In this issue we introduce Vans, a California-based sneaker brand that has its roots in action sports. Vans is usually associated with youth subcultures, such as skateboarding and hip-hop, but the brand’s true value lies in its unwavering advocacy for a specific culture over five decades, and the progress it has achieved in convincing people to share in the free spirit Vans embodies. This makes us reconsider the meaning of 'brand management.' Vans has cared so much for its skateboarders that it seems entirely natural for the founder’s son to drive them to competitions or for the company to support injured or retired players. During his interview with us, Steve Van Doren, the son of Vans’ founder, said that the most important thing to his father has “always [been] the people.” He also quoted his father, saying, “Vans is not a shoe company—it’s a people company that makes shoes.”

In this issue we introduce Vans, a California-based sneaker brand that has its roots in action sports. Vans is usually associated with youth subcultures, such as skateboarding and hip-hop, but the brand’s true value lies in its unwavering advocacy for a specific culture over five decades, and the progress it has achieved in convincing people to share in the free spirit Vans embodies. This makes us reconsider the meaning of 'brand management.' Vans has cared so much for its skateboarders that it seems entirely natural for the founder’s son to drive them to competitions or for the company to support injured or retired players. During his interview with us, Steve Van Doren, the son of Vans’ founder, said that the most important thing to his father has “always [been] the people.” He also quoted his father, saying, “Vans is not a shoe company—it’s a people company that makes shoes.”

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