more and there'll be more and more of those opportunities. And as you say, it's just keeping things connected in the meantime and sticking to what it is that you stand for, and so I want to come to-- we talked all about purpose and I talked to various different mission driven or purpose led businesses, and how would you say that a purpose driven business is different to, say, other businesses who have a purpose but not big P purpose?

NAIMA WILSON: 15:10.072 The environmentally and socially conscious business space is increasingly populated, and I guess if we want to rise above all the noise about purpose, you have to keep sharing why you're in business and obviously that's something we take really seriously, given our reason of being is to save our home planet. Creative and messaging have to be really engaging, I think, to break through nowadays, you also have to be really transparent in showing you have done the work to back up what you're saying. You have been building your customer's trust, and you need to deliver to maintain that. You have to be true in what you do, not just what you say. I believe in not sugar-coating your message as well and being bold. If you believe it, you say it. I also don't believe that every company needs to be as radical as Patagonia but in this time where expectations are on businesses to act responsibly, those expectations are very high. In many cases I think that has forced businesses to listen to their customers better, to their communities and their employees and customers and all those same people can see that through greenwashing, pinkwashing, you name it. And they can also see which businesses and companies are looking at more than just for themselves. I'm not sure if I'm answering your question.

SCOTT OXFORD: 16:47.308 Yeah. No, no, absolutely because there are many, many ways that we can find out a brand now that we haven't had in the past. There's not as many places to hide, there's a lot of organisations who are really sort of shining a light on different brands and again, a bunch of guests recently have all talked about emerging consumer generations, obviously Gen Y has well emerged, but Gen Zs, as they become a consumer, a decision-making power who are not just interested in purpose now, they're absolutely driven by it, and they're absolutely committed to finding out and supporting brands that are fair dinkum and are doing the right thing. But as a purpose-driven brand, your brand began at a time where that was probably quite rare, I'd imagine. So Patagonia is a real, sort of was a real sort of leading light. And do you know enough about the history, I guess, to talk about whether Patagonia was fairly alone in being purpose-driven, or whether there were other businesses that really picked up where they were the leading?

NAIMA WILSON: 18:05.274 Yeah, I guess so. Even 10 years ago or six years ago, when I started working at Patagonia, it was quite-- it's not something that was common. And it's pretty common now. I think many new brands come to us saying they're so inspired by Patagonia. And sometimes they say when they get to a certain size, they're going to do what we do. But what I would suggest to new brands is start with the brand purpose immediately. And I'm just referencing Yvon Chouinard-- our founder-- saying, "You have to start right from the beginning." Yvon’s experience made our purpose at the centre of our brand from the very start. And I can tell you a bit more about our brand story and how we came to have that purpose as a brand.

SCOTT OXFORD: 18:56.636 I'd love you to, yeah.

NAIMA WILSON: 18:57.006 So Yvon has climbed in many places, including Patagonia. And when, I guess in 1968, Yvon made it what was back then, I think the third ascent of mount Fitzroy which is the high peak on the skyline in Patagonia, he was then with his climbing partner, Doug Tompkins, who founded the brand The North Face. And for both of them, it was a very influential trip. But a few years back when he returned to Patagonia, what was previously wilderness and total wilderness was this grid of roads and streets and sign that became the city of-- Argentinian city of El Chaltén. And he was really seeing firsthand the effects of the clear-cutting of the beech forests, which will take generations to regrow. He was witnessing the overgrazing that has led to erosion. And most alarming, he saw the glacier that he climbed in his youth melt and even disappear. So I think he felt morally obligated to do something about it. And since he was in business, he asked himself how he could use business as a tool for protection of our environment and our planet, for the protection of human health for the protection of our employees. And so those goals became Patagonia core values at a very early stage.

SCOTT OXFORD: 20:24.614 Yeah, that's got to be the key to authenticity, because it's not patching it on later. It's simply what it was driven for. And I spoke to Daniel, co-founder of Thank You recently, and everything they stand for, right from the very beginning was absolutely set in stone.

NAIMA WILSON: 20:40.926 Completely.

SCOTT OXFORD: 20:41.673 Yeah. And it's holding your nerve and holding to that as the business scales and grows. And I wonder if Yvon had any idea how huge Patagonia would become and how phenomenal. I don't know if many founders can quite Imagine that. But maybe, maybe he was a big a big dreamer. I mean, North Face is another significant brand as well, how incredible that they both were birthed by two friends on one trip.

NAIMA WILSON: 21:09.898 Yvon called himself a reluctant businessman. And that's probably why he's doing, and has done, business differently.

