Authentic Integration

I was reading a really cool article over at Label Networks about Levis attempt at authentically integrate itself in the the youth culture. We use the phrase “authentic integration” a lot over here. Sometimes its even about integrating an endemic brand into its endemic market, which sounds crazy but true.

I was thinking about it this morning and I realized that what brands need to understand when attempting to penetrate the youth market is that the younger generation will scrutinize you under the magnifying glass. The older you get the more you look for things like value or quality (or maybe that’s just me). For example, when I was a kid Nike Jordans were the “must have” kicks. I would kill for a pair back then. These days, I want something comfy, cheap and that looks fairly decent (black with white sole 9.5 for all you shoe brands out there). However, I still see the teens around my block decked out from head to toe in labels – LRG, Nike, Supra, Volcom, etc…

Here’s another good example…
I used to work at a skate shop that will remain nameless. The owner knew nothing about skateboarding. But for some reasons this guy opened a shop. He hired me. He then allowed me to turn it into a real skate shop, up until that time it was just a space to hang tees and shoes. So I created a team, threw a few demos and hired a knowledgeable clerk. Within a few months the shop was on the map. The owner took it a step further and took the team on road trips, entered them in contests, he’d hang out and drink with the older riders and all in all he completely immersed himself in the culture and community. He even started to ride a cruiser around town. The shop was around for about five years. At the end of it everyone had the owners back. He truly, authentically integrated himself. Have you gone this far for your brand?

So when you’re sitting around the board room asking yourselves how do we gain market share in a market we know nothing about, realize that you better get an expert in the field (or a few).

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