Dear Clarks

Clarks Logo

Dear Clarks,

Thank you for being one of those bizarrely uncontrollable brands that – through no fault of your own – is wonderfully all over the shop.

Now I don’t agree with the glib cop-out that “brands are owned by consumers not by companies” (just an excuse not to bother coming up with – or taking responsibility for – a brand vision and strategy).

But your situation is somewhat different.

You’ve been adopted by so many contradictory sub-groups over the years that I can only assume that any attempt at formulating a coherent brand strategy is very challenging indeed.

Most surprising to me is that among singers, musicians, DJs and producers in Jamaica, you are “the ting”.

Clarks in Jamaica - QuoteIn fact, a somewhat niche book, Clarks in Jamaica, tells the bizarre story of how from your roots in Somerset, you became shoemakers to the reggae industry.

Clarks in Jamaica

But in England, as I was growing up, you were the sensible (and therefore duff) school shoes that I had to wear because my Mother had bought them on the grounds they were well made, durable and sturdy.

Clarks Boys Shoe

Clarks Shoe Size Gauge

The memory makes me flinch, not least because the Geography teacher also invariably sported you.

Clarks Geography Teacher ShoesSo soft and brown and stitchy.

Such sensible laces.

So leathery and rubbery.

So squeaky on the polished school corridor floors.

(Although the shoe above is currently available, I feel that Ecco may now be the Geography teachers’ shoe of choice).

Furthermore, it seems that the Mods also took a shine to the Clarks desert boot, as modelled here by The Who.

The Who

So perhaps you are in fact owned by your consumers.

But which group do you embrace?

When?

And how?

And what might you learn from the likes of Burberry, Cristal and Hennessy all of whom have been adopted / had their ownership taken over unexpectedly.

What a lot to think about – thanks Clarks.

Ned

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