I was shopping for various items of clothing, last weekend. It’s been a while since I did this, so my wardrobe needed a complete overhaul.
On my hit list, among other things, were ‘smart/casual trainers’ – the type you can wear with jeans, but which don’t look too scruffy.
I went to a number of shops and couldn’t quite find what I was looking for. As a last resort, I went into Foot Locker. They had all of the trainers I was expecting (Reebok Classics, Puma etc), plus specialist running shoes.
Alongside these running shoes, I spotted something odd: smart/casual, brown suede Asics.
Asics are running shoes – professional running shoes. They’re not your obvious make (Nike, Reebok, Adidas); they’re the make that proper runners know about and buy. They sit alongside New Balance and Mizuno. Serious marathon runners get these makes.
So why have Asics brought out a pair of casual/evening wear shoes – the kind you’d match up with decent jeans and a checked shirt?
It just seems really weird. They looked quite nice, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy them. Asics are for long distances, sweaty feet, plasters and Vaseline etc.
I can’t see Asics ever being accepted in the smart/casual market – neither by runners nor young, fashionable, funky types. Asics is an out and out athletics brand.
The point, as set out in the title, is: stick to what you’re known for.
Yes, you can branch out slightly, but if you make a leap too far, people won’t buy into it.
Remember when Pizza Hut tried to rebrand as Pasta Hut, in an attempt to appear healthier and more upmarket?
That idea died a death pretty quickly. Pizza Hut are known for quick, cheap pizza – always have been, always will be.
McDonald’s are constantly trying to push their healthy offerings: salads, fruit for kids, burgers with ‘100% British and Irish beef’.
Does anyone actually believe McDonald’s offer healthy food? Do they f***.
And didn’t Colgate – the toothpaste brand – try to enter the ready-meal market?
In all cases, the change in brand positioning just comes across as a bit odd, and too far removed from what the brand is known for.
Yes, try new things, but if you go off on some mad, irrelevant tangent, customers and clients just won’t get it.
Again, stick to what you’re known for.