For a 108-year-old brand, Converse is still pretty quick on its feet.
It helps that Converse finally started to understand its audience. It has long appealed to counterculture types, but it wasn't until as recently as 2008 that the brand seemed to champion this.
"Creative people have made the brand who we are today," said Geoff Cottrill, vp and general manager of brand and segments. "They are really people we should be celebrating and serving. The role of a marketer is to find who your core audience is, and on some level find ways to serve them. It's less about how old you are and where you live, and more about the mind-set around creativity and self-expression that defines who our consumer base is."
According to Cottrill, the brand tries to celebrate its consumers rather than itself, and works to contribute to youth culture rather than take from it. The brand even has its own recording studio, Converse Rubber Tracks, where it records up-and-coming musicians, and runs a Wall-to-Wall street art program.
Converse doesn't tweet that much, but when it does, the brand seems to be promoting new band videos or its contest with Guitar Center. Its Instagram is better for shoe-porn shots, like the one above of its new collaboration with Swedish skate company Polar Skate Co.
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Instead of going for the usual 30- or 60-second spot for its new fall collection, Converse let its brand ambassador Pontus Alv shoot a film. Titled "Manhattan Days," it shows skaters Aaron Herrington, Kevin Rodrigues, David Stenström, Jerome Campbell, Dane Brady and Alv himself, doing what they do best.
- Converse has evolved significantly from its roots. Founded in 1908 in Malden, Mass., as a rubber shoe company, things started to change in 1917 when it introduced the All-Star basketball shoe.
- In 1921, the company made basketball player Chuck Taylor a salesman and brand ambassador. His signature was added to the shoes in 1932.
- Cultural iconoclasts like Hunter S. Thompson, Sid Vicious and the Ramones embraced the brand.
- Nike acquired Converse for $305 million in 2003 after the brand filed for bankruptcy in 2001.
- In 2012, Converse partnered with the (RED) campaign.
- The brand has its own recording studio in Brooklyn, N.Y., called Converse Rubber Tracks, which was founded in 2011.