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Originators Only | Influencer Marketing & Scarcity

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Originally posted on ARCH-USA

People who create social movements and push culture forward know that it doesn’t come easily. In 2016 Saucony Originals started the Originators Only project, which features a diverse group of 10 creators (also known as Originators) from the digital sneaker community. Each of these unique individuals uses sneakers

Source: Originators Only

Without knowing what brand I’m discussing here, when you see Originators what brand comes to mind?

I like that Saucony is beginning to understand the power of influencers in regard to its lifestyle line. The brand has created a series that takes influential (Read this as dudes with a lot of followers on social platforms) sneakerheads and collab with them on a series of kicks. The kicks will drop in extremely limited numbers. 10 collabs at 100 per collaborator, or 1000 pair of shoes total.

Obviously it’s not a commercial offering and is purely a marketing strategy, but the question is how does this assist in establishing the street worth of Saucony? How will this shift the narrative of the brand? The Chocolate Pack along with the Bricks pack from the brand were two of the dopest drops this year, but the Chocolates are on eBay at way below retail and the Bricks aren’t far behind. Will this remove the brand from the discount racks at City Gear where the shoes are on sale for 39.99 and as low as 19.99? Will it remove the shoes from retailers offering the shoes for below retail? Foot Locker had models on sale for 29.99 at one point.

Influencers undoubtedly have enough of a following to sell 100 pair of shoes so they should sell out right? I mean I sold out of my shoes and no one has ever heard of me and I barely have 3000 followers on my social platforms combined.

Shade coming

Saucony and other brands are taking efforts to become cool by aligning themselves with influencers because of followers, but this is becoming such a consistent thing that it is a surprising decision that underscores how deceptive social media is at delivering the promise of brand notoriety and brand loyalty. While an Instagram or YouTube following can deliver eyes it doesn’t necessarily translate into sales.

The AHN (ARCH x Housakicks Network) garners over 70,000 Unique visits per month with an average of about 4% of all traffic from social media. The sites generate considerable income at over 4 million dollars in the last 5 years.

That’s the shade. I have to commend influencers for being a vital component in promotion for brands. It makes sneaker lovers into mini bosses and that’s what we advocate on the site. We want everyone to become a lot more active in the community beyond being just buyers. There is going to have to come a point when the brands look at the dollars and websites of their influencers. Social Media is an inconsistent marketing medium.

Saucony is making a couple of mistakes here. They are utilizing a name that lies too close to adidas Originals and the “Originals Never Die/Creators” themes. They are also placing their eggs in a basket based on the idea of scarcity which is no longer the biggest driver in purchasing by the sneaker community.

I like the fact that Saucony called on the community to build a marketing program. Shout out those “originators” for getting it in. However, Saucony is going to have to really create a serious grassroots division that takes on the perception that exists, or doesn’t exist, about the brand. A real marketing campaign built around the passion of the people versus the hype of the people.

Drop 1 of the Originators Only Collection features the collaborations of @Sneakershouts, @YoAnty, @Tylerjblake, @TonyD2Wild & @Sneakerheadinthebay. Each silhouette will retail at $120 and will release exclusively at on August 11th at 12pm EST. Each Originators silhouette is limited to 100 pairs, sizes available will be Men’s 8-14. Follow @SauconyOriginals on Instagram, @SauconyOrigs on Twitter or opt-in to emails to be notified as soon as it launches. Check out #OriginatorsOnly tag on Social for more on the collection.