We dont just talk to creative communities, we engage and enable them: Ankita B Shankar, Vans India

Vans India has lately been making news for its campaigns that are seen as redefining customer engagement.


Vans journey in India has given the global brand a new purpose. Given the sheer size of the market and the potential to scale up in short time, Vans India is betting big on the scope that India presents. Lately, the brand has been making news for its campaigns that have redefined customer engagement.

In an exclusive interview with EE, Ankita Bajaj Shankar, Marketing Lead, Vans India spoke about the big promise of the Indian market and how Vans is looking to make most of this growth potential.


What was the inspiration behind the Skateboard campaign for girls. How did the campaign work on ground?

Vans has been engaging with creatives around the world for more than 50 years. Whether it is making the first shoes for skateboarders, building skate parks, hosting concerts, or art shows, we love how creativity brings individuals together where they can learn from and inspire each other.

The first instalment of This Is Off The Wallis “Girls Skate India”, is an emotional narrative that shows female skateboarders inspiring and empowering the next generation through skateboarding and DIY spot building; activities that are often considered unorthodox for girls in many places of the world. When we tell stories like Girls Skate India, it cements our commitment to uplifting creative expression. Any program, product and story that encourages and celebrates creativity, ultimately drives our brand momentum. 

How would you sum up Vans India journey so far?

Our strategy in India is to maintain our brand ethos of enabling creative expression through action sports, art, music and street culture in ways that speak to the local consumer. Being in business for over 50 years has taught us that when we stay true to our identity and maintain our authenticity in any market, we’ll be able to grow our brand awareness.

How has "House of Vans ' helped you find better connect with customers globally, how are you implementing this in India?

House of Vans is where our brand comes to life. In any House of Vans format you’ll see skateboarding, art, music and fashion come to life, inviting the local communities to participate and engage with us. We are hoping to bring the ‘House of Vans’ to India soon and showcase how we enable creative expression under one roof so that our consumers in the local market get to experience our brand in person.

How is experiential getting defined by the growing use of digital in India, how do you plan to leverage it?

Our consumer today is multi-faceted and hyper connected. In person experiences are very important because it’s an amazing way to connect with individuals personally, but we are connecting the dots between our offline activations and online amplification so that anyone in the world can also be a part of the experience.We see that connection come to life through our ‘Vans Custom Culture Program’ which was created to empower and inspire creative individuals to express themselves through art and design. 

What potential do you see for Vans India in the changing retail dynamics that the country is witnessing?

It’s an exciting time for any brand given the new opportunities that online retail is opening up. As a brand, our focus is to meet the consumer expectations in ways that are brand right. Vans has always evolved through industry changes, but we evolve in ways that maintains our brand ethos and purpose.

When it comes to Vans India marketing mix, how big is the experiential part?

Vans is a youth culture brand, and we’ve been driven by youth culture since the company was founded. We are able to connect with our consumer on a personal level through the creative outlets we support and through the trusted products we provide. Hence experiential component is very high for us as we are all about enabling creative expression for our consumers.

Given how you push your marketing strategies, how has investing in creative arts given you a strong brand identity?

Vans doesn’t just talk about creativity, we actively engage and enable creative communities. The 2018 brand campaign is just one of the ways we showcase our commitment to inspiring youth culture through a variety of events including skate clinics, vision walks and board drives. Making sure creatives around the world have access to not only the skills but the resources to be creative.

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