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Crowning the Social King: A Comparative Look at Patagonia vs The North Face

In the vast realm of outdoor clothing brands, two giants stand tall and dominate the landscape. Patagonia - a brand synonymous with sustainability and environmental activism.  On the other side, we have The North Face, a brand deeply rooted in the spirit of adventure. 

These industry titans have captured the hearts of adventurers worldwide, each with its unique identity, loyal following, and commitment to innovation. Today, we dive into the thrilling rivalry between Patagonia vs The North Face, uncovering what sets them apart and ignites the passion of outdoor enthusiasts.

The analysis between them will be based on the following areas.

  • Brand Vibes
  • Followers: Fans or Superfans?
  • Content Crackdown
  • The Engagement Game
  • Room For Growth: Where can they level up
  • Lessons from the Trail: What Can Social Media Marketers Learn?
  • The Final Showdown: Crowing the Winner

Brand Vibes (Persona)

BrandTarget Audience
PatagoniaPeople who love outdoor activities, care about the environment and value sustainable fashion
The North FacePeople who enjoy outdoor sports, adventure travel, and fashionable outdoor clothing.
A short note on Brand Vibes

Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and gear company, has a well-defined target audience that aligns with its brand values and mission. Here is a small overview of the target audience for Patagonia.

  • Outdoor Enthusiasts - Hiking, camping, climbing, skiing, snowboarding, and other outdoor pursuits
  • Environmental activists - These people are environmentally conscious consumers who value eco-friendly practices, fair trade, and ethical sourcing.
  •  Adventurer explorers - Outdoor landscape and remote destination explorers.
  • Outdoor professionals and influencers - Guides, instructors, athletes, outdoor educators and influencers.

Now let's get into the target audience of The North Face.

  • Athletes and sports professionals - This set of audiences values specialized apparel and equipment designed to enhance performance and endurance.
  • Adventure Travellers - These individuals prioritize gear and clothing that offer versatility, durability, and functionality to adapt to different climates and terrains.
  • Fashionable Outdoor Enthusiasts - This audience combines functionality with style, using The North Face as a symbol of outdoor authenticity.
  • Sustainable and Ethical Consumers - This set of audiences appreciates the brand's efforts in responsible sourcing, recycling initiatives, and reducing its environmental impact.
  • Outdoor Education and Recreation Programs - People who embrace an outdoor-oriented lifestyle and enjoy spending time in nature. This audience values comfortable and stylish clothing that seamlessly transitions from outdoor adventures to everyday life.

Who Wins In Brand Persona:

Ultimately, determining the "winner" in the brand persona race between Patagonia and The North Face is subjective and dependent on individual preferences and values.

So we are giving equal points to both the brans as they have successfully carved out their own niches and attracted passionate and loyal customer bases. It's important to recognize that consumers have diverse needs and motivations when it comes to outdoor clothing and gear, and both Patagonia and The North Face cater to different aspects of the market while sharing a passion for the outdoors.


Patagonia  - 1

The North Face - 1


Followers: Fans or Superfans?

Patagonia and The North Face are two of the most popular outdoor brands in the world. They both have a strong presence on various social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. However, they have different approaches and strategies when it comes to engaging with their audiences and promoting their products.

Both products adapted to the social media trend right from the launch of each social media platform and strengthened their loyal face throughout their strategic moves.

Given are the current metrics for their loyal fanbase.

ChannelsPatagoniaNorth FaceWinner
Instagram5.2 M 5.3 M North Face
Twitter597.2 K 548.4 K Patagonia
Facebook1.7 M 6.6 M North face
Pinterest106.6 K 147.2 K North face
LinkedIn936 K 515 K Patagonia
Youtube425 K 489 K North face
Analysis of social followers between Patagonia vs The North Face

Patagonia is more focused on environmental and social issues, while The North Face is more focused on product features and promotions. Patagonia uses its social media platforms to raise awareness, educate, and inspire its followers to take action for the planet and its people. The North Face uses its social media platforms to showcase its innovative gear, highlight its athletes and ambassadors, and encourage its followers to explore the outdoors.

Patagonia posts more frequently than The North Face on most platforms, except for YouTube. Patagonia’s posts tend to get more likes, comments, shares, reactions, and views than The North Face’s posts on most platforms, except for Instagram. Patagonia has a higher engagement rate and a stronger social impact than The North Face, even though The North Face has a slightly larger audience size.

Who Wins In Followers Race:

Based on these criteria, we can assume that Patagonia is the winner of the social media comparison. You may wonder that The North Face has more followers in social channels than Patagonia, but if you get closer you’ll notice that they are currently not active in most of the social channels like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and more. This makes Patagonia a clear winner in the followers race, and also Patagonia has a more consistent and authentic brand voice across its social media platforms which helped them to acquire a more loyal and passionate fan base that resonates with its mission and values. Whereas The North Face leverages its social media platforms to create a community of outdoor enthusiasts who care about the environment and society.

