Case study // ARC’TERYX

Revered outdoor gear innovator digs deep for their brand story

You brought true storytelling genius to this quest. You grasped our culture right away and understood exactly how to help us find our authentic story. Your insights were invaluable and your focus and energy contagious.
— Drummond Lawson, Chair of Global Culture Committee, Arc’teryx

CHALLENGE: Creating a Brand Story for the Future

Born in a garage out of a desire to make the best products possible, Arc’teryx’s brand has achieved cult status among hard-core adventurers and become an international symbol of technical excellence, all while maintaining the company’s unique culture over the past 25 years. But as Arc’teryx continues to grow, they found themselves at a tipping point: over 75% of their employees had been with the company for three years or less. They knew if they didn’t act now, they would risk losing what made their culture and brand unique. They were also ready to embark on a new era of redefining their brand story, purpose, values, and identity to uncover powerful themes and truths that would be the road map to their next phase.

SOLUTION: Iterate Until You Get it Right

We needed to uncover exactly what made Arc’teryx unique. We knew they needed a strategic, emotional, and authentic brand story that not only engaged their employees, but resonated with their customers and partners too. We embedded one of our award-winning outdoor writers and brand story consultants at Arc’teryx’s head office for several months so that he could observe their rare culture in action and interview a broad range of people on their turf. At the same time, we analyzed their competition to determine where they stood out. As their Brand Story took shape, it yielded a Purpose Statement, four Core Values (and the emotionally resonant examples that make them real), and a gripping Genesis Story that tied the brand’s heritage to its enduring mission. We’re believers in “iterate until you get it right” so we bounced versions back and forth with their Senior Management Team and Global Culture Committee until every single one of them loved it. But the real trial? We truth-tested it with employees at all levels of the company. A few more versions and we knew without a doubt that we’d nailed it.

RESULTS: A Story-Rich Foundation for Strategic Decision-Making

We collaborated with Arc’teryx’s design team to craft a Brand Story Ambassador Book to give out to all their employees. We coached their leaders on how to activate their Brand Story with their teams at a company-wide story launch. The two-day retreat was a huge success in itself, but the real measure of our work is that their Brand Story is now deeply embedded in the organization and Arc’teryx’s leaders continue to use it to guide all of their strategic decisions and shape consistent communications on all their channels.

One more cool thing:

Our Story Director convinced Arc’teryx to bind their Ambassador Books in the iconic and colourful Gore-Tex fabric that they use in their famous mountaineering jackets.