Next week the MCXL semester starts. MCXL is a special program offered at Stockholm School of Economics aiming to foster the best marketers and communicators of tomorrow. MCXL was founded in 2002 by the rock star of SSE, Professor Micael Dahlén (Halleluja!). His vision was to turn a few, hand-picked Master of Science students into highly skilled and creative marketers. The program is led by teachers from the Center for Consumer Marketing, a research group that is ranked number one in Europe.
The first assignment in the program is to pick 5 examples of good and 5 examples of bad products and explain them briefly. My examples so far, happen to fall in the category of footwear.
I consider the following products to be good because…
Nike ID shoes
Nike really proves that they know the concepts of customization and buzz marketing with their Nike ID shoes. You can with their application, design your own shoes online according to your individual needs in terms of for instance appearance and width. The application is further connected to social media where consumers contribute to the marketing by publishing their design on, for example, facebook.
Nike red shoe laces
Nike manage to turn a low involvement product, shoe laces, into a product that people show interest in by connecting it to the concern about fighting HIV/AIDS. This also engage customers since it is a topic that people care about and are therefore willing to spread the good cause through social medias.
Converse “Chuck Taylor” baskeball shoes
The shoe was first introduced in 1917 and is still highest fashion. It can be seen on people with very different social status and age. Converse knows the importance of brand ambassadors and has been able to sustain the brand credibility although the shoes may be somewhat overexposed. By sponsoring rock bands and other artists, people can identify with the celebrities and the shoe may therefore communicate an identity among certain sub groups. The brand meaning is further strengthen by publicity regarding situations where artists were not allowed to wear converse shoes but refused to follow the restrictions.
The plastic shoe sold over 100 million units with its clear position with functionality rather than fashion with its foremost association of being comfortable. The brand is highly trusted since the famous hockey player, Peter Forsberg, endorse the brand. Furthermore, personnel at hospitals and other consumers also market them through word of mouth, often with the line ”I know they are ugly but they are so comfortable”. And yes, if so many people buy these plastic shoes for 699 SEK, I believe them.
Extreme shoes a´la Lady Gaga
The artist is a good product herself but would not be ”the most followed on twitter” if it was not for her extreme outfits, immediately catching people´s attention. Although boots are made for walking, these freaky shoes has a clear differentiation compared to other shoes. They have caused great publicity when Lady Gaga fell at Heathrow airport. Whether or not it was a PR stunt or an accident it serves the purpose of transferring the association ”freaky” to her own image. This PR was probably worth even more than Gudrun Schyman´s little pyromanic antic during Almedalen week.
I consider the following products to be bad because…
Foppa crocs high-heel
This brand extension is not only revoltingly ugly, but also a little bit too uncomfortable (trust me I know!). Therefore this product will probably dilute the brand image of Foppa Crocs and its association of putting comfort first (remember?). Although people may seek variety, it is in my opinion enough to switch color on the original Crocs. The only usage situations I suggest for this product is for masquerades (and of course, bad taste parties). But then again, how often do one really visit these kinds of social gatherings?
Although media is reporting that wearing flip flops are more damaging to your feet health than wearing stiletto heels, stores are trying to sell this crazy combination of high heels and flip flops. If they are not targeting suicidal consumers I am sure this will be the biggest flop of this summer. On the other hand, the shoes may be designed by poor private practicing orthopaedists, trying to expand their business.
Except from lawsuits the product may lead to unpleasant post purchase behavior when the friends of the consumer make them aware of that this is not the right brand. It may lead to fooling customers once but when the fake brand and the poor quality is a fact, customers will not be loyal to this brand even though they are offered to a lower price than Adidas shoes. All good things are threee, not four!
The GPS shoe is supposed to help you locating and keeping track of for instance kids or Alzheimer afflicted patients. From my point of view there are better substitutes for serving the purpose of espionage or care taking. If the target is considered to be confused enough to get lost, they may also forget why putting on their expensive GPS shoes instead of another pair of shoes. Consumers interested in a GPS may not be willing to see the additional benefits of having a GPS that is tied to a pair of shoes when they can have a GPS in their car or phone.
So there is still one bad product missing. Do you have any suggestions on bad shoes? Still a few days left to think about this task, the future will tell if this is the same solution I present on Monday. I am excited about what this semester has to offer… 🙂