From Meme to Dream: Crocs

2020 was truly an unusual year, and the recent comeback of Crocs is remarkable.  The company is known for its trendy shoes that went from popular to passé as its demographic shifted from the young to older individuals. With revolutionary rebranding, Crocs has reemerged as a fashionable brand again. Like every child growing up in the 2000s, I proudly wore Crocs. Now, I find myself once again enamored with these comfortable shoes.  

As a result of changing fads during the Great Recession, Crocs suffered from reduced sales and high inventories. The company’s financial situation was tenuous.  Nonetheless, for years, while business did not thrive, Crocs survived.  

In 2017, Crocs adopted a new branding strategy, including collaborating with celebrities like Drew Barrymore. This rebranding resulted in substantial growth over the following years. 

Despite the upward trend, in February of 2020, Crocs expected revenues to decline due to COVID-19. Instead, Crocs had one of its most successful years. Crocs’ most recent Form 10-K shows that revenue for 2020 was $1.4 billion, an increase of over 12% compared to 2019. By the end of 2020, the company’s common stock price nearly quadrupled. This momentum has continued into 2021. At the end of the first quarter of 2021, Crocs’ Form 10-Q showed that earnings per share was $1.47, compared with $0.16 per share the year before. In May of 2021, Crocs’ stock price increased 30% in one week after sales surpassed revenue estimates, according to Yahoo Finance. Crocs’ shares continue to be traded at record highs.

The explanation for this success is largely due to its comfortable shoes. With COVID-19 restrictions, people across the world were forced to remain at home.  Many chose to dress more casually and wear Crocs. Simultaneously, healthcare professionals have been called upon even more to work on the frontline. To recognize these essential workers, Crocs donated over 860,000 pairs of its shoes.

Crocs re-found its voice in 2020. It chose to keep its original design and instead change who it was marketing to and with. As former Crocs CMO Terence Reilly said, “We needed to turn this from a meme to a dream.” The brand now markets to consumers who are “comfy and proud”. Through collaborations with artists like Justin Bieber, Bad Bunny and Post Malone, as well as restaurants like KFC, Crocs reemerged in the spotlight and was the topic of many conversations. People are again proud to wear Crocs, and you should be, too.

Stephanie Zajac is studying public relations and advertising at Temple University. She serves as director of mentorship for Temple’s chapter of PRSSA. She previously served as assistant conference coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic District Conference
hosted by Temple in March 2021. Stephanie is also an account associate for PRowl Public Relations, Temple’s student-run public relations firm.

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