Sneakers, almost all of us own a pair... or four. Whether it are regular Converse All Stars or the newest Adidas Yeezy’s designed by A-list celebrity Kanye West. The sneaker market is a bit different than other fashion markets, for several reasons. One of them being that it is a part of street wear fashion, which revolves around distinguishing yourself through what you are wearing. This also means a different marketing strategy is needed to sell products in this market. An often-occurring strategy is collaborations on the design of the sneakers by major brands like Nike. What is the power of these collaborations?
Collaborating with athletes, such as Nike and Michael Jordan (Air Jordan), are the most common and famous collaborations. However, this is definitely not the only way to collaborate. Another example is brands working together with other brands or retailers. Dutch apparel and sneaker store Patta have collaborated on shoes and apparel with brands like Asics, Nike, New Balance and The North Face.
Often these collaborations are one-time events, so there is a sense of rarity and exclusivity when you own one of these pairs. The hype before some releases is so big that people will camp in front of the store up to 5 or 6 days, just to get their hands on a pair. An old rule in marketing teaches us; Scarcity brings value (Cialdini, 2009).Some of these shoes are now being resold for over 3000 Euros, while being sold for 200 Euros when they released. Good sneakers are like good wine, the longer you wait, the more they are worth.
Nike Air max 1 Collaboration with Dutch artist Piet Parra and Patta Store Amsterdam now being sold for $3000,-.
The power of collaborating
As mentioned earlier, the releases are often in small numbers, so the profit brands make, is not that big. So why should they pursue these collaborations then? The first reason for fashion brands to collaborate with another brand might be to increase their exposure. Their brand might have a slightly different consumer segment than their collaborator. Recently we have seen comebacks of brands like Puma and Reebok, partly through successful collaborations. These brands collaborated with influencing artists such as Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar. This example shows that collaborations can do a lot of good for the brand reputation of shoe producers when executed successfully. Also, the sense of accomplishment the consumer has when he owns something that is rare and exclusive strengthens the relationship with the brand he/she is wearing.
Rihanna displaying her own Puma Sneakers
In short, collaborations can be very beneficial for shoe producers in several ways. Creating a hype around their shoes, increasing brand exposure and creating strong consumer-brand relationships. Not every sneaker shows the story behind it, some will be worth as much as your dads car. I am curious what crazy collaborations the future will bring us and if the hype around these releases will keep on happening.