To support our answer, here is a small data. According to research by Hypeauditor Patagonia has gained in social media in terms of followers and engagement rate. On the other hand, The North Face has lost its followers than acquiring new followers. Also, The North Face has not been active for more than six months on Facebook and Twitter. This explains a clear winner between the two brands and the followers of Patagonia are more engaged and loyal with the product.

Note:- The results may vary according to the timeline. 

Patagonia - 1

The North Face - 0


Content Crackdown

Write why utilizing different content types is important and how certain content types may work for some brands and may not for others

Both Patagonia and The North Face are renowned outdoor brands with a strong presence on social media. While their content strategies may vary, here's a breakdown of the types of content that might find on their respective social media platforms.

Content TypesPatagoniaThe North FaceWinner
Single ImageYesYesThe North Face
ReelsYesYesThe North Face
GiveawaysNoYesThe North Face
Shoppable Product PostsNoYesThe North Face
Analysis of Content Crackdown between Patagonia vs The North Face

Single Image winner - The clear winner in the single image competition is The North Face (5-6K likes on avg, while Patagonia has 4k Likes on avg also they don't post single images often, they collaborate with users in most cases)

The North FacePatagonia
A reference for Single Image Post Type between Patagonia vs The North Face

In the above image, you can see that The North Face performs better than Patagonia.

Carousel Winner - The clear winner in Carousel posts is Patagonia (10-15 K likes on avg, while The North Face has only about 8-10 k Likes)

The North FacePatagonia
A reference for Carousel Post Type between Patagonia vs The North Face

In the above image, you can see that Patagonia performs better than The North Face.

Reels - In Instagram Reels, the winner is The North Face, because of outdoor adventure content which makes The North Face content more engaging towards the audience, while Patagonia gives value to global sustainability and world health which is less engaging towards the audience.

The North facePatagonia
A reference for IG Reels performance between Patagonia vs The North Face

In the above image, you can see that The North Face performs better than Patagonia.

Giveaways - In the Giveaway contests the clear winner is The North Face because Patagonia doesn't offer giveaway products and offers, but Patagonia gives a part of its revenue to charity and other noble causes.

Shoppable Product Posts - In shoppable product posts the clear winner is The North Face because Patagonia doesn't offer shoppable posts.

A sample image for the Shoppable IG post

In the above picture, you can clearly see the shoppable images (Images with shop icons at the top right corner)

Who Wins In Content Crackdown:

So considering all the content types the overall score is 4:1, so clearly North Face is the clear winner in the content crackdown section.

North Face - 1

Patagonia - 0


The Engagement Game

Social media engagement rate plays a crucial role for brands like Patagonia and The North Face, both renowned for their outdoor apparel and equipment. These companies recognize the significance of social media as a powerful platform to connect with their target audience, amplify brand awareness, and foster brand loyalty.

So let's take a few social channels and break down their engagement rate to find which of these two brands is performing better in the social game.

  1. 1. Instagram
InstagramPatagoniaNorth Face
Average Likes on last 3 posts87737856
Average Comment on the last 3 posts22142
Comparison of IG Engagement Rate between Patagonia vs The North Face

  1. 2. Facebook
FacebookPatagoniaNorth Face
Average Likes on last 3 posts214Currently not active
Average Comment on the last 3 posts5.3Currently not active
Comparison of Facebook Engagement Rate between Patagonia vs The North Face

  1. 3. Youtube
YoutubePatagoniaNorth Face
Average Views on the last 3 posts51 K17.8 K
Average Comment on the last 3 posts28.659.6 
Comparison of YouTube Engagement Rate between Patagonia vs The North Face

  1. 4. Twitter
TwitterPatagoniaNorth Face
Average Likes on last 3 posts76Currently not active
Average Repost on the last 3 posts12Currently not active
Comparison of Twitter Engagement Rate between Patagonia vs The North Face

As per the research, we can conclude that Patagonia is a clear winner in terms of social media games.

Comparison of Social Media Engagement Rate between Patagonia vs The North Face

Patagonia has a higher engagement rate than The North Face on most social media platforms, such as Twitter (0.8% vs 0.2%), Instagram (1.2% vs 0.6%), and Facebook (0.4% vs 0.1%). This indicates that Patagonia’s content is more relevant, engaging, and valuable to its audience than The North Face’s content. Moreover, The North Face has stopped its social media activities on Twitter and Facebook, which makes Patagonia a clear winner in this case.

Who Wins In Engagement Game:

So in the engagement game, Patagonia is the clear winner. This is mainly because The North Face is currently not active on Twitter and Facebook in recent times.

Patagonia - 1

The North Face - 0


Room for Growth: Where Can They Level Up?

As both Patagonia and The North Face fall under the outdoor gear category, they have more things in common, they almost cracked the ladder to reach their epitome in their niches, but here are a few areas where they can improve their social media presence.

