K-Swiss , Gary Vee and Relaunching a Classic Line via Entrepreneurship

The Gen-K Icon Knit pushes the court style category past its conventions with a contemporary spin on a future classic.

Source: K-Swiss Icon Knit

A few months ago I wrote this article:

Can K-Swiss’ Fall ’17 Line Help Them Gain Ground?

The question was legitimate as K-Swiss has become the bargain brand at outlets like City Trends and discount stores. How has K-Swiss decided to re-enter the fashion/casual athletic market?

They are using social media pro Gary Vaynerchuk and his machine at Vayner Media to launch a campaign that highlights the entrepreneurial spirit of Millennials. It’s a similar digital strategy to what Allbirds is doing in Silicon Valley by making themselves the shoe of entrepreneurs there.

When I saw the new K-Swiss Generation series in March I said that the shoes had incredible potential. Now that the models have dropped and I see that they introduced the Knit version at 100.00 if the marketing strategy connects this shoe could see a similar growth pattern to the New Balance 247 which has performed very well.

Their Greatest Generation of Entrepreneurs anchored by Gary Vee is an unusual alignment in that they have taken an influencer who is a brand and a multimillionaire who does daily videos to enhance the position of his media ventures. He is a known Nike head who is always rocking a fresh pair of Air Force 1s, but has signed on to promote K-Swiss as the brand for entrepreneurs. I’ve said often that in order for a company to actually attach themselves to the current buyers/clients/potential “Icons” they have to do more than try to sell them footwear and apparel. They have to appeal to the aspirations and goals of that market. Gary Vee appeals to a giant market, but selling people on K-Swiss will have to be an organic shift or it will read as “marketing”.

K-Swiss redesigned their website and the splash section is for their Generation K models. They are featuring a series of entrepreneurs who look like models, and appeal to a range of cultures. They are establishing that K-Swiss is synonymous with risk takers, dreamers, workers and doers. Do I see that actually working and increasing interest in the shoes? The K-Icon/Knit models are dope. Unfortunately K-Swiss has dwelled too long in the discount areas and climbing out will take more than the golden touch of GaryVee.

For this to really take root, K-Swiss will need to be actively promoting and training the next generation. The influencers/messengers, like grassroots in basketball where the kids are the messengers and travel all over playing in tourneys with the gear of their sponsors, will have to be in each city, hosting workshops, helping people get started, showing students that there is an alternative. There will have to be a lifestyle integration or the shoes which currently have zero shelf space in FootLocker/FinishLine and Hibbett Sports, will fail to make the splash that the NB247 has done. This may end up in a similar place as the ASICS Gel Knit, on discount before it even has a chance.

I do like the Icon though… I really do.

 

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Chris Burns
Chris Burns
Founder, Writer and Webmaster at ARCH & CBP
Chris B. is the founder of ARCH.

The ARCH network is unlike other sneakerhead sites. ARCH is a more informative look into sneaker culture. By presenting information about the business of sportswear through marketing analysis, updates on stock prices and introductions to new brands and styles, the site is easily distinguished from the everyday site only giving you release dates.

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