SCOTT OXFORD: 21:17.972 Look, I think that's the interesti ng thing, is that business and activism are almost seemingly at odds with one another? They feel like, one might be a distraction from the other. And it's a perfect mix, but I get that sort of reluctance, which is you want to make a difference in the world, but you realize that one of the most powerful ways you can do that is with the tool of business. And as you said, setting those values very, very clearly in stone from day one, and in holding to that, and is incredible. So, yeah, amazing. So, yes, I think we have probably seen a lot of other businesses sort of take that on and it would be interesting to know how many follow that blueprint of really locking those things down from the beginning and holding firm to them. So there's certainly some great businesses that I know that I've interviewed like Who Gives a Crap and Orange Sky. Amazing, purpose-driven businesses doing cool things. And I love the fact that they're all-- some of them are founded by very young people. Daniel of Thank You is 19. And I think similarly with Orange Sky, the boys were pretty young as well. So it's almost like they didn't know the rules that they needed to follow. So they sort of crafted their own and Yvon clearly was aware of the business rules, but they're just was so compelled that if Patagonia was going to exist, it was going to exist in a pure way. Yeah.

SCOTT OXFORD: 22:56.738 So tell me a bit about the product. I mean, there are listeners who will be very, very familiar. A lot of people will listen to this because it's about you guys but the product itself I've heard is pretty well made and very well made and very beloved by people who trek. So there's a real honesty and authenticity to the product as well.

NAIMA WILSON: 23:17.041 One of the best things we can do for apparel or our product is to make them as durable as possible and to make them repairable so we can keep them as landfilled as long as we can.

SCOTT OXFORD: 23:31.696 So we've talked about the interconnectedness of purpose and story and with the overall Patagonia brand. And I know that your remit is obviously brand but it's very much about-- in your bio, it says you're there to amplify the company's mission and values throughout the region. And that is sort of-- that is your brand really, your mission and values is your brand. So how do you see the difference between brand and marketing or the interconnectedness of the two in your work?

NAIMA WILSON: 24:07.919 I guess for me, marketing is the perfect ally of ‘brand’. Marketing is there to really raise awareness about the brand but if the brand identity is not clearly defined, marketing can't operate at its best. I guess, as a marketer, I am not here to create a new story. My job is really to tell this story about brand in the most authentic manner and connect it with our customers.

SCOTT OXFORD: 24:41.653 Yeah. Awesome. Patagonia is a place. Is there ever any confusion? Or are there people from Patagonia who find it quite curious that there's this global company that's taken their name?

NAIMA WILSON: 24:52.554 The brand has been named after the region. It's not something that has been a problem, I guess in my time so far. I think there's a knowledge that there is the brand, but there’s also this fantastic region in Argentina and Chile.

SCOTT OXFORD: 25:10.444 Yeah. No, I love it. It's a wonderful part of the story. And as we know about brands, particularly retail, Providence, and a story which you're telling through when you're able to talk about where your clothes are made, how they're made, where they come from, what they're made from, and the very origins of the brand as well, that would not exist if he had not travelled to that region. So I love it. As someone with a surname Oxford, I've always have found it sort of a bit of fun and interesting too that there is not only a town called Oxford, there's a university and there's a dictionary and a whole lot of, all of those things in the meantime, but. So you mentioned greenwashing and pinkwashing before, and how as a marketer and a brand marketer, how do you sort of, I guess, rise above that when there's so much of it going on and obviously, you've got a reputation for transparency and truth, but how do you keep the conversation clear of that mess?

NAIMA WILSON: 26:16.602 I guess it's what I've said before. It's all about doing the purposeful work before you talk about it. And so when people scratch the surface, there's actually substance. I think as we said before, it's a really crowded environment because we know that especially the younger generations really value brands that stand for something. And it's important that you also know that your customers are intelligent, and they'll see through any kind of spin. And I guess for me, it's about, again, that transparency and although we have to be creative and bold to break through. Customers will do their research and really know if it's just a front.

SCOTT OXFORD: 27:11.884 So I want to flip things a little and ask you about a few things for you personally. I ask every guest if there's a first time in maybe in their childhood where a brand meant something to them, something that they remember that sort of connected with them and that maybe even to this day, they've still got a connection to. Is there a brand you remember from childhood?

