Let’s be honest. Influencer marketing has very little integrity. Any sense of reality or ‘community’ has long been lost to clickbait, selfies, and fraud. So when we were asked ‘how should The North Face do influencer marketing?’, we had to think very differently.
For context, this is a brand who invented the geodesic tent with Buckminster Fuller only to released it patent-free into the world, who developed FUTURELIGHT™, a nano spun waterproofing made from recycled plastic, and whose Athlete Alex Honnold free-soloed el Capitan in Yosemite, and survived.
We know. Big shoes / shoulders of giants, depending on how you look at it.
In short The North Face are a brand who lead with integrity. They love wild places, spark curiosity, disrupt, and create community. We knew we had to push to work with real people, the right way.
The brief in a sentence?
Create an influencer marketing strategy that shows the world exactly who The North Face is, leads with integrity, and disrupts the norm.
Bury the individualism of influencers by building a team of explorers.
Introducing: The North Face Explorer Team
Together with The North Face we are proud to be building the world’s largest and most inclusive team of explorers, connected by their values, vision, and desire to explore, on and off the mountain. This is (probably) the world’s first truly sustainable influencer programme, and to invert the norm one more time, it’s one that anyone can apply to join.
Meet the team
Diverse, curious and bold: an extraordinary team of adventurers, boundary-pushers, and scroll-stoppers.
Meet the whole team here.
They’ll work with The North Face on co-creative content, feature in global campaigns, perform at events (remember those?), become the face of products and messages the brand sends out into the world, and keep the brand in check.
They’ll also receive The North Face’s support, whether that’s product, promotion, or budget to help get an epic project off the ground.
Anyone can Join the Team
We knew that to create an extraordinary team, we needed to open ourselves up to the extraordinary people out there. That’s why the same day we launched the team, we also launched an open call for anyone with an ambitious idea that The North Face can support to apply to join.
Applicants are taken through a playful quiz that assesses them against characteristics that really matter to The North Face; it ensures we find unique explorers, rebels, and drivers of change with a selfless community-minded spirit. The number of followers they might happen to have on instagram is the very final filter in our geek-heavy applicant analysis spider chart (that’s one for another post).
Sustainable you say?
Yes, and we mean it. There is nothing worse than the industry norm of sending packaging-heavy seeding gifts uninvited to hundreds of influencers who are already swamped with unwanted ‘products for review’.
So first of all, we help educate. All team members are given a full brand induction so they fully appreciate the foundational principles of sustainability they must adhere to. And if that doesn’t do the trick, before anyone gets paid for their hard work they’re sent a majestically simple carbon calculator so that The North Face can offset the efforts of their urban expeditions, photo-shoots in wild places, community events in london fields, or whatever wacky idea got signed off. They do this through environmental projects across the world in partnership with the EOCA.
“Establishment of an environmental trail in Nepal, clean-up operations on a mountain peak in Kyrgyzstan, the protection of brown bears in northern Spain, replanting of native ‘virgin’ forest in the Czech Republic, and the creation of a trans-boundary hiking trail in Macedonia and Albania.”
All of that, and a rather lovely reusable water-bottle and Thermoball Eco, in their hand-picked welcome pack.
As the programme evolves after launch, we plan to stay true to these 3 principles:
- We don’t recruit influencers, we recruit explorers, both on the mountain and in the city.
- We don’t pay people to wear product, we pay people to do stuff
- We’re carbon neutral
The launch team is STRONG and spans right across Europe, and whilst we’ve been working for months behind the scenes due to the inevitable “covid-delay”, the fun has only just begun.
🍾 To the huge crew at This Here and our lovely clients at The North Face, all of whom have worked their socks off over the last year, hats off to you.
May we Never Stop Exploring.
Team This Here.