I still remember my first pair of Chuck Taylors. I was 13 years old and as a product of the 80's, they were pink. Just like my Macintosh, back then my Chuck Taylors unknowingly helped define who I was and what I stood for. Individuality, Creativity, Quirkiness, Eccentric, I had a new found sense of confidence in who I was. Since then there has always been at least 1 pair of Chucks in my wardrobe (today I have 4) and I proudly wear them with everything from shorts to business attire.
For over 98 years, the Chuck Taylor All Star has been worn by the likes of everyone from rock stars to billionaires. More than just a shoe, Chucks had the same effect on millions of loyal people as they did for me. So when you have the worlds most successful sneaker, why on earth would you mess with it? What would possess Converse to redesign and update a 98 year icon?
They put the customers need first. Although everyone LOVES their Chucks, they're really not that comfortable. For years they have put fashion over function, riding on the rich culture and history of Chuck Taylors.
In redesigning a cultural icon, Converse first turned to their customers from around the globe. From rockers, to actors to designers, the most repeated word heard during their comprehensive research effort was comfort. Comfort is the driving force for many customers, and even though Converse may be on track to sell millions of pairs this year, would be naive to believe they were an exception.
While sneaker culture continues to grow, less and less new customers know nor care about the rich heritage or pop culture of the Chucks. Innovating their product from within, the Chuck II has been improved in both comfort and quality, with only minor tweaks to the design that only Converse aficionados would recognize. Unlike other brands who were quick to abandon the originals, Converse will also continue to offer the Chucks in it's original form - ultimately allowing the market to dictate it's future.
By listening closely to their customers, putting their needs first, and giving them what they want, Converse is creating a solid foundation for continued success.
Good design is centered around the customer. The brand who puts its customers first, whose sole purpose is to serve them, will always win.