NAIMA WILSON: 27:38.763 Yes, definitely. You probably will not know any of the brands because I grew up in France, but for me, really what makes a brand memorable was kind of the emotion that it created and those memories and often for me, it was around smell and taste and also being carefree. So a couple of brands that I remember are very much around food. And there's one in particular that still exists, which is called Carambar, which is a brand of lolly was I think founded in the 1960s. I guess it was through, I guess the taste of their product, little messages in their packaging and little jokes which made you kind of use that with your friends.

SCOTT OXFORD: 28:26.899 Well, my equivalent in Australia was Fantales which were pretty tasty. Just a little sort of chocolate with caramel inside, but it came with a wrapper that had little anecdotes about movies. So Fantales, tales from the fans, that kind of thing. But I don't know if we ever really thought about what the name meant, but yeah, not only was the lolly pretty tasty, but the wrapper always had a little story in it, and it was just something that sort of-- it's like that value-add. What about now? Is there a brand today that you probably-- a brand that you trust? Something that's build trust with you? I mean, lots of people have trust in Patagonia, and you do too because you work there. But aside from Patagonia, is there a brand that you have faith in?

NAIMA WILSON: 29:17.684 Yeah, I guess there are many brands, and for me, I always look for brands who are consistent with their values, and most importantly, offers quality and treats me or other customers with respect. There's a few examples for me that come to mind. I guess one of them and, as you probably realise, me talking about lollies, I'm a sweet tooth, is Ben and Jerry's, and I feel Ben and Jerry’s really has redefined guilt-free ice cream. As you probably know, the company was founded on social mission and they advocate for a variety of issues including racial justice, democracy, refugees, LGBTQIA+ equality. So I would say I really like their work and love their ice cream. Another one is a certified B Corp. It's Doctor Bronner. I don't know if you know of them but they produce organic soap and bombs and lotions. And together with Patagonia and other regenerative organic allies, they are at the forefront of developing a regenerative organic certified scented. Regenerative organic agriculture is practised on farms. They use an excess amount of excess carbon from the air and bring it back into healthy soil. So this is how soil was formed in the first place and it is one of the most significant steps we can take to reverse climate change along with reforestation and not burning fossil fuels. And closer to home I'll say, a fashion brand, Kowtow from New Zealand. And I really also love Who Gives a Crap – the way they tell their story in a fun way and inspiring way. I really loved the alphabet packaging during the lockdown. It really helped me with the homeschooling [laughter].

SCOTT OXFORD: 31:20.507 Yeah, I bet it did. And look, I'm a big fan of the product. It's really nice to use. It's a sustainable product. They're doing amazing things for people living in poverty and they just have a really great user interface. Their website is an absolute delight to use. Just this morning, I realised, oh, we're running a bit low on paper towels, so I jumped on, and at the press of one button, I've added that to my order and it'll come. They're doing a whole lot of things right. And I'm so excited to see their continued success. And I love the partnership you just described as well. It's sounds some pretty amazing work that's going on, and awesome to see that you guys as an organisation are able to be a part of that and help support that work as well. Do you have a brand that you would say has broken trust with you, that you--?

NAIMA WILSON: 32:21.356 Not that I can think of right now. But for me, it all starts with I guess quality, and I guess we turn to brand to buy a product we need. And low-quality workmanship, for sure that will break my trust or maybe the lack of durability sometimes.

SCOTT OXFORD: 32:45.532 Yeah. And also I think it's been a while now since we've had a high-profile example of an organisation that-- we know it from many around the world making the headlines for breaking trust with customers, but it's certainly something that a lot of organisations simply by a lapse in values or by some action that isn't true to what they promised. And I think that whole idea of brand promise to me is I think what's set Patagonia so solidly for ongoing trust is the fact that they hold firm to that. They don't take risks that put them in a position whereby the brand is at risk, so.

NAIMA WILSON: 33:34.531 It is the consistency and it is also the walk the walk and acting.

SCOTT OXFORD: 33:40.811 Yeah. Yeah, and you spend a lot of time with your customers and so you support the things that your customers care about, and that's the basis of friendship when you support the things that your friends care about. So yeah, it's lovely.

NAIMA WILSON: 33:56.297 It's putting people and the environment at the heart of our decision making and not behind it. For me, it's not only the right thing to do, it's really people are changing their buying habit and they're much more careful in what they're choosing or what brand they're choosing to support currently.

SCOTT OXFORD: 34:19.150 Absolutely. What would you say is the biggest mistake that companies or leaders in brand make?

