The Challenge

You want to show people that your organization’s future is one they want to be part of. However, you don’t want to repeat what every other company in your industry is saying. How can you be authentic, truthful and attractive?

The Solution

Share your story. If something has happened before, it’s more likely to happen again. An organization’s track record can speak volumes about its future.

Many companies, for example, participate in ESG reporting and are making strides toward sustainability, diversity and community involvement. Not as many, however, can claim that these values are truly part of their brand DNA. By showcasing your company’s earliest efforts alongside its current progress, you can help your brand stand out.

Outdoor brand Patagonia is world-renowned for its sustainability efforts. How it shares this story also sets it apart: Patagonia openly traces its sustainability roots back to failure. In 1970, the company’s founders—both avid climbers—realized that their pitons were inflicting damage on the mountains they loved. As a result, they decided to redirect their efforts and invest in more environmentally friendly products.

Facing a challenge with your product, admitting something is wrong, and taking preemptive action: That’s a story that resonates with employees and customers.

Patagonia’s consistent heritage of environmental action validates the company’s purpose, “We’re in business to save our home planet,” and supports its recent decision to transfer all stock to the Patagonia Purpose Trust and the Holdfast Collective to fight the environmental crisis. 

Speaking of challenges, Southwest Airlines was set to mark its 50th anniversary in 2020—then COVID-19 hit. 

As the airline industry faced an unparalleled existential threat, Southwest drew on its heritage to share 50 years’ worth of stories about how it had faced previous challenges and come through stronger. These helped rally employees and strengthen corporate culture during the worst crisis the company had ever faced. Find out more here.

Southwest continues to use its heritage to showcase how its culture has and continues to, set the airline apart from its competitors. For example, Southwest has used material from its archives to create videos for TikTok that, perhaps unsurprisingly, are some of its best-performing content.

Up Next: See how top brands are driving revenue through heritage.

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