marketing case study

In 2014 Marcus Harvey bought the rights to the @Portland Instagram handle. His reason for buying it was because he had a strong interest in the "Portland energy" and wanted to convey that in a more "tangible" way. The page has gotten a lot of love over the years and has more than 250,000 followers.

Another thing that Marcus did in 2014 was he listened to all the people asking for Portland Merch to be a thing. So he and a couple of his friends decided it was a good idea and launched the start of the business with 2 shirts, and 2 photos posted to the Instagram page.

(L-R Mack, Marcus and Eli)

They used to just do pop-ups using their VW van, and while they still do pop-ups they have also just recently opened up a storefront in Southwest Portland.


To go along with their store they set up a webpage (which has done extremely well considering they've shipped their gear to almost every state in the US and to 25 countries), as well as another Instagram account just for the business.

Portland Gear has taken some big steps recently, on top of opening their storefront, they've been in close contact with several Blazer players, they've done collaborations with Tedx and Nike. They have also hosted several events, one being to show support for cancer and Dornbechers. They made special hats to show support and donated the money made from them to research, on top of donating several hats to patients at Dornbechers.

Portland Gear offers a unique brand to people who live in a city that they love. Marcus recognized that Portland had a unique vibe and the people in had a certain loyalty to their city, he saw this and wanted to expand on that. He really did make his passion for finding a way to make the energy and soul of Portland into a tangible thing. It's because of the reason behind the products, the meaning that they carry and have that makes them do so well.

This is relevant in so many ways to marketing. They started with the @Portland Instagram page, they got their image out there and what they were trying to do. They then built off of this to create a business, they started small, didn't really do any mainstream advertising, just post on Instagram, small pop-ups, and word of mouth. Now, after just a few short years, most people in the Portland and surrounding areas know what Portland Gear is. Just from those three things. They really knew their demographic and who they were selling to and really catered it to them, and I personally think it worked brilliantly.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you think was the best thing that Marcus and his friends did to help their business grow?
  2. Do you think is was beneficial to create a separate Instagram account just for the Portland Gear business? Or do you think they should have just added it to the @Portland account?
  3. Do you think tht Portland Gear would be the same had they used more mainstream ways of marketing?
  4. How do you think they were able to do so well without it?


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