There's a great interview at "Just for Kicks" with Come Chantrel. Read the entire interview here.
"Come Chantrel is a marketing executive whose innovations have really changed the industry. He was the first person to create a co-branded shoe for Nike - the Wu Tang Dunk in 1997 - and revolutionized street marketing with his implementation of street teams when he worked at Loud Records in the late 90s.
Come is a well-known sneaker head, and has just written and co-produced Just For Kicks, Following is an interview of how urban and street marketing have evolved and how it applies to the sneaker game today."
He really speaks to the power nontraditional marketing played in the companies:
"The Source was the only magazine that catered to our consumer but its distribution was still small. In the meantime the demand for street records was out there but we had to figure out how to reach the consumer and we came out with a new system that bypassed traditional media.
We started to rely on street teams. We had one in each market and they were the ambassadors of our products. They gave the 12" to all hot DJs who were playing them in the club and on their mix tapes. They went to the records stores, barbershops, the basketball court and the cool sneakers stores and passed out promo T-shirts and cassettes samplers to the urban/street opinion leaders.
Dealing with urban music, the credibility issue was key. They always brought the product to the local opinion leaders first and that allows us to get a stamp of approval from them. We were also able to get feedback early on product and trends and develop better product... That model proved to be working with hip-hop. We applied the same formula to the companies we consulted for outside music, such as Nike, Adidas, the NFL, NBA, Miramax, and Levi's.
But he keeps it real, admitting that timing is everything. That and a little luck...
What I thought was interesting was that he commented on the shoe that turns him on now is a Lotto Strada...
"Right now I cannot wait to get my Lotto Strada. They epitomize the lifestyle of the young and sophisticated Italian playboys from the Riviera. They are elegant but are also hustlers with a lot of game and they date all the pretty models and actresses. I'm receptive to that kind of performance..."
My intuition tells me the next big thing in urban culture will be a growth of the young and sophisticated look- the sleek player who's got it all. The urban Sinatra updated for a new feel. As libraries we can keep our eye on this trend and continue (or begin) to create programing that caters to the development of that sophistication. Libraries have sponsored a great programs wedding show, makeup sessions, etc appealing to all cultures.