Vans Case Analysis

  1. What were the characteristics of Vans customers in the 1960s and 1970s? What was the public perception of skateboarding at the time?
  2. -They were mostly skateboarders and surfers. They liked being able to completely customize their own shoes the way they wanted them to look. On page 4 it talks about some of the characteristics being anti-establishment, anti-Vietnam, and anti-war. A lot of the customers were school based groups like sports teams, cheerleaders, and marching bands because Vans could make shoes in the school’s colors.
  1. What was Vans’ competitive advantage during the 1960s and 1970s? What was its value proposition to its customers?
  2. -I believe that Vans’ competitive advantage at the time was that there was no other shoe company like them. No other company specialized in alternative sports like they did. Their shoes were cheap but made with good quality materials. They were able to make their shoes in their own factories locally in the United States.
  1. How has the company’s competitive position changed over time? How has the company’s value proposition changed over time?
  2. -There position has changed over time in that they offer a much wider variety of products including skate shoes, snowboard boots, BMX shoes, etc. Their products are still very good quality and I even buy them quite often because of their comfort and style.
  1. In recent years, Vans has expanded in a 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 Vans’ customer base, its brand image, and the overall alternative sports category.
  2. -I believe what Vans is doing is somewhat reminiscent on what Airwalk did in that they “sold out”. However, Vans has taken a much more cautious approach to doing so and it has worked for them. They are a product that people are familiar with and will keep buying. I think that the fact that they have broadened their promotional mix is great. In the case, it says that Nike’s marketing budget was more than Vans’ revenue. But since Vans has become a much bigger company, they can start to compete with Nike.
  1. The biggest question facing Schoenfeld now is “how to drive that next stage of growth” (p. 2). The first option is to focus on the shoe category. The challenge here is to fix the women’s shoe category, and to decide what to do about the outdoor collection. The second option is to focus on growing the “entertainment” category, despite the fact that the company admits has little expertise in this area. The challenge here is to figure out what to focus on, including movies, music, and video games. Do you believe the company should focus on shoes, entertainment or both?
  2. -I believe the company should focus more on their shoes, but not entirely do away with the entertainment factor. Their shoes are what makes them Vans. That should be their sole purpose (no pun intended). I believe they should continue doing the Warped Tour and Triple Crown Series but not much more than that. They need to focus on their shoes and how to make them better for women and their outdoor collection.

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