When shoes are an accessory to the sock

While waiting to enter La Musée d’Orsay in Paris I noticed some interesting shoes on a young woman in the next line over. The shoes were shaped like . . .  piano keys! But wait! Those were socks, not shoes. The shoes were cut so low that they served as platforms for socks, giving the wearer great latitude in style combinations. In a role reversal, the shoe was an accessory to the sock. With one pair of low-cut shoes like these you could style-out with 10 pairs of eye-popping socks, giving the effect of 10 pairs of shoes. Plus socks offer so many more design possibilities. And they’re cheaper. And with statement socks like these you could do a nifty counter-point with a scarf: theme, color, etc.

“Footwear” redefined

In a nutshell, making the shoe an accessory to the sock redefines “footwear.” The “foot” now includes the whole foot. By providing less shoe, you create a larger product canvas, and a bigger market.

Brand lesson: create opportunities for customers

If I can derive a brand lesson from this shoe-as-accessory-to-the-sock example it would be this: develop your brand to create opportunities for your customers. Instead of offering a range of static choices, give them dynamic platforms so they can create and re-create themselves anew. By opening new dimensions for them, you can open new markets for yourself.

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