NAIMA WILSON: 34:25.497 A lot of leaders maybe mistake brand with marketing and think that brand development only happens once. For me, brands are living entities, They don't stand still. They keep reinventing themselves. They stay relevant as they grow, but they still stick to their core and their values. Often, being true to your values I think can mean making some tough decision or even pissing some people off in the process. And that happened to us at Patagonia. But the main thing is not to do things the way we always done them. We often talk about Patagonia I guess within our business about doing business unconventionally. And I guess that comes with risk but also that I guess generates innovation as well. The other mistake I think I often see around branding is wanting to measure everything. And we live in the digital world with a lot of promise of analysing everything and customer journeys and KPIs and metrics and revenue, and I think measuring brand is not easy, but it doesn't mean that it's not impossible, and it doesn't mean that brand is not important, even if you can't measure it. I think you can establish some baseline and use some signals or numbers to kind of paint a picture of your brand's current state, we should leave a bit of magic in-- it's just like in the 1950s, when there was an ad in the paper, brands still grew and brands still had loyal customers. We didn't need to measure everything, and I think that's one of the mistakes about wanting to measure everything.

SCOTT OXFORD: 35:23.057 Yeah. It's like when I started out doing campaigns, even doing brand development as well, there was this desire to test everything. Market research is awesome, I love using that for informative-- to inform the development, but then to take something back and ask people whether it works or not, to get them to make a conscious decision when they truly sub-consciously, most of the time, make those decisions, can kill off some of the magic, the beautiful, creative, the ideas, the things that in your gut know will work. And if every business let the numbers govern their decision-making, I don't think many would grow. So I think there's a beautiful precedent for magic and yeah, it's a beautiful piece of advice, so thank you.

NAIMA WILSON: 37:14.055 Yeah. I think brand is a promise for me, and it's a perception. It's an expectation, and it's a person.

SCOTT OXFORD: 37:19.888 And look, at the end of the day, one of the most interesting things to measure is conversations, and if brand exists a lot of the time in conversations, that's not a sort of quantitative way of measuring, but that more qualitative approach to how people are feeling, what they're saying, what they're sharing, that kind of thing, I find that pretty fascinating. And the tools for social listening are pretty fascinating, but again, you wouldn't want to use that, you can use that as an ability to take a temperature, but again, making sort of big, wholesale decisions on those conversations, I think, can be dangerous, so.

NAIMA WILSON: 37:59.612 Brand is not what you say about it or what you say about your brand, the brand is actually what customers say about it.

SCOTT OXFORD: 38:06.811 Yeah. Absolutely, and it lives in the customers, even-- that's internal customers as well. You would have a whole heap of employees across the planet who are having conversations about your brand with one another and with customers, whether it be in a store or-- and with suppliers as well. And so that brand lives in the day-to-day conversations of the life of the business.

NAIMA WILSON: 38:33.233 All aspect of the business.

SCOTT OXFORD: 38:35 .154 Absolutely. Absolutely. Now my last question is, I feel like you're probably living and working in your dream brand at the moment, but is there a brand or a category that you dream of working in one day?

NAIMA WILSON: 38:53.498 It's a really hard question to answer, you're right. I guess for me, I'll respond maybe about a category, I would say. I would love to continue to do purposeful work for an environmentally or socially minded organisation, but I think food is a category or a space where I think we can have a lot of impact. People needs to buy a jacket every 5 or 10 years, but they eat food every day. And if we want to save the planet, I think it starts with food, and the food industry.

SCOTT OXFORD: 39:28.224 Yeah. I think there's a pretty interesting start-up swirling around there in your mind. I can see. So, yeah, I daresay you'd have some support from Patagonia to make that happen, as well, so.

NAIMA WILSON: 39:42.127 Well Patagonia has started a food business in 2014 called Patagonia Provision, and I actually worked with our team on launching that category in Australia. And it was a very exciting part of my time at Patagonia.

SCOTT OXFORD: 40:00.254 Yeah. Again, totally aligned with putting your purpose, even ahead of profits, and you're another example that builds faith in the customer. Now well, we've run out of time, but I've loved hearing just a fraction of the Patagonia story. And clearly, a brand that has the longevity because you walk the talk and you're making significant difference to people's lives, but to the planet as well. Which, of course, also makes people's lives better. So thanks so much for joining me.

NAIMA WILSON: 40:40.844 Thank you. Thank you for having me.


SCOTT OXFORD: 40:45.900 My studio producer and editor is Zane C Weber. Music is by Phil Slade, and brand and art direction by Andrew McGuckin and my team at New Word Order. Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast if you haven't already. I'm Scott Oxford. Thank you for joining Naima and I today on BrandJam. [music]