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Using History Keeps Pendleton Hip on Instagram

Older, legacy-based brands like Pendleton turn to social media to remain relevant, connect better with current customers, and excite the next generation.

Instagram has been particularly attractive to these iconic brands as they find innovative ways to highlight their core brand values and identity. How are they doing it?

In the days to come, I’ll take you on a thorough exploration of the ways that brands like Brooks Brothers, Cabela’s, Filson, and L.L. Bean are killing it on Instagram, starting today with legendary, hipster-friendly wool blanket purveyor Pendleton.

Pendleton’s Instagram Snapshot

pendelton (1)The Company

English weaver Thomas Kay traveled down the Atlantic seaboard in 1863, landing in America’s newest state, Oregon, and opening his first woolen mill there about two decades later. And so the Pendleton manufacturing legacy began. Passed down from generation to generation, Pendleton likes to say it’s got a “legacy of hands-on management for six generations – warranted to be a Pendleton since 1863.”

This brand, while still known for the functionality, quality, and classic cuts that have given it such lasting power, has also become a hipster favorite and respected member of today’s fashion landscape. How is Pendleton staying true to their roots while gracefully making this transition?

What The Data Tells Us

Pendleton only joined Instagram in September 2013, but they’ve taken to the network like a duck to water.

Since the beginning of 2014, Pendleton’s engagement as a percentage of followers has soared to 476.8%, with an ever-rising engagement total and number of photos posted. To put this in context, mega global brand Michael Kors, with over 2 million followers, has a 402.8% engagement rate for the same period.

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What They’re Doing Well

Never forget your roots. Pendleton does a great job of infusing its Instagram account with a healthy dose of blankets, naturescapes, and nostalgia – all smart moves, since these features are at the very heart of its brand. To give you an idea of Pendleton’s commitment to this kind of content and the positive response it receives, take a look at the company’s most engaged-with posts between January and the end of May. This was #1:

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The pioneer spirit-prompting scenery, prominent and iconic product placement, and centering quote on this post all combine for Instagram gold. Next up in popularity is this post:

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 4.28.36 PMIn addition to visual stimulation and the blankets that are the much-famed centerpieces of the Pendleton brand, this post utilizes an interesting tactic – regramming from a fellow Instagram user who originally posted the photo with the hashtag #pendletonblankets.

Finally, this post:

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 5.08.31 PMThis post finds itself engaged-with for, again, its visual appeal – and its “sneak peek” vibe that is so entrancing for Instagram users.

What We Learned

Pendleton is navigating the world of Instagram in a way that remains true to their historic brand, using it as a platform to highlight their core values and image, instead of changing who they are to meet expectations.  What are they doing well, and what can they be doing better? Don’t be shy. Let us know in the comments below.


Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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