Converse Case Study Essay

1831 Words Sep 20th, 2012 8 Pages
Converse: Shaping the Customer Experience

They dominated the basketball courts – both amateur and professional – for more than forty years. The first U.S. Olympic basketball team wore them, and Dr. J made them famous in the NBA. Punk rocker Joey Ramone made them standard issue for cult musicians; indeed, Kurt Cobain even donned a pair when he committed suicide. Today, a broad range of consumers, from the nerdiest of high school students to A-list celebrities, claim them as their own. What are they? Converse All Stars – more particularly, the famous Chuck Taylor All Stars known throughout the world as Cons, Connies, Convics, Verses, Chuckers, Chuckies, Chucks, and a host of other nicknames.
The cool quotient of the iconic Converse
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By leaving the brand in the hands of the customers, that’s how. In fact, when Geoff Cottrill, Converse’s chief marketing officer, discovered that the brand had achieved number one status on Facebook and was asked what the brand should do about it, he replied, “Nothing.” By that, Cottrill explained, he meant that the brand should do nothing that would mess up Converse’s valuable customer-brand relationship.
Even before Converse rose to Facebook dominance, the company had already embraced the social media. Today, Converse spends 90 percent of its marketing dollars on emerging digital media rather than traditional media. This allocation of promotional spending reflects a philosophy that customers, not companies, control brands. A company can influence what customers think. But, ultimately, customers decide what the brand means and how they interact with it.
As the social media emerged, Cottrill developed what he calls a “good party guest” approach to managing customer relationships. “Our philosophy in social media has been to bring our voice to the medium, which includes acting like a good party guest – we bring something to the table and we listen more than we talk.” This philosophy rests on the notion of “letting go.” Converse sees its role as one of making great products that its customers want to wear. Beyond that, it participates in consumer discussions rather than dictating them.
This is a dramatic shift from the old methods of one-way

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