Geoff Cottrill, Converse

But Cottrill had a plan: His first objective was to build a leadership team that would turn the focus back to the brand’s heritage and loyal fans. Hence, a campaign from Anomaly in early 2008 that showed icons like Hunter S. Thompson and Sid Vicious sporting Converses. But much of Cottrill’s success has been via digital media. Before Cottrill came on board, Converse’s Web site was a largely informative one that was geared towards retailers. Now, it boasts a huge amount of content, almost all created by Converse consumers. Cottrill refers to the online transformation as «a dramatic shift towards being consumer-friendly.» That shift has turned the brand into a curator of sorts for new music, art and fun.

Take, for example, a recent musical collaboration sponsored by Converse. The effort put Kid Cudi, Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend and Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast together in the studio to write a song. The resulting track, «All Summer,» was downloaded more than 66,000 times in the first 24 hours of its July 14 release and contributed to a 400 percent increase in traffic on a Converse blog that week. Cottrill estimates it brought in an estimated unpaid media value of $6.5 million from mentions.

By Rebecca Cullers

Photograph by Allison Cottrill

Geoff Cottrill, whose name is synonymous to many with digital marketing, says he draws much of his inspiration from a decidedly pre-Internet document: The 1913 Converse Catalog.

One passage in particular has resonated: «Our company was organized in 1908 fully believing that there was an earnest demand from the retail shoe dealer for a rubber shoe company that would be independent enough not to follow every other company in everything they do.»

It’s safe to say Cottrill has followed that directive. With a small budget, he resuscitated Converse by focusing—quirkily and imaginatively—on digital and social media. Matt Powell, an analyst at SportsONESource, credits Converse for being «one of the first [shoe brands] to exploit social media and the Web, talking directly to the end consumer and end running conventional retail. Converse has really embraced the alt/indie lifestyle and remained true to that consumer.»

The numbers bear that out. The brand has 8.8 million fans on its two Facebook pages, which is about four times more than Converse owner Nike has. And those fans don’t just «like» Converse, they buy them. Last year, Converse posted more than $2 billion in sales, a 26 percent jump over its 2008 sales.

That’s quite a change from previous years. Back in 1966, Converse—best known for its iconic Chuck Taylor shoe—controlled 80 percent of the U.S. sneaker market. But thanks to stiff competition, a string of owners through the ’80s and ’90s, and other factors, that number sank to a piddling 2.3 percent in 1998. By 2003, Converse was perceived as a has-been brand and Nike bought it for a scant $305 million. Continuar leyendo «Geoff Cottrill, Converse»

Are Brands and Agencies The New A&Rs?

Author Richie Cruz March
Much has been written about the music industry’s historic decline over the greater part of the last decade.

As the primary distribution mechanism has shifted from discs to digital, consumers’ discovery process has followed suit, evolving from the “new release” rack of their local record store to the link collection at their favorite music blog.

What many accounts of the struggling music industry fail to mention, however, is that the music industry’s ultra-fragmented, content-overloaded state has created an opportunity for brands to become involved as never before. The record label’s and record store’s historical position as middlemen between consumers and content is dwindling, leaving a vacuum that is rapidly being filled by blogs, publications and the savviest of brands.

Demand is at an all-time high, but the “means to consumption” have changed, says Roger Faxon, head of EMI Publishing, in his recent interview with The Economist. There are new free-and-subscription-based streaming services setting up shop every day, sustained and fueled by the rabid demands of consumers for more and better content.  The result has been the disintermediation of content – consumers no longer care where good content comes from, as long as it’s both convenient and good.

Do marketers and brands need to become A&Rs? Continuar leyendo «Are Brands and Agencies The New A&Rs?»


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