In an interconnected age, consumers are more educated and aware of today’s issues. The Internet and social media make it easy for news and information to proliferate and reach everyone. As a consequence, some consumers expect brands to “give back” and reinvest their money into society.
In this regard, footwear brands can define a strategy and think about how they can help the world. They can start using more eco-friendly materials, create and support social events, help non-profit associations and promote transparency over their manufacturing processes.
Brand Veja purchases its organic cotton from farmers who live in poor regions of Brazil, ensuring they receive a fair value for their product, and TOMS brand gives back to society a pair of shoes each time a consumer buys a pair for himself. An initiative that makes the consumer feel good to be an active member of society. These are just two examples of companies valuing the impact their products and their businesses have in the surrounding communities.
Sponsoring products with known athletes or artists is something companies like Nike and Puma have been doing for a long time. But partnerships with artists, famous personalities, and charity organizations represent interesting opportunities for brand growth.
Recently, adidas associated itself with Kanye West to create a line of products, that were co-produced between the athletic brand and the rapper. The idea is to use the artist creativity to create high-end footwear, accessories, and apparel. Knowing Kanye West uses adidas is very different from knowing Kanye West had a hand in the design of an adidas product. It’s a great way to reach out to all the rap lovers, specially his fans, and increase adidas brand value among them, and that was adidas’ understanding.
Footwear companies can and should also try to establish partnerships. Especially those who focus on offering high-value products with high differentiation. Even smaller brands can take advantage of a partnership with local charities, events or bloggers. The associaton with a big causes can create a positive impact on consumers.
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