Rockport vs Clarks- All You Need To Know

Rockport and Clarks are two of the most well-known names in the footwear industry. The majority of the styles and colors offered by the two manufacturers are strikingly similar. Rockport’s Rugged Buck Waterproof Boots and Men’s Stratton Limit Chukka Boots by Clarks are good examples. Even so, each of these top shoe brands has a few distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from other shoe brands in the market. Find out everything you need about the two brands in this Rockport vs Clarks comparison.

Rockport vs Clarks- An Overview

Rockport may not have been around as long as Clarks. But it is a trusted shoe brand that has been around for decades. The American shoe manufacturer is headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts. Rockport’s commitment extends far past its desire to innovate and goes beyond mere aesthetics. Footwear from Rockport is available in various styles and colors for adults and children. More than 60 countries worldwide offer Rockport shoes in various retail outlets.

British shoe manufacturer and retailer Clarks is a C. & J. Clark International Ltd subsidiary. It is one of the best-known shoe brands in the world, and that’s not a surprise given the company’s nearly 200-year history.  Hand-carved hornbeam is at the heart of every pair of Clarks’ shoes. And they’re joined by cutting-edge construction methods, technological advances, and modern materials to create uniquely stylish footwear. Clarks has over 22,000 styles of footwear for men, women, and children – including desert boots, work boots, sandals, slip-ons, sneakers, dress shoes, walking shoes, and more – to choose from. Accessories like socks and shoe care products are also available from Clarks. The company is also a founding member of the Leather Working Group (LWG), which is a collective that promotes “sustainable and appropriate environmental business practices within the leather industry.” The company is known for its use of sustainable materials, mainly leather.

Rockport vs Clarks History

The Rockport vs Clarks comparison would be incomplete without learning about the two brands’ history. That said, let’s dive right into it.

Rockport History

Samuel Katz established the Hubbard Shoe Company in Rochester, New Hampshire, in 1931. After his father died in 1945, Saul Katz became the owner of Hubbard. US shoe manufacturers relocated to countries with cheaper labor costs in the 1960s, making it impossible for US factories to compete with less expensive imports in the face of decreasing labor costs. When Saul Katz petitioned Congress to help the American shoe industry, the Carter administration enacted import limitations in 1977. But Hubbard had already closed its doors by the time the curbs were put in place. Saul Katz continued to handle Highland Import, a Hubbard-spun company that had survived. The historic Diamond Shoe Co. building had offices and imported shoes from Brazil to Marlboro, Massachusetts. Highland Import collaborated with well-known American shoe brands to create unique items. In Rockport, Massachusetts, Walter Dyer made a shoe modeled after the hand-sewn thick leather moccasin. After visiting a tannery in Brazil, Saul Katz gave the leather a name: “Rockport.”

Highland’s customer could not use the 3,000 pairs of moccasins brought into Marlboro because they came too late. He began selling these shoes in plain white boxes to tiny leather shops and shoe boutiques on the East Coast from Boston to Washington, DC, with the help of his father. Until Katz realized that others were copying the shoes and dubbing them “Rockport type,” they had no name to speak of. Ultimately, he returned to Marlboro and began selling his shoes under the Rockport brand. The Rockport Company was founded in 1971 by Saul Katz and his son, Bruce, from Highland Import. The business started with only $15,000 and grew steadily by turning a profit yearly. When the Rockport family decided to sell to British sports footwear giant Reebok instead of going public in 1986, the company was getting ready to go public. Reebok CEO Bruce Katz held the position of president for a year before handing the reins over to a new CEO. Saul Katz remained on the company’s management team until he was 70 when he retired. Adidas, a German athletic shoe company, purchased Reebok later.

After Berkshire Partners and New Balance Holding completed the acquisition of The Rockport Firm from Adidas Group on August 3, 2015, they united Rockport with Drydock Footwear, a subsidiary of New Balance, to create a new company called The Rockport Group. In addition to Drydock, the new company now has the Aravon, Cobb Hill, and Dunham names attached to them. Crescent Capital Group, one of The Rockport Group’s most important creditors, reportedly purchased Rockport from Berkshire Partners in December 2017. A “costly and time-consuming split” from its former owner, Adidas AG, was cited as a reason for Rockport’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 14, 2018. As a result of Charlesbank Capital Partners’ takeover in July 2018, the company’s 60 physical retail stores were shut down on July 23.

Clarks History

Cyrus and James Clark, two brothers from Somerset, England, established Clarks Carpets in 1825 and began making rugs from sheepskins. In 1828, James started making slippers out of rug scraps; this was the beginning of Clarks’ shoes. It was only in 1873 that Clarks took a big step forward when James’ son William automated the shoemaking process, putting the company on the cutting edge of technological advancement. A new foot measurement system for children in the early 1940s. This ensured that shoes were fitted correctly. When Nathan Clark invented the Desert boot, Clarks had its greatest “fashion” moment. Inspired by the boots worn by British army soldiers in Cairo’s bazaars, these basic suede ankle boots quickly became popular.

In 1996, Roger Pedder, who had just been elected chairman, came up with the idea to hire Tim Parker as CEO. And in  1997, the ‘Act Your Shoe Size Not Your Age’ Campaign completely revamped Clarks’ format and breathed new life into the brand. Parker’s successor Peter Bolliger completed the move from production to a wholesale and branded retail firm in 2002. By 2005, the company shut down the Clarks UK facility and the “K” factory and sold the remainder of the company’s manufacturing interests. Third-party factories, primarily in Asia, were used to transfer production offshore. The company also modified infrastructure and processes in the retail and investment sectors. In 2005, a distribution center with the capacity to produce 1 million pairs of shoes a week was built in the town of Street, where the company now maintains its headquarters.

