55 Top Marketing Blogs You MUST Follow (According To Marketers)
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The iconic sneakers have remained essentially unchanged in almost 100 years.
I dropped by Converse's Facebook Page earlier and had to do a double take in admiration. That playful flash of red! That mysterious giant hand bolted to the roof of the car! I'm instantly imagining a fun road trip with a bunch of devil-may-care musicians.
Why don't I have a pair of Converse sneakers, anyway?
Converse gets it.
And real conviction is precious in the marketplace, which is why the picture is so refreshing. You can surely imagine some marketing or PR person going, "Hey, we'd better not use that line. It's a little too brusque. It might turn people off. It might be offensive. What if we want to get into shoes next time? We'd better play safe."
The only way to truly be "safe" is to avoid doing anything at all. Otherwise, you might as well be bold. Making a bold statement requires guts. It requires the conviction to say "If somebody doesn't like us saying 'shoes are boring', we don't want their business." That's when you move from a frame of neediness to a frame of confidence. And people love well-placed confidence. It feels authentic.
Making bold statements doesn't automatically give you adoring fans, as Abercrombie & Fitch found out recently. It's important that your bold statement resonates with your audience, and the only way to really do that is to listen to them very carefully.
You'll have to constantly adjust and calibrate your message to make sure that you stand for something that people believe in. This requires a level of humility. You can't take it for granted that you know what your audience wants. You'll have to keep listening to them.
Guts to take action, to put your money where your mouth is. You say you love your audience? Prove it. Prove that delighting your fans and supporters is worth more to you than your immediate bottom-line. Show it. Don't be needy.
Converse has several things in common with RedBull, who dropped a guy from the edge of space and gives away drinks to tired or sleepy people for free.
Both brands have the confidence to spend time and money on things that are cool, but don't immediately improve their sales. This gives them the opportunity to hang out with their fans and advocates, and understand what they really want. They're "learning brands", with a finger on the pulse of their audience.
Converse set up a recording studio in Brooklyn, NY where artists can record for free.
Converse doesn't take a cut of the profits, or own the songs, or ask them to advertise their shoes, nothing.
They do it just for the opportunity to participate in the community that adopted their brand.
[caption id="attachment_5673" align="aligncenter" width="400"]
Converse CMO Geoff Cottrill. Image: Allison Cottrill[/caption]
Mashable's 2011 interview with Converse's Chief Marketing Officer Geoff Cottrill is an incredible source of wisdom. Here are some of his best points:
Incidentally, his twitter account description is "I sell sneakers and I do not like Coldplay".
Coldplay wears shoes.
Shoes are boring.
Images courtesy of Converse, Flickr, Kubrak78
Hey! Check out the story behind another shoe manufacturing behemoth, Vans!