Brand Promise REI

As the holiday shopping season barrels toward us, and especially Black Friday, it’s interesting to see how companies express their brand promises to customers amidst the mayhem of advertising and announcements of amazing deals. One retailer, REI, has taken its promise to an entirely new level by opting to close on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

For the third consecutive year, REI will be closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Employees will be given both days as paid time off and are being encouraged to enjoy outdoor activities. The campaign is called #OptOutside, and the company has created a website that invites employees and customers to explore the outdoors and share their experiences via social media.

Closing on Black Friday Demonstrates the Customer Promise

While some customers and critics may wonder if it’s a smart decision to close on the biggest shopping day of the holiday season, REI is taking an authentic stand behind its customer promise. This is a perfect example of Internal-External Brand Alignment, which is the practice of aligning internal culture behind the external customer promise.

REI makes a bold promise to customers through its dedication to “inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.” What better way to stand behind this promise and bring it alive culturally than to give employees paid time off to be outside?

Consistently Voted a Best Company to Work for

REI has a reputation for treating its employees well and has consistently been named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. REI is walking the talk of its promise and bringing it alive inside the company through the #OptOutside campaign.

While some customers might be disappointed they can’t shop at REI on Black Friday, those that are truly aligned with REI’s customer promise will overlook any inconveniences. Some customers may even become more loyal to REI as it stands true to its word of living a life outdoors.


About Alice Wright

As Director of Content Strategy, Alice directs projects while also designing program strategy and instructional content. She has more than 22 years of experience managing integrated strategic marketing, communication and training programs for globally recognized brands. Some of her current and past clients include Nike, Sunglass Hut, Safeway, Banfield Pet Hospital, Office Depot, Unilever, LensCrafters, EMC, Intel, Microsoft, Dell, adidas, Joann Stores and others. Alice earned her bachelor’s degree from the School of Journalism and Communication at University of Oregon. She lives with her husband and teenage son in Portland, Oregon where she loves exploring the outdoors and being a soccer/band mom.