The ‘I Can Play’ Movement
SLAMonline checks in with PEAK execs.
SLAM: The relationship aspect is one of the things that you feel separates you from other brands,what other ways do you feel PEAK separates itself from the competition?
Carroll: I think wholeheartedly we’re about being visionary in doing things out of the ordinary around our athletes in product development. Other brands do things a little bit differently but we feel really good at this point in time because we are nimble and faster to move and be reactive. It enables us to have a great relationship with our athletes, around product designs, development, marketing and we feel like that can be a major separation for us. I think that a lot of other companies will feel it. Our focus is where we were born, which is basketball.
You know that basketball numbers continue to increase. The All-Star weekend was the biggest watched NBA All-Star on record and we were arguably, one of the big stories coming out of it. I think that where we are is that we can capitalize on what we’ve built already and we are going to continue to stay focused on that.
SLAM: As a forward thinking brand, what are some of the ideas behind the design process because I haven’t seen a model that didn’t have an theme or deep-rooted story behind it.
Carroll: I think that our storytelling has to be, arguably for all of us, is one of the most fun parts. We like to either be clairvoyant about a story and make it clear and we like for the consumer or the end user to be able to find out the deep-rooted story and the history about us as a brand of innovation. Storytelling for us is going to be twofold. We want to tell stories around the athlete and we want to tell stories around us as a brand. Our brand direction, which is around performance, we want to make sure we have our technologies correct and can that create a story, can that fit in with an athlete? What’s our athlete, what’s the greatest story around our athlete that we can tie back into the product?
We really want to have that kind of continuous, holistic approach from a design and development standpoint. We really want to drive that storytelling need and really allow the consumer to maybe want to tell that story to other guys on their teams that someone didn’t really get. We want to give you just enough to where you want to find out more and we’re going to hopefully bridge some of that curiosity back to our website and then really start to look for PEAK to be really great storytellers around how they came up with a shoe.
SLAM: You’ve talked about riding that wave from All-Star weekend which was almost a perfect time to have a release, but what are some of the little things the brand can do to make consumers more aware of the product?
Carroll: We had a really great meeting about that the other day. One thing we really want to do is be accessible. If you look at our tag line, it says “I Can Play.” I think that kind of embodies the PEAK brand that we’re going to really stay true to the notion that we’re about performance sports. We’re about enabling you to play at whatever level but we want you to play. The brand is what it is. We are a really inclusive brand. We’re not a brand that’s about being an elitist that says you can’t wear us unless you score 30 points. We’re glad that athletes do it, but we’re a brand that’s really about brilliant designing and building great product because we want you to play. That ties back into who we are as a brand and how we were founded.
That’s kind of our small nuances. We’re going to really start to build and drive stories for you guys as a publication. Through our website, we want people to have a really great relationship to where they are coming to look at something new on our homepage, our Facebook and Twitter pages and they can really start to feel like they know us. That will be a great thing if we’re out at events and people feel like they can really approach a guy and find out what’s new, get insightful stories, hear about athletes and download stuff that they don’t get to hear from other brands. We really want to be approachable as that brand that’s relaxed and fun but building great stuff.
SLAM: What do you want PEAK’s reputation to be in the United States?
Carroll: Well built performance product and well thought through. Really innovative in the sense of “they really thought about what I do as an athlete.” That to me is kind of that notion around “I Can Play.” If a runner, volleyball or basketball player is playing with distraction, like they’re worried about their laces coming untied or the shoe breaking down, that means it’s not well thought through. We’re going to be a brand where people can trust us. I think that as we get more ingratiated in the US marketplace, the athlete will be like “We can turn to PEAK,” and they’re going to come back for us and they’re going to really believe that they can go hard or go soft but they can believe that we’re that performance company that they can believe in.