25 May It’s Gotta Be the Shoes
We all need to have some reward we work towards. A motivation that keeps us striving to do more but also reminds us of what it took to get to the goal we set for ourselves. For some, it is a vacation, a nice watch, time off, a spa day, whatever. We all have a “carrot” to go along with the “stick.” It’s gotta be something special. It’s gotta be something that has meaning. For me, it’s gotta be the shoes.
Since 1989, when Nike flipped the script on sneaker marketing and used mainstream, traditional media channels to create over the top advertising campaigns to sell shoes, I’ve been fascinated with sneakers. And for almost 30 years since then, I have collected and rocked every kind of Nike sneaker you can think of. But there is one brand of Nike’s that means more to me than it just being another pair of shoes. They represent something that reminds me of where I’ve come from, what I have grown to become and, most importantly, where I want to go.
When I was a kid, Nike’s Jordan sneakers were not even an option. At over $100 a pair even in 1989, my mother and father wouldn’t think of purchasing them for me. I never went without but they were not going to spend their hard earned money on, “a pair of tennis shoes.” But to me, they weren’t tennis shoes and they weren’t just another pair of shoes.
I remember when a friend of mine came over to my house in 1990 with a new pair of Jordan 6’s. He took them off and I held them in my hands as if they were the seventh Infinity Stone or the Holy Grail. As showed them to my mom, I can remember what she said to me, “If you can take care of the shoes I buy you and work hard, you can have those someday.” Well, it is someday.
I’ve collected Jordan shoes for a while now, but over the past several months, I’ve completed a collection. From the pair I’ve worn at my wedding (yes, you read that correctly), to the very first pair that my wife purchased for me as a birthday gift which I still have card in the box with the shoes, or the 72-10 special editions a client bought me as appreciation for our work, they each have a special meaning to me. Yes, it is a reward for some of the goals we achieved as a company, but it is much more than that.
These shoes are a reminder of the past. They remind me of the sacrifices my mother and father made to provide for me and, now that I am a parent to two amazing daughters, the sacrifices I will choose to make for them. They also remind me to think differently. These shoes took Nike from a running shoe company to one of the most recognized brands in the world. The strategy, execution and results of what we do for our clients matter and can make a huge difference for them.
These shoes are a reminder of the present. Each pair, with the exception of two, are all in the colors of the logo of our company, 898 Marketing. My father always told me that, “The past is history; the future is a mystery; all we have is the gift of today which is why it is called the present.” Regardless of what happens, I am grateful for what we’ve been able to accomplish in 4 years with 898 Marketing and these are a reminder of that.
However, these shoes are motivation for the future. They remind me that nothing is given…it is earned. The trust of our clients to produce, the respect from our peers and the successes we experience are not promised nor given to us without an effort we put forth to achieve them. There is always going to be something new that will try to challenge us or even replace us. But it is the dependable and accountable product we offer with every client experience is what will make us irreplaceable.
We all have something that drives us to achieve more. While that reward is something unique to each one of us, they all are designed to motivate us to achieve more. For me, these sneakers remind me of what I went through to get to where I am today and where I want to go in the future. And while I there aren’t any more pairs of Jordan’s that I need for my collection, these shoes will never go out of style in what they mean to me.
About the Author
Jeff Ryznar is a marketing professional with over 15 years of strategic marketing experience and planning for some of the largest brands including Ford Motor Company, General Motors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is currently the owner of 898 Marketing, specializing in custom marketing strategies and business solutions for small and medium sized business in the Midwest.