On brand activities

Every once in a while you see activity, not just messaging, that really helps define a brand.  A great example of this is REI's #optoutside campaign last year's Black Friday shopping event.  

Since 1938 we’ve been dedicated to getting people outside. On 11/27 the co-op is closing all 143 stores so our employees can do just that. We hope to see you and all 5.5 million of our members out there too.
— REI brand messaging

REI showed its authenticity be deciding to shut its doors and giving each of its 12,000 employees a paid day off to go explore the outdoors.  While nearly every other retailer was busy advertising Black Friday sales, REI was making a splash on social media with its #optoutside campaign.  Over 1.4M people posted pictures of themselves hiking, skiing, biking and paddling outdoors instead of spending time in malls.  

We talk a lot about designing customer experiences.  The best customer engagements come naturally from authentic bonds between customers and employees.  If you walk into an REI store you'll know what I mean.  The company attracts and employs outdoor enthusiasts - folks that often start as customers first.  So, we don't think it was much of a stretch for REI think up or justify this clever campaign.  It's a logical representation of the the brand -- authentic.