Saturday, March 1, 2014

Blog 7: ...My Soul is on the Ground and I'm Walking Down the Street [Shoes: Part 2]

We were discussing my love of shoes when we last left this blog (I hope you all listened to the song.) Now that there is some familiarity with my favorite shoe company Vans, we can look into what makes me swoon over their products.

The first reason I prefer Vans is simple: I like the look and feel of their shoes. It is not only a quality product that serves a functional purpose, but also has a certain style associated with it that I like to show to the world. The second reason: there are many varieties of product available. Vans not only offers many different styles of shoes but has a complete clothing line that includes pants, hats, and other accessories. The Third reason: Vans is a strong supporter of youth culture, especially punk rock culture. The vans warped tour was a revolution in the way concerts could be held. Instead of selling out a single stage area for a weekend, Vans decided to take its stages on the road and hit well over 20 cities in the U.S. every summer since 1995. Thousands of fans come every year to see many of their favorite bands. What I found from my own visits to the tour is the sense of community brought on between different groups of people. I saw families with children, skateboarders, metal-heads, and every other type of music lover in between. Vans helped to bring many different people together for several common goals: good music, good fun, and a good community, as sponsored by good shoes. This is what I see as Vans greatest strengths and this gives what is called a competitive advantage.

The book definition of competitive advantage is an advantage over competitors gained by offering greater customer value, either by having lower prices or providing more benefits that justify higher prices. Vans offers a high quality shoe, stylish shoe with prices usually ranging from $45-$65. The company also offers customers the ability to make custom designed shoes from a variety of unique patterns and colors for several styles of their shoes (the individual marketing strategy.) Finally, the company stands for community as well as individuality. But what of other brands? Let us look at one of my other favorite shoe companies, Converse.

Converse has an unmistakable classic style that is known throughout much of the world. The Chuck Taylor style is associated with many different subcultures including musicians, skateboarders, hipsters, and basically everyone. Their shoes are comfortable and durable like Vans and prices are very close (about $50-$75.) They also offer customizable shoes. However, most Converse shoes are based of of the Chuck Taylor design and this makes it difficult to differentiate which styles are which. The higher prices can make it hard to determine what type of shoe to buy because they all look similar (Why is this one hi-top shoe more than this nearly identical one?) Vans has a competitive advantage because it offers more varieties of distinguishable shoes at lower prices. 

Well there you have it, the end of a brief discussion on one of my favorite products. See you all next week.
"...My soul is on the ground and I'm walking down the street" - The Suicide Machines

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