Vans are popularly known for providing shoes and clothes to skateboarders, surfers, and other atheletes interested in sports. In April 2002, Gary Schoenfeld, the CEO, is confronting various difficulties. Concerning footwear, he must determine what to do regarding two product lines that are striving – the outdoor line of climbing shoes and the ladies' collection. All the more, Vans is right now starting various new projects, some of with which the organization has little knowledge and skills. For instance, Vans is currently advertising a full-length movie, creating its own record marks, and working with computer game designers to produce games that are themed around its sporting events. Follows the highs and the lows of a niche fashion brand in a business sector where consumers are not loyal and highly inconsistent. As of late, the CEO seems to have rejuvenated the brand; though it is not clear if the company is under the threat of losing its loyal customer base as it enters the mainstream market.
1. What were some of the key characteristics of Van’s earliest customers in the 1960s and 1970s? What was the public perception of skateboarding in this era?
2. What was Van’s competitive advantage during its early days (in the 1960s and 70s)? What was its value proposition to customers?
3. How has the company’s competitive position and value proposition changed over time?
4. In recent years Van’s has expanded in number of directions. The company has
a) increased the number of sports it is affiliated with
b) diversified its product portfolio
c) expanded its distribution and
d) broadened its promotional mix
Analyze each of these decisions in terms of their impact on Van’s customer base, its brand image and overall sports category.
5. The biggest question Schoenfeld facing now is how to drive the next stage of growth. The first option is to focus on the shoe category. The challenge here is to fix the women’s collection, and decide what to do about the outdoor collection. The second option is to focus on growing with in the entertainment category; despite the fact that company admits it has little expertise in it. The challenge here is to figure out which projects to focus on, including movies, music and videogames. Do you believe the company should be focusing on shoes, or on entertainment, or both?
6. Do you think Van should attempt to transform itself into billion dollar megabrand? Why or why not? Considering Airwalk failed miserably in this step in 90s.