Friday, 2 April 2010

If a leopard can't change its spots, can a Croc ...?

In "Crocs Gives Its Footwear A Loving Makeover", Sara Zucker writes on brandchannel of a neat side-step by a the love-them-or-hate-them Crocs brand. Instead of the colourful clogs that made the company famous, Crocs' latest promotion highlights a variety of modern slip-ons. The article links to a 30-second video which introduces consumers to Croslite, "a technology in all branded shoes designed to increase comfort and hug a wearer's foot". The new Crocs styles, says Global VP of Marketing Ken Chaplin, "reflect our expertise in the design, development and marketing of custom contouring footwear.” Adds Zucker:
"Crocs still deserves credit for reaching out to customers who just want to relax at home; this could help the brand to lose its widespread reputation for unfashionable footwear. The Crocs brand isn't the Snuggie, after all".
Fashionista knows how difficult it can be for any brand, in any market, to change its image -- not least since that can involve a change of loyal clientele too. It's also true that, except in the case of some elegant folk who could go out for the night dressed in disposable plastic bags and still look glamorous, many people found it difficult to wear the original Crocs with any real style and panache. Will this change of focus work, she wonders? On a deeper level, she ponders whether there is a middle ground between the fashionable and the unfashionable -- a sort of fashion-neutral position that Crocs can seek to occupy -- and whether that middle ground is a beachhead from which to leverage a brand or whether, perceived as neither fashionable nor the opposite, the brand will end up stranded like a beached whale. Can Crocs change their spots? Only time will tell.