One of the first brands that comes to mind when thinking of crazed fans is undoubtedly Converse. Established in 1908, the company released its flagship sneaker, the Chuck Taylor in 1917. Still its most popular shoe today, the brand continues to gain momentum among its fan base by constantly evolving based in its consumer preferences. Though the company has hit some rough patches financially, today it remains not only stable, but thriving, with over $1.1 billion in revenue during its last fiscal year.
Three ways that Converse has survived as an All Star in its fan’s eyes:
1. Converse allows customers to personalize their products, in order to make each purchase unique and distinctive. Fans are encouraged to do more than just design a cool pair of sneakers though. This summer, Converse partnered with Creative Social encouraging fans to “hack” their chucks in fun and creative ways. View the winning videos here. The company’s CMO, Geoff Cottrill explains, that the brand empowers its customers to believe that “unleashing their creative spirit will change the world.”
2. Converse focuses on five primary concepts to define it’s brand:
- Blank canvas
By focusing on the core values of the brand, Converse succeeds at continuing to keep fans engaged. One of the primary ways that they do this is with the honed focus on music.
The majority of the Facebook posts, a fan page that boasts a combined $42 million likes, center around bands, live music and self expression – exactly what its target audience is passionate about. And if that’s not enough proof that Converse “cares,” the company even went as far as to open its own community-based recording studio in Brooklyn, appropriately named Rubber Tracks.
3. Finally, Converse allows its fans to do the speaking on their behalf. And as we all know, fans love this. And additionally, with over 42 million Facebook fans, there are a lot of folks looking to talk. Cottrill’s philosophy is as follows. “You have to have the courage to let go and not try to control the conversation or broadcast advertising messages every chance you get. Be respectful of the time between purchases of your product by adding value and contributing to the conversation. When it comes time again to purchase, your relationship with them should pay off.”
Social Media ROI. Oh, that bugger again?
There remains a looming debate on the true value of social media ROI and how accurately it can even be measured. I have a tendency to take the position that less emphasis should be placed on ROI in the social space. My reasoning? If the focus on ROI is too tight, it is often reflected in the content, and often times has the opposite effect of its intention to engage customers. As Cottrill explains, “The real metrics are the ones about engagement and ultimately, about connecting a conversation or brand affinity to results. I think a lot of brands are trying to figure that out right now — can social play a role in generating sales?” So, should it be paid attention to, yes, but too much emphasis can have counterproductive results. Converse is a great case study for this. “Our philosophy in social media has been to bring our voice to the medium, which includes acting like a good party guest — we bring something to the table, and we listen more than we talk. It also means not bringing campaigns from other channels verbatim to a platform that’s about conversation,” explains Cottrill.
Converse has proven to be the perfect party guest – low maintenance, fun, a good listener, and always leaving the coolest kicks at the door.