Before her departure in February 2013, Melissa Potter was the company’s CEO, overseeing a reorganization of the firm in the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe. In September 2015, Melissa Potter resigned, and O’Neill served as non-executive chairman of the company until 2017. The company appointed Mike Shearwood as CEO. Stella David was named Interim CEO in June 2018 after Shearwood resigned. Ms.  David resumed her position on the board in February 2019 after Giorgio Presca was named CEO. According to an announcement made in May this year, the business plans to construct a new production facility adjacent to its Street, Somerset headquarters. Thanks to the latest robot technology, the new £3 million facility would employ 80 people and produce more than 300,000 pairs of Desert Shoes each year. 

Viva China Holdings acquired 51 percent of LionRock Capital Partners QiLe Limited, the private equity entity that holds the Clarks brand, for $51 million in January 2021. Li Ning, a former Olympic gold medalist for China, is the primary owner of Viva China Holdings. A new CEO for Clarks was selected in March 2021 in former Guess CEO Victor Herrero, a Spaniard. Before this, he had been a Clarks board member.

Learn about Clark’s marketing strategy in the following Rockport vs Clarks section

Rockport Marketing Strategy

Rockport heavily invested in the Hot Commute Campaign. Professionals in metropolitan are the target audience for the Hot Commute Campaign. The idea was to build a multi-channel campaign to reach busy, on-the-go modern professionals. The campaign focuses on the daily difficulties urban workers face as they commute. The commercial revolves around the daily dilemma the urban professional faces: How can I maintain my personal style throughout the day? An essential part of the ad is a film of two handsome strangers walking hand-in-hand as they make their way to work. Rockport Group uses the Hot Commute Campaign to promote its products, as explained below.

TV

An integrated consumer marketing campaign including the footwear expert and NBC’s The Apprentice is now underway. There will also be advertising for the Hot Commuter on ABC, Fox, Hulu, and BBE & Tidal TV.

Mobile Applications

Rockport will start advertising in vital mobile applications and sites as part of the Hot Commute campaign to appeal to the urban commuter on their way to work. A Rockport-developed smartphone app now shows the “Hottest Commuters” in towns and nations worldwide. Images of commuters are requested from users to show how they blend flair and convenience. Voters can select who has the sexiest commuting style in their town, city, or country using the app’s interactive features. Rockport is also prominently featured in the Vogue mobile app, which has an entire section devoted to it.

Digital/Online Campaigns

The New York Times, USA Today, Linkedin, People.com, and the Washington Post are some websites where Rockport will begin its digital advertising campaign.

In-Store and Window Displays

A window and in-store display based on the Hot Commute ad were part of the Hot Commute campaign Marketing and graphics will be updated to match the new Fall collection. That would be supported by massive mall advertising in major shopping centers across the United States.

Print

With ad buys in the issues of Vogue and Lucky, Rockport actively targeted women for this campaign.

Clarks Marketing Strategy

Not long ago, Clarks was quiet in advertising, mainly relying on the company’s reputation and customer referrals. But the company has stepped up its marketing efforts as outlined below.

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Unified Marketing Campaign

It used to be that a lot of the brand’s marketing efforts were dispersed throughout its various markets, with Europe being one, Asia being another, and so on. Each market was served by a different regional team, which used smaller budgets and heavily emphasized digital distribution. The most effective strategy to motivate customers to take action is to offer a consistent or unified campaign across all marketing platforms. It’s a terrific approach to building brand awareness when customers see the same message repeatedly and across numerous platforms. Integrated marketing is more effective than fragmented marketing, according to the experts.

The Use of Influencers

From social media to billboards to email, the global campaign featuring Alexander Skarsgard and Frieda Pinto was rolled out throughout the brand’s various promotional channels. Each channel received its own set of images and copies. The company’s markets in Europe, Asia, and North America were also affected.

Digital Targeting and Personalisation Strategies

By partnering with Wunderkind (previously BounceX), a top-performance marketing engine, in 2021, Clarks hoped to strengthen its digital targeting and customization tactics. This helped increase digital sales and consumer engagement. Through improved email capabilities, the brand could build more personal relationships with its customers and demonstrate its commitment to innovation across all aspects of its e-commerce/digital operations. Clarks already could identify visitors to its website before working with Wunderkind. But the shoe company sought to increase its reliance on Wunderkind’s identification and list growth technologies to build and expand its first-party data.

Closing Thoughts

For the most part, the product offerings of Clarks and Rockport are identical, although there are a few subtle distinctions to be found. Clarks and Rockport are two of the most popular shoe brands in the United States, although Rockport has a broader assortment of weather-resistant, high-quality shoes. Rockport’s variety of water- and weather-resistant footwear far outweighs Clarks’. The sustainability of the two shoe companies is another significant distinction. As previously indicated, Clarks has always prioritized environmental sustainability, and their boots and shoes are made from sustainably sourced leather. It’s also worth noting Clarks’ Acely range, which contains Lyocell canvas uppers produced from eucalyptus and “combines comfort and sustainable raw materials into one shoe. Vegans and vegetarians can rest easy knowing that Clarks’ shoes are created from materials other than animal products, thanks to the company’s selection of non-animal-derived materials.  There is a wide range of prices for both brands, based on your shoe style. You should expect to pay extra for boots and formal shoes from both brands, but that’s to be expected.

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Rockport vs Clarks- All You Need To Know Find out everything you need to know about Rockport and Clarks in this Rockport vs. Clarks detailed comparison.
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