Today, the classic Chuck Taylor All Star” will no longer be the only version of the shoe that hundreds of thousands (if not millions) across the globe have come to love. Converse decided to answer the question: “How to adapt your business” and adapt a sleeker and more consumer friendly model of the Converse “All Star”. These shoes have been one of the most basic and adored models in the shoe industry for years – 98 years to be exact. Today the “classic” All-Stars has been upgraded to the “Chuck Taylor All Star II”.
Did you know?
Converse was purchased by Nike in 2003 for $305 million US dollars. Fast forward to today, and you are looking at what is once again (like pre-bankruptcy) a premier shoe maker and seller. The company manages to sell maybe more pairs than they sold back in the glory days.
Blackberry, Sega, Nintendo, Chrysler, and MySpace used to all be industry leaders. They rocked at what they did, and were idolized in their niches for the work and products they brought to the market. Unfortunately, all of these companies have one thing in common – a lack of long term vision. They all took the back seat once competitors got the “innovation bug”.
It all started with a simple idea: obsession. We obsessed creative spirits and realized they wanted more. A sneaker that meets the demands of their “on the go” lifestyle. The following highlights showcase what makes the Chuck Taylor All Star II different than any Chuck Taylor you have ever seen before.
Know When to Adapt
Timing is everything – whether in the startup realm or on Wall Street – timing always ends up having an impact on business. Now, obviously there are those successful players in each and every niche that know how to minimize the effect of timing so that it is not a crucial factor. Converse is a company that through years of successful branding was able to push to the bottom of the list any decision on making changes to their iconic shoe. Without getting too technical, the below BCG matrix gives an idea of where products are and how they move around, in terms of growth and market share. When is it time to adapt? When your star instead of becoming a cash cow, crosses diagonal and becomes a dog.
BCG Matrix – This diagram helps a company allocate resources to ensure that its product/service is profitable, today and tomorrow. Generally speaking, it’s used as an analytical tool in brand marketing, product management, strategic management, and portfolio analysis. As you can see, along the bottom (“x-axis”) you have got “market share”, and (market) growth rate on they side (y-axis). Based on correct plotting and numbers, a business can see where their product/service is currently situated, and track it over time.
Know How to Adapt
Knowing how to adapt is another question. Adaptation is based on your surroundings, just as an animal camouflages based on the surroundings it is in. Once you know that there is a need to adapt, or will be a need to adapt, start market research and looking into trends – both long term and short term trends.
Proper market research entails:
- knowing what your are looking for – or else your just looking for something that may not exist
- identify your target audience and how they have and/or will change
- Surveys may be old-school, but they are important to success and can be a difference maker if they are carried out properly
- Use analytics tools. Yes tools with an “s”. Analyze every last detail in your results
- Divide it into stages so that you are constantly reviewing and working with what you have discovered
- Stay impartial to results. Use them, but don’t come to a conclusion until you are done
- Look long and hard at your competitors: what are they doing well and what aren’t they doing.
- Ask for outside help. We sometimes shun information that we don’t want to see
- and much more (maybe even another article)
Looking at Converse, they did not rush into anything, and actually adapted while their product was still a “cash cow”, however it is something that could have been done to prevent needing to be sold in the first place. The change was made swiftly, and did not “reconstruct” the product or All Star brand, rather just upgraded it to be more 21st century-like.