Revamping Crocs: The Company Moves Away From The Rubbery Clogs & Focuses On Foreign Markets

no_crocsThe CEO of Crocs recently introduced the company’s strategy for doubling sales in the next 5 years: shift away from the rubbery, colorful clogs, Crocs is known for. Domestically, the shoes are known for their less-than-aesthetic appearance and clumsy design, but despite this reputation, they generate roughly half of the company’s total sales. However, the company CEO wants to separate the company image from the clogs and focus on foreign markets where the brand does not carry a fashion faux-pa stigma. We asked Zintro experts specializing in product management to share their opinions on this decision and discuss what the shift might mean for the brand.

Richard Liddicoet Meister, a brand strategy and product marketing expert, believes “The prospect of international expansion is definitely exciting but always risky for U.S. companies…But as certain market trends continue to lag in the States, it is no surprise that the CEO of Crocs Company is looking abroad in hopes of doubling his sales over the next five years.” Meister maintains that “In doing so, [the CEO] may be able to invigorate the brand…but before taking this proverbial big step into international markets, it’s vital that the Crocs Company have a viable and appropriate strategy for doing so. More importantly, they [must be] mindful that international expansion isn’t always as attractive or lucrative as it may seem.”

“While the Crocs Company may be growing frustrated by a decline in interest among American consumers, it is unlikely that they will fare much better in many, if not most, international markets.” Richard Liddicoet Meister points out that “Europe is still reeling from an economic slowdown that has crippled most of the continent. Similarly, Asian markets that might otherwise be attractive for Crocs have either begun to slow or are enduring an extended economic slowdown…Things may not be perfect in the U.S., but they don’t look much better abroad. One bright spot may be the Pan-Latin markets, but a growth strategy singularly focused on these countries is not only risky, but could take quite some time to pay off.”

“Additionally,” Meister continues, “when a company moves away from the product that epitomizes its brand, they run an enormous risk in confusing consumers and diluting the brand equity which has taken time and money to build. While Crocs may not be as well-known abroad, in those markets where they are known, it is likely that it is for those ‘rubbery clogs’ – plus, in many international markets, it may be that the clogs are the draw for consumers in the first place.” Therefore, “when extending your brand into new markets, it is important to maintain core brand identity. Of course there will be variations in how products are marketed across regions, but the core brand, in this case a portfolio that exists around Crocs’ primary product offering – the rubbery clogs – should remain.”

In conclusion, Meister asserts “An international expansion is an attractive proposition, but if it’s something they are serious about, the company must be certain that there is an appetite for the Crocs brand overseas, markets aren’t overcrowded with similar products, and that they don’t damage the Crocs core brand in doing so. In the end, shifting their focus to international markets may be a possible long-term growth proposition for Crocs, but is doubtful that it will be the short-term silver bullet the company may expect.”

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By Gabriela Meller

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