I was 16 when I got my first Dr. Martens. Unfortunately, they were shoes not boots, and they didn’t have the iconic yellow welt stitching. My friends questioned my shoes’ originality and accused me of wearing cheap knockoffs. In my teenage universe that was a serious offense and I risked being shunned.
Putting aside the scariness of how brands influence our social behaviour from an early age, I have always been curious why my teenage villain, the yellow welt stitching, was such a big deal. A decade later, I learned about “Brand Attributes,” a set of traits which support the narrative behind a brand and shape its personality. Understanding the importance of these traits can be crucial in brand development and decide on its further success. In other words, we fall in love with brands because we are seduced by their attributes. If we can’t identify them, we question the brand’s authenticity. For example, a red Ferrari is always going to feel a bit more authentic than a black one. In my case, the yellow welt stitching was the key attribute that I was missing.
Dr. Martens, with its yellow stitching and other attributes, won the hearts of young people and became a symbol of rebelliousness. The story goes that its durability and firmness appealed to workers in Britain’s blue collar suburbs. But the real breakthrough came when the early ska-loving skinhead youth embraced them as an inevitable mark of their style in the 1960s.
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