The annual celebration of the NBA’s greatest talents was on full display in the Queen City this past weekend. High-flying dunks, deep three pointers, and an astonishing lack of defense were all to be expected on the court, but just as these things are predictable, the shoe brands who attach themselves to the athletes are just as much of a mainstay.
All-Star weekend has long been used as a platform to put on display the latest and greatest in the huge market that is athletic footware. In an arena long dominated by Nike -beginning with His Airness himself (and current Charlotte Hornets owner) Michael Jordan- Jordan Brand intends to put on “an experience unlike anything the league has seen” with “a series of community workshops, events and sneaker launches.”
But the world of basketball shoe deals has been shifting recently. Despite Nike’s historic preeminence, other brands have been successfully carving out a space. Beginning with two-time MVP (and Charlotte native) Steph Curry -who also teased a new colorway for his Curry 6 shoe this weekend- Nike missed out on signing one of the leagues biggest stars. Now another competitor has entered the ring in New Balance, who formally unveiled their first signature basketball shoe with star Kawhi Leonard.
Not to be outdone, Puma released a special Charlotte themed version of their lead basketball shoe, the Uproar, that 4 time all-star DeMarcus Cousins has been spotted wearing recently.
As markets evolve or, as in Nike’s case, competitors begin to build up more threatening portfolios, brands at the top of their space need to make sure they consistently updating their understanding of what drives success. On the other side of the coin, new brands or brands attempting to go after an established industry leader must make sure they have an understanding of why the Brand/s currently at the top are there, and at the same time be able to innovate in a way that distinguishes them as a true competitor.
This remains true throughout the branding process. From Brand Naming to Logo Design, to Corporate Naming or Tag Line Creation; having a process that combines a historical, comprehensive understanding of the pillars of Brand success with an innovative methodology designed to produce consistent results is absolutely crucial.