L.L. Bean returns to social media – with a mission

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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L.L. Bean’s self-imposed social media break is over.

L.L. Bean has ended its social media break, but things won’t be exactly the same as before it took a pause.

The iconic outdoor retailer is officially back posting on its social media accounts after going "off the grid" for one month in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month. This effort included L.L. Bean wiping its Instagram account clean, leaving behind a few resources encouraging people to get outside.

However, the retailer says it is returning to social media with a sharpened focus on “inspiring and enabling people to experience the restorative power of the outdoors.” Following are highlights of L.L. Bean’s new social media initiatives:

  • Proprietary research with University of California Irvine (UCI) Associate Professor of Psychological Science Dr. Paul Piff exploring the benefits of time outdoors. Through two consecutive studies, L.L.Bean and Dr. Piff will research the mental, social and health benefits of experiencing awe through time spent outside. Projects will focus on if awe through nature linked to improved social connection and emotional and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether an intervention to increase moments of awe have a positive impact on overall health and happiness.
  • As part of L.L.Bean's $500,000, two-year partnership to expand the sports and recreation programming for Boys & Girls Clubs, the retailer will launch an “Outdoor Recreation Playbook” in June 2022 that formalizes a "Social Recreation" curriculum, supporting emotional wellness activities and reducing the barriers for youth to have new and engaging experiences with the outdoors. L.L.Bean is also continuing to offer Outdoor Discovery Programs (ODP) at select clubs, with expert guides on-site to introduce young people to a range of outdoor activities.
  • Through a $500,000 grant and two-year partnership, L.L.Bean will work with Mental Health America (MHA) to reach people through community-based, mental health programs. The partnership includes research and multimedia campaigns aimed at creating connection and inclusion in the outdoors and uncovering the wellbeing benefits of time spent outside.
  • L.L.Bean is donating $50,000 to OUT There Adventures, an organization that supports the mental wellbeing and development of LGBTQ+ youth through outdoor experiences.

"At L.L.Bean, we believe the outdoors brings out the best in us. This is why we spent the last month off social media and prioritizing time outside," said Shawn Gorman, executive chairman and great-grandson of company founder L.L.Bean. "Now that we're back online, we're excited to work with Dr. Piff and UCI to better understand the restorative power of the outdoors, as well as partner with like-minded organizations to help ensure those benefits are as accessible and as inclusive as possible."

L.L. Bean operates 56 stores in 19 states across the United States, along with 24 stores in Japan and eight stores in Canada in partnership with Jaytex Group.  The company was founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean and began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. Still family-owned, Shawn Gorman, great-grandson of Leon Leonwood Bean, was named chairman in 2013.