Yeti CEO on Growing a Brand With Breadth and Depth

By Dave Hendrick

What is the secret to Yeti’s explosive growth? According to a corporate profile in Fast Company, the company, led by CEO Matt Reintjes (MBA ’04) since 2015, takes a patient, deliberate approach to growing brand share and revenue in the competitive outdoor goods sector, aligning with passionate communities of outdoor enthusiasts and “allowing the product to dictate” where to focus efforts.

Reintjes describes the company’s approach to growth as a depth and breadth strategy. Even from Yeti’s earliest days (it was founded in 2006), the plan was to focus on long-term sustainable growth. Since becoming a public company in 2018, the brand has aimed to keep repeating that mantra. “Brands face multiple points in their journey where they can be deep and relevant, but at the expense of growth and expansion, or they can chase growth and they forget about the depth of connections that they had already built,” says Reintjes. “Over time, you erode brand value, you erode uniqueness, you erode support and passion for who you are. And so we’ve been really thoughtful about how we drive breadth, adding on more communities, bringing in more consumers domestically, growing the brand internationally, all while also keeping those deep and connected roots all the way back to our earliest communities.”

Initially best known for its high-end coolers, the Fast Company article notes the company’s more recent successful push into drinking vessels and cookware.

"We try to be broad and deep, and we try to have depth in the communities we operate in, but we try not to be everything to everyone."
Matt Reintjes (MBA '04), President and CEO, Yeti

In a 2018 address at the Darden School, Reintjes detailed his career journey and product release plans for Yeti, as the company sought to grow its userbase while staying true to the brand.

“We are very careful with our brand and what we do with it,” Reintjes told Darden students. “We try to be broad and deep, and we try to have depth in the communities we operate in, but we try not to be everything to everyone.”

Read the full piece in Fast Company.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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