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VF Corporation, Vans Brand Report Assessment

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VF Corporation, Vans Brand Report Assessment


Vans is a VF Corporation business unit operating in the footwear and apparel industry (Coleman, 2021). The subsidiary brand was founded by James Van back in 1966 and has developed a reputation in fashion through the years and is considered a reputable brand that has won trust in the world of sports. The brand is known for designing and manufacturing skateboarding footwear and apparel accessories (Borden, 2016). It has partnered with skating, snowboarding, and surfing sports to create footwear characterized by a strong grip, thick sole, and durable stitching. Although Vans has established its market share in the industry, it faces several business and political issues that affect its operations and profit margins. Vans face business-oriented challenges, mainly because of the dynamic shifts in consumer taste and preferences. There is an increased customer appetite that prompts the company to explore constantly creative approaches. In such a case, Vans will enjoy continued popularity if it can meet the consumer needs in design and footwear characteristics. On the other hand, political issues concerning import tariffs have influenced Vans’ operation ability (Mehmood, & Khan, 2021). The political standoff between the United States and China prompted a tariff imposition on Chinese imports, a decision that caused a trade imbalance in the United States and one that exposed Vans to manufacturing challenges.

Strategic Analysis

Porter’s Five Forces Analysis

Porter’s five forces analysis, helps determine different intensity influences that impact the brand performance and the market environment.

The threat of new entrants

The footwear and apparel industry has a moderate entry risk due to insignificant entry barriers. Individuals with the skills and capital have a freeway entry to the market and initiate a footwear business. However, new entrants do not pose any significant threats to already established brands such as Vans. Such businesses will need prolonged business periods and inherent experience to be part of the leading products. Therefore, capital brands such as Vans seek aggression to sustain the market shares they have gained and maintain consumer strength.

Bargaining power of suppliers

Unfortunately, the bargaining power of suppliers is low in this industry. This is caused by factors of the scale of operations, failed forward integration, and increased fragmentation. Many small companies have been established to supply required raw materials to brand product manufacturers such as Vans. Therefore, there has a limited supplier number in the international and local market. A low number of suppliers causes brands like Vans to have a high switching cost, giving suppliers more power to make higher demands.

Bargaining power of buyers

Buyers’ bargaining power in the industry has been characterized as weak. However, over time the consumer ability to bargain has increased as influenced by different factors, including market competitiveness and the customer experience in the market. Customers today have a lot of information about what is available in the market, and based on alternative options, customers’ bargaining power has increased. Competition from local and international companies has increased customer power to bargain for Vans brand products.

Substitute products

Vans brand products have rival labels that reduce the company’s market share and be competitive with such popular brands. For instance, Vans’ major and big competitors are Converse and Nike, thus potential alternative companies where customers can access what they need. At the same time, other local manufacturers offer their products at lower prices. In such a way, the chances of using substitute products are moderately high, requiring brands like Vans to use marketing strategy, positioning, and quality to maintain their customer base.

Rivalry among existing firms

Companies in different industries will develop unique competitive advantages that allow them to benefit significantly. Like in these industries, the footwear and apparel industry experiences high competition where brand products emphasize strong performance, product consistency, and growth. Van’s main competitors are international, Nike, Puma, and local. As a result, Vans has insisted on developing good quality products and provide outstanding products in the market.

Vans VRIO Framework

VRIO framework is a tool that fosters an understanding of the business elements that helps an organization gain a long-term advantage. The framework questions the business resource value, rarity, imitability, and how it is organized.

Brand Image

Vans brand image is an element representing the value of VF Corporation. Vans’ off the wall is a popular brand image with immeasurable strength in the company. The image gains popularity among consumers, creates a positive impression, and motivates consumers to purchase the product (Rushing et al., 2019). Celebrity influence facilitates in creating awareness of the brand in the market thus, making it more attractive. Vans’ brand image provides the company with a strategic advantage that meets the VRIO requirements and facilitates higher performance.

Product Innovation

Innovation provides for the creation of new elements that increase business productivity. In most cases, product innovation is done in a way that is less likely to be imitated by competitors. Product innovation over the years has allowed Vans to enjoy production benefits and penetrate the market faster. The innovation creation is unique and cannot be easily copied because of the high investment required (Rushing et al., 2019). Vans’ collaboration with influencers allows it to attract more buyers and maintain the leading position in the market.

