Clients & Case Histories

Red Wing Shoes

Red Wing is reticent to challenge long-held internal beliefs but Tait Subler's strategic thinking and disciplined process guided us on a journey that challenged us to re-think how we view our brand, our stores and our core consumer. To our management team, their process was inclusive and non-threatening, allowing our internal team to take ownership of a much different and truly unique position for our brand. We are in a much better place today because of the contributions of Tait Subler.

Peter Engel
Director of Marketing

The Challenge

In 2009, Red Wing Shoes, the legendary manufacturer of premium work boots, approached us to help re-think their brand. The recession was very hard on their core target and the brand needed new focus in a quickly changing retail environment.

What We Did

We listened. We listened to the man tasked with guiding his family’s 106 year-old work boot business. We heard about the values that made the company thrive for so long (and we learned a lot about our feet). We heard from management about the challenges of an evolving retail environment. We learned what Red Wing means as a product, a brand and a badge to consumers. We even heard about the consumer’s relationship to work and how it ties into his values and self-esteem. Retailers told us about how they sell the boots and to whom. Then we did more analytical work, pouring through Red Wing’s data and conducting a quantitative, attitude-based segmentation of the market.

We blended this all together in a process of creative synthesis to arrive at a recommended Strategic Point of View and portfolio strategy.

But it wasn’t all strategic theory. We provided concrete implications for the product, pricing and distribution. Finally, we worked through our sister company, Hen’s Teeth, to find the right talent to express the new Strategic Point of View in a Manifesto and Video that set the tone for communications, internally and externally.

The Outcome

Leadership at Red Wing adopted the strategic recommendations in 2010 and the company posted record sales and profits in 2011 – defying the listless economy. In addition to the hard work by everyone at Red Wing Shoes, our multi-faceted recommendations were credited with contributing to this achievement.