Steve Lesnard, CMO and Global VP of Product Creation for The North Face, has worked on many initiatives and products during his time with the company. Before coming into his current role at The North Face, he was the manager and global vice president of the running division of another large athletic apparel brand. During that time, he launched innovations that changed the industry and drove a business worth $5.3 billion.
Steve Lesnard is dedicated, focused, and interested in making sure The North Face continues to see higher and greater levels of success, both now and in the future. With the campaigns, he’s worked on and the ones he’s currently working on.
The North Face Is Out To Reset Normal
Addressing inequity in the outdoors is one of the areas where The North Face has partnered with others to bring value to more people. The ‘Reset Normal’ partnership with Lena Waithe is a global initiative. It’s geared toward helping people perform a reset on their lives and doing that by getting out into nature. When people explore, they focus more on things like progress and hope. That can help them feel more comfortable in the challenging environment everyone is living in today.
The North Face is donating $7 million to the initiative as part of its brand marketing and its goal of making the outdoors more enjoyable. Steve Lesnard, CMO and Global VP of Product Creation, is working on the campaign with Waithe and global climber and athlete Jimmy Chin. There are currently very few scalable solutions that support good access to exploration and address the inequity seen in the outdoors.
Right now, communities of color are up to three times more likely to experience racism when they explore the great outdoors and live in areas where getting out into nature may not even be possible. These nature-deprived areas can be stressful and frustrating, as nature is a good way to help people reduce their stress and find more comfort, joy, and purpose in life. Through brand marketing, podcast opportunities, and more, The North Face is finding ways to reach more of these communities.
Diversifying the outdoors and making it more easily explorable by everyone is the biggest goal of this particular campaign. Steve Lesnard is working closely with others who see the value of exploration to help ensure that anyone who wants to get out into the outdoors can do so more readily. Included in the initiative is the launching of the Global Fund Council, which is focused on bringing together cultural, entertainment, and academic experts who are passionate about the outdoors.
Sports Climbing Competitions in Tokyo
The North Face recently unveiled uniforms for the sports climbing competitions in Tokyo. Steve Lesnard, CMO and Global VP of Product Creation, is a part of this exciting project. Teams from Japan, the US, Austria, and South Korea all wore North Face uniforms at the Tokyo games. The North Face was founded by climbers, so naturally, the company has a soft spot for helping people who enjoy that sport. With the sport’s global debut, it’s easy to continue showcasing the value of climbing to a wider audience.
The uniforms are simple, yet bold, and they offer a philosophy of brand design that helps showcase the company’s visual identity. Says Lesnard, “My passion for different countries and cultures started early in life, and I tried to travel as much as I could while being a student. Experiencing different cultures solidified my interest in pursuing an international career, and I have enjoyed the opportunities and challenges in building global brands that can have deep and personal meanings to the various cultures around the world.”
By taking a page from The North Face’s alpine DNA and coupling that with a strong understanding of what climbing involves, he was able to steer the company toward offering uniforms with an iconic level of minimalism that meets the needs of every climber. The bold style also showcased the countries’ flags so that everyone who participated in the events could feel well-represented and appreciated for what they brought to the sport and the games as a whole.
Exploring Nature Through the Soundscapes Series
A multi-faceted partnership between Sonos and The North Face has provided a way for people who want to experience all that nature has to offer to have music, podcast information, and more with them on their adventures. They can also immerse themselves in nature-based experiences without ever leaving home. Having both of those options makes it easier than ever for everyone who enjoys the sounds of nature to have the experiences they want when they want them.
Steve Lesnard and others at The North Face have worked to bring this project and partnership to life to give more people access to nature in different ways. According to Lesnard, the partnership unlocks a “completely new avenue for storytelling.” People who want to explore can have enhanced experiences, and people who aren’t able to explore at that time can add value to their lives by listening to the natural areas they would potentially be visiting or may plan to visit in the future.
They can also relive experiences they had in the past when they explored areas of the world. While many people may think of the Soundscapes Series as a playlist or a podcast, it’s much more than that. As part of The North Face’s brand marketing, the series is a full audio journey. High-quality sound provides an immersive experience, which can help listeners truly be in the moment and explore what the natural area they’re “visiting” would sound and feel like if they were there in person.
The discussion among the expedition team is a part of the Soundscapes Series, allowing listeners to enjoy the conversations and understand the difficulties of navigating the level of terrain they’re working through. According to Steve Lesnard, it was exciting for the athletes and filmmakers to revisit the areas they visited through these audio journeys. With only the audio, focusing on the sounds is an experience that adds richness and depth to the expedition in areas that may have been overlooked in the past.
Sonos Radio has become very popular with its listeners, and that just showcases how much people like to listen to nature and understand it more fully. They want to feel like they’re there, and they can experience the calming and restorative properties that nature often brings. With that in mind, Lesnard and his team at The North Face see the value of pairing with Sonos to make sure more people can recognize nature’s value and appreciate all that it has to offer to those who seek it.
What’s Next for Steve Lesnard?
Steve Lesnard is nearly always busy with new ideas and product innovations. When asked about how he brings innovative thoughts to life, he says, “My thinking process is driven by conversations with my teammates. I firmly believe that great ideas can come from anywhere, and group thinking can help develop and sharpen your thoughts.” As a collaborative effort, it’s easier for the team at The North Face to get more done and focus on what people want and need from the products the company provides.
Defining the idea is important, but it’s only the start of the work. Then, it’s necessary to know the consumers that are going to be targeted with the idea. If it’s not something they’ll be interested in, then the idea either isn’t a good one or simply isn’t right for the market it was intended for. Lesnard points out that the third component of bringing ideas to life is making sure that the targeted consumers understand the benefits of the product or service they’re being offered.
Only then does he start to focus on how the product will be brought to life. From the campaigns he’s been a part of over recent months and years to the campaigns he and his team have in the works for the future, Lesnard is dedicated to helping The North Face continue to develop and grow, so it can provide more enjoyment and value to its customers. The products it offers, along with the partnerships, help it do and be more, and help its customers have more adventures and be albe to explore the world in ways that work for them.