A few brands always come to mind when talking about the Values Economy — Ben and Jerry’s, Dove, Nike, Patagonia. The Values Economy has hit a new milestone when that list includes Stetson.
Stetson, the iconic hat maker, pulled their products from a Nashville retailer in response to the store selling anti-vaccination patches in the style of a Star of David.
In the universe of brand values marketing, this might seem like a lay-up because this retailer was obviously in the wrong, but do not discount the gravity of this gesture. Steton’s products were not the source of the controversy. The brand could likely have sat it out without any blowback. Instead they chose to live their values — costing themselves sales and potentially any customers who side with the retailer.
When the world’s biggest maker of cowboy hats joins the Values Economy, you know it is no longer just about “woke” or left-leaning brands. Brands of all sizes, industries, and geographies realize that their employees and consumers are paying attention to their values.
The lesson for brand marketers is to be ready for a situation like this. No companies operate in silos — everyone works with a network of partners, vendors, and customers. All it takes is a rogue store owner to bring your brand into a controversial situation. When this happens, it is not a disaster, it is an opportunity. It is a chance to demonstrate your values to your employees and customers. It might mean a temporary revenue loss, but the values alignment created can engender brand loyalty for years.