Alienating your core customer base is not a particularly smart business move, yet that’s exactly what YETI recently chose to do.
Now, the outdoor brand is facing a serious backlash from consumers… and it’s a perfect example of the free market in action.
As part of the short-sighted trend of blaming the National Rifle Association and its millions of law-abiding members for unrelated gun crimes, the YETI company decided to cut ties with the gun rights and sportsman’s group earlier this month.
“Suddenly, without prior notice, YETI has declined to do business with The NRA Foundation saying they no longer wish to be an NRA vendor, and refused to say why. They will only say they will no longer sell products to The NRA Foundation,” explained the association in an open letter.
“That certainly isn’t sportsmanlike. They have declined to continue helping America’s young people enjoy outdoor recreational activities. These activities enable them to appreciate America and enjoy our natural resources with wholesome and healthy outdoor recreational and educational programs,” the letter continued.
In the days that followed, many individual sportsmen announced that YETI wouldn’t get another dime of their money — and now major retailers and competing brands have jumped into the fray.
“In response to the news, some retailers vowed to stop selling YETI’s famed products, including its coolers, cups and apparel, in their stores,” reported TheBlaze. “One store in particular, Ozark Sportsman Supply, went viral with a Facebook post this week.”
A huge part of free market capitalism is sensing an opportunity when it arises, and that’s exactly what many of YETI’s competitors have done.
Some of them, including Pelican Coolers, offered sportsman’s discounts or pledged to donate to the NRA each time one of their products was purchased. Others like Orca Coolers released pro-Second Amendment videos and statements.
It’s tough to gauge the financial impact of YETI’s decision, but judging by the tens of thousands of likes and comments on their competitor’s pro-gun statements, it’s a safe bet that a decent amount of money has been cut off from the troubled brand.
This is freedom in action. There’s something particularly American about consumers voting with their hard-earned dollars, and watching keen competitors fill the void left by a company that deserts its base.
Notice that nobody called for YETI to be disbanded. No angry mob showed up at the company headquarters with torches, pitchforks, or mythical “assault weapons.”
What did happen was that the brand made a decision about its own reputation and marketing, and millions of customers freely chose to take their business elsewhere. The free market has spoken, and brands which support American values and the Second Amendment have heard the message loud and clear.
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