Fit Technology

Technology advancements in an organization are made to gain a competitive advantage for something rarely provided in the market. Fit technology is unique and rare to find in a field; thus, Vans technological application is a rarity element in the VRIO framework. Fit technology ensures that Vans consumers attain an inherent comfort while using their products to minimizes injuries, especially in sporting activities (Rushing et al., 2019). This is a niche technology opportunity Vans utilizes, and the application of correct equipment provides it with a cost edge and good performance.

Supply chain Management

Organizing is an essential element in management essentially because it provides for effective practices. Effective supply chain management allows Vans to make final products less expensive for the consumer (Rushing et al., 2019). Besides, this helps customers receive ordered products rapidly, which offers Vans a sustainable strategic edge and regular efficiency.

Vans SWOT Analysis


Vans’ production is focused on a particular niche segment, allowing them to understand the customer base better, thus follow significant trend changes and other new customer needs. Besides, Vans’ innovative design on its products efficiently meets the market demands with such successful innovations yield substantial profit margins. (Vans Report Increase In Revenue & Digital Sales) Most importantly, Vans has developed strong relationships with its partners and stakeholders to enhance supply chain management. The brand popularity in local and international markets is a strengthen that allows for improved brand equity in the industry.


The high cost of production is a weak point for Vans which is incurred due to the focus on the value of a small audience. Increased spending, for instance, in event sponsoring, affects the business profitability (Borden, 2016). On the other hand, competition in the footwear and apparel industry is growing, indicating that Vans’ scope of market share improvement is limited. Therefore, it is challenging to make explicit earnings from the industry.


Vans has the opportunity to increase its direct sales to consumers and improve its margins by reducing the dependence on wholesalers. In the wake of digital marketing, Vans has a chance to expand its operations through e-commerce for more growth (Vans Report Increase In Revenue & Digital Sales). Today, more consumers depend on digital business platforms to buy their products of choice without the necessary walk-in in a store. It is opportunity niche Vans should embrace to capture a vast market share across the globe.


Changes and intolerance in trade between countries threaten the success of Vans in the future, following a likely disruption of the supply chain. Competition and threats of product copying are threats that could limit Vans’ ability to achieve. Such vulnerabilities, when actualized, could prompt Vans’ failure in the industry.

The Way Forward

Big brands like Vans will face demanding situations that threaten their survival and ability to maintain their competitive position. Vans can consider using some recommendations using the TOW matrix. First, the brand should take advantage of its high brand recognition to prioritize digital commerce to elevate direct sales to customers and inherent brand growth. Second, Vans should aim to differentiate its products from those provided by its competitors through increased product innovation, production of high-quality products, technological development, and building on the brand image. Third, Vans should embrace a premium pricing strategy because customers are willing to pay any price because of their interest in their products and their distinctive quality. Lastly, Vans should invest in sports events as a sponsor to perceive that the product offered is specialized to meet customers’ personal needs.


Reshaping Vans brand portfolio by enabling a consumer and direct retail-centric model will promote direct sales using digital commerce and through distorted investment.


Vans brand creative expression will inspire enhanced brand relationships in society. Therefore, more people will be willing to consume brand products manufactured by Vans and the VF Corporation to that effect.


Borden, I. (2016). Ollies at the Olympics: why having skateboarding at Tokyo 2020 is a winning move. The Conversation4.

Coleman, K. (2021). VF Corporation.

Mehmood, Z. H., & Khan, R. (2021). REVISITING THE US-CHINA TRADE WAR: A STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT. AUSTRAL: Brazilian Journal of Strategy & International Relations10(19).

Rushing, H., Webster, L., Mainwaring, S., Resch, N., & Iyengar, R. (2019). VF Corporation: The journey of becoming a purpose-led portfolio. In Perspectives on Purpose (pp. 131-143). Routledge.

Vans Report Increase In Revenue & Digital Sales – Boardsport SOURCE. Boardsport SOURCE. (2018). Retrieved 23 July 2021, from http://www.boardsportsource.com/2018/10/22/vans-revenue-up-26-and-45-increase-in-digital-sales/.


Strategic Analysis- Value Chain

VRIO Framework

Resource and capabilities Valuable Rare Costly to imitate Organization capable of exploiting Competitive/performance implications
Brand image Yes Yes Yes Yes Sustained. Above normal
Product innovation Yes Yes Yes Yes Sustained. Above normal
Fit technology Yes No No Yes Temporary. Normal
Supply chain management Yes No No Yes Temporary. Normal

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