Brand of the Day: How Converse Learned to Love and Celebrate Creative Types

Knowing your core audience

For a 108-year-old brand, Converse is still pretty quick on its feet.

Yes, the brand filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and was famously acquired by Nike in 2003, but what changed? How did it transform into a winner again? 

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. 

• Social Media Profile (as of 10/2/14)
Facebook Likes: 40.6 Million
Twitter Followers: 705,124
Instagram Followers: 1 Million

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.

Recent Advertising 

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. 

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