When it comes to environmental sustainability, actions speak louder than words.

That’s why the alliance between the Trex Company and REI Co-op is such a powerful action… it aligns with core values and promises of both brands’ audiences. And this collaboration allows each brand to live up to its principles better than either could do alone.

An Odd Couple?

REI Co-op is a specialty outdoor retailer that doesn’t sell exterior building products.  And Trex Company is a manufacturer of eco-friendly composite decking – whose branding isn’t in National Parks – yet has captured attention for its closed-loop recycling initiative.

For some four years, Trex has been diverting plastic film waste from REI stores and centers to be used in manufacturing its composite decking. Now, REI’s Signature Camp near Bryce Canyon National Park is showcasing this partnership by utilizing Trex decking in its elevated tent platforms.

Is this campaign a “slam dunk” for both brands… or is there room for improvement? And what can those of us involved in building material sales learn? Let’s consider a debrief analysis.

Aligning with Brand Values: A Win-Win

Co-branding campaigns shine when there’s clear alignment with each product’s core values. REI is renowned for its commitment to environmental stewardship. And for promoting outdoor recreation. Trex – on the other hand — emphasizes sustainability through its use of recycled materials in their composite products.

REI showcases its dedication to minimizing waste and its relationship with “Mother Nature”.

And Trex highlights a highly relevant real-world application of its eco-friendly practices… on a stage that has traditionally celebrated trees. And wood products.

Storytelling: The Power of Full Circle

The campaign’s real strength, however, lies in its narrative. The story extends beyond simply leveraging recycled materials. After all, the plastic film waste collected at REI stores is being transformed into the very platforms campers use at a signature REI location. Creating a powerful full-circle narrative – that resonates with environmentally conscious audiences – who appreciate brands taking action. Any (dare we say “every”) builder products marketer can take lessons here.

Building Brand Affinity Through Transparency

Transparency is another win for this campaign. By highlighting the specific source of the recycled material – from REI stores – the campaign fosters a sense of connection between the customer’s actions (recycling plastic film) and the end-result (sustainable tent platforms). This builds brand affinity. And strengthens customer loyalty.

Potential Areas for Improvement: Expanding the Narrative

While the campaign hits the right notes, we’d be remiss if our analysis didn’t find a bit of room for expansion. And some ways to further elevate the experience:

  • Quantify the Impact: Adding specifics about the amount of plastic film waste diverted. And the number of tent platforms built.
  • Visual storytelling: Extend the stage to showcase the collection process – the transformation of waste plastic film into decking – and the pristine scenery of the REI Signature Camp with Trex decking.
  • Next Gen Audience Cultivation: Integrating hosted educational content into classroom curriculum about benefits of wood-alternative building materials and the importance of plastic recycling… positioning both brand allies as thought leaders, in sustainability.
  • Social Media Engagement: Leverage popular platforms to showcase the REI-Trex partnership – inviting user-generated content submissions featuring campers enjoying the sustainable tent platforms – stimulating viral movements.
Conclusion: A Sustainable Partnership with Room to Grow

The REI-Trex collaboration is an innovative co-branded marketing effort that effectively highlights a shared community commitment to sustainability. Aimed exactly at the type of audience who creates loyalty to aspirational brand promises for alternative construction solutions. By incorporating specific data, compelling visuals, further educational content and social media user-inspired engagement – this campaign could expand upon its limited launch aperture – and into sustainable practices beyond retail stores and National Parks.

Are you responsible for the success of an installed building products brand and seeking to explore creative approaches to better inspire target audiences? Send an email to sk@kleberandassociates.com to get the conversation started.