Why are New Balance shoes so expensive
Column: This is how it works : When trust burns up
It was Steve Jobs' trademark. Black turtleneck sweater by Issey Miyake, 501 Levi's and his gray 991 New Balance sneakers. No hipster in Berlin can do without these sneakers. Otherwise the beard would be off. Many show stars in America wear them, as do Jürgen Klopp and his Liverpool FC. Hardly any other shoe brand has become so popular in recent years. A few years ago, the brand was actually down. They were found in the rummaging tables of large discount stores. Today, New Balance have made their way into the highly competitive running market.
New Balance recently extended its contract with triathlete Sebastian Kienle. A success-story. A brand that many like. Which became so successful because an important pillar of branding could be built up, perhaps the most important of all: people identified with New Balance. You can't have more trust. And it was precisely this trust that was pulverized by New Balance PR chief Matt LeBretton with a single sentence: “We fell on deaf ears with the Obama administration and, to be honest, we believe that things are going in the right direction with future President Trump . "
New Balance lies to the customers
Right after Trump's election, LeBretton sued in the worst possible way. That led to a kind of shit storm among New Balance fans. To show their frustration, they let their sneakers go up in flames, spread the videos and pictures of them on social networks. Press colleagues reported about it all over the world. LeBretton's motivation seemed simple at first. New Balance never agreed to the trans-Pacific free trade agreement negotiated by Obama. This made it difficult for New Balance to produce in the USA because it was too expensive. And allegedly, in contrast to manufacturers like Nike or Asics, large parts of the production would be in the USA. What has not yet been reported is the fact that this is simply a lie. New Balance has been producing mainly in Asia for a long time, for example in China or Vietnam.
Although the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCK) repeatedly called on New Balance to be more transparent - CCK advocates fair working conditions in the clothing industry - the company is not reacting sufficiently. New Balance has a code of conduct for its production. In the opinion of CCK, however, it does not contain a sufficient obligation with regard to child labor and living wages for production in Asia. I also asked New Balance Germany for a statement. To this day I have not received an answer.
PR boss LeBretton has not only supported the designated US President Trump on behalf of New Balance without any need. Without need, he abused the trust of the NB fans days ago. And although he knows that his company is anything but clean, he pours fuel on the fire. And the fire keeps burning. That's how it works. Not.
Mike Kleiss runs a communications and branding agency in Cologne and writes about running here every Thursday.
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