  1. 1. Create a long-tail strategy for social posts: 

Sharing evergreen content multiple times across different platforms and time periods, using different headlines, images, and hashtags. This can help them to reach more people, increase your visibility, and drive more traffic to your website.

  1. 2. Determine the best times to post: 

Analyzing your audience’s behaviour and preferences, and scheduling your posts accordingly can help you optimize your engagement rate, and reach more potential customers. To analyse and determine the optimal time to post your content, a social media scheduling tool Like Picmaker can help with that. 

  1. 3. Invest in paid social ads: 

Paid ads mean using targeted and relevant ads to promote content, products, or services to a larger and more specific audience. This can help brands to increase brand awareness, generate more leads, and boost conversions.

A Sample image for sponsored content

The above image shows an example of Grammarly, promoting their software for mistake-free writing.
Similarly, Patagonia and The North Face can use sponsored ads across their social channels to promote their products.

  1. 4. Use user-generated content: 

This means encouraging your customers and fans to create and share content related to your brand, such as photos, videos, reviews, testimonials, etc. This can help brands to build trust and credibility, foster a loyal community, and showcase the brand’s personality.

An Example of UGC Campaign (Source - Twitter)

The above image gives a UGC campaign example from Coca-Cola named SHARE A COKE. The campaign got an enormous response and it ended up boosting Coke’s overall revenue.

Similarly, Patagonia and The North Face can come up with unique campaign ideas for promoting their products.

For eg:- Patagonia can create a campaign called #MyPatagoniaAdventure, where users are encouraged to share their experiences and tag the brand.

Similarly, The North Face can create #PeakChallenge, encouraging users to share their favourite mountain summit moments.

  1. 5. Collaborate with influencers: 

Partnering with influential people in the respective niche or industry who have a large and engaged following can help the brand to expand its reach and enhance its reputation, and influence the audience’s purchase decisions.

An example of Influencer Collaboration (Source - Instagram)

The above image gives an example of collaboration with influences, where the world-famous football icon Cristiano Ronaldo promotes Nike football shoes. 

  1. 6. Live Q&A Sessions:

Both Patagonia and The North Face could host a live Q&A session on Instagram or whichever channel in which they have a high engagement rate,  where followers can ask experienced outdoor guides questions about hiking, camping, or any outdoor activity-related items, which will give a positive attitude for the users towards the brands.

Here is a sample Q&A session from Nike’s Senior Create Design - Andreas Harlow

By implementing these strategies, both Patagonia and The North Face can enhance their social media growth by fostering engagement, building communities, and providing valuable content to their followers. These approaches can leverage the brands' unique identities, values, and expertise to create meaningful connections with their target audiences.


Lessons from the Trail: What Can Social Media Marketers Learn?

List what are the things we can learn from these two brands

As social media marketers, there are several valuable lessons we can learn from the successful social media strategies of Patagonia and The North Face. Here are some key takeaways:

  1. 1. Authenticity is The Key:

Both Patagonia and The North Face prioritize authenticity in their social media presence. They stay true to their brand values and consistently communicate their commitment to environmental sustainability and outdoor adventure.

  1. 2. Purpose-Driven Content:

Patagonia and The North Face use their social media platforms to advocate for the causes they believe in. They go beyond promoting their products and actively engage in environmental activism. This demonstrates that purpose-driven content can be highly effective in capturing the attention and loyalty of customers. We should consider aligning our brand with a cause or mission that reflects our values and actively promote it through our content.

  1. 3. Visual Storytelling:

Patagonia and The North Face excel at visual storytelling. Both use captivating images and videos to transport their audience into the world of outdoor adventure.

So it's highly important to learn to leverage the power of compelling visuals to evoke emotions, tell stories, and showcase their products in action. High-quality and visually appealing content can significantly enhance engagement and resonate with the target audience.

  1. 4. Educational Content:

Both brands provide educational content that adds value to their followers' outdoor experiences. They share tips, guides, and informative videos that help their audience make informed decisions and enhance their skills. 

So it's highly important to earn the importance of offering educational content that aligns with their brand's expertise and provides valuable information to their followers.

  1. 5. Community Building:

Both brands prioritize community building on social media. They create spaces where outdoor enthusiasts and environmentally conscious individuals can connect, share experiences, and inspire each other. 

We can learn the importance of fostering a sense of community and actively engaging with followers through conversations, comments, and user-generated content. Building a community around our brand can lead to increased brand loyalty and advocacy.


The Showdown

After a careful analysis of the two renowned brands, we came to the conclusion that Patagonia is a clear winner among them. Given below is the score chart to see the performance of both brands in the areas of competition.

Score Chart

ListPatagoniaThe North face
Brand Vibes11
Followers: Fans or Superfans? 10
Content Crackdown01
The Engagement Game10
Score Chart

Overall, both brands have a solid presence on social media. However, it's important to note that social media success can be subjective and may vary depending on specific metrics or goals. Both Patagonia and The North Face have successfully utilized social media platforms to connect with their target audience and achieve their respective marketing objectives.