Kicks Here – Push There

Here’s to the blogging sneakerheads getting their due…

With sneaker blogs falling under the mainstream publishing umbrellas of late, marketers are reaching out to sneaker bloggers and other urban culture aficionadoes to push wares and other products for influence and sway.  Good to see that the marketing trade rags are preaching to the massess that bloggers do have an influential say in the consumer world.

Check out Todd Wasserman’s article, ‘Stomp!’, in BrandWeek

The article details how sneaker companies are not only reaching out to bloggers, but also are forming relationships with the sneaker aficionados and the purveyors of cool who drive urban culture.  The days of placing the latest models on endorsement feet and hoping for the best is long gone and is now only just a part of the game.  Footwear companies are looking to join the conversation rather than than the traditional route of buying magazine ads and billboard placements.

The cool thing about using blogs and blog networks is that the posts live longer than a print ad or flyer.  The ad not only lives online through indexed pages, but also can be read over and over again by hundreds of potential tastemakers who continue to research the post for hot info on where to buy, what’s hot, and who is wearing what wares.

A post on NiceKicks, HypeBeast, or SneakerFreaker, Complex, or Freshness Mag, and the product review lasts for every sneakerhead, style geek, or collector who searches the words ‘Nike SB’ can last for weeks…if not years.

For example of how brands are targeting sneaker blog posts, check out today’s Complex ‘Sneaker Essentials’ for Nike/Brand Jordan’s release of the ‘Melo VI.’

The reader not only receives the latest update on the ‘Melo VI’ release, but also receives commentary on what ‘Melo’s favorites were over the past year.  Also, there are direct opportunities for comments to either downgrade or upgrade the shoe.  Whether good or bad, the end result is a conversation with a consumer…about your brand.

As seen in the comments, you get a mix that ranges from “Carmeolo KEEPS coming out with UGLY shoes….DAMN” to readers actually determining whether or not Melo’s decision of wearing the ‘Melos’ to a wedding reception toe the line of cool.

(Ed. Note:  This blogga has adored rocking Jordan models to the office, but to a wedding reception was played out by ’95.  For this blogga, the patent leather blacks have always been a little too bourgeois for tastes.  If ‘Melo is really down about rocking a tux or his Melos to a wedding reception, how about producting light blue or even hot teal model for backwoods prom season….Coun-try.)  

Regardless of where the direction on the commentary heads, the end result is a powerful conversation with the audience.

With the Complex “Sneaker Essentials” commentary, Brand Jordan was not only given immediate feedback to make adjustments accordingly for adjusting colorways or tweaks for upcoming products lines, but also the possible idea of switching materials and creating a patent leather version for consumers who are looking to dress-up the shoe.

The empowering takeaway is that companies are seeing the true value of conversing the consumer.  Companies such as Nike, Adidas, Vans, Under Armour, and New Balance are allowing…if not inviting…bloggers to produce content about their products and upcoming releases.

With the demand for face-time and real-time exposure to cultural tastemakers rising above the brim, brands that drive the conversation rather than react to the discussion are ahead of the game.  In today’s world, the overall goal for marketers is not how to control the conversation, but how to engage in the conversation.

Stunting Off-Court,