I get asked that a lot. “Steve, what’s the deal with the red sneaker?” It’s a story — not a long one, but it is a story.
When I first found myself out in the job market, my wife and I took advantage of not having to go to work on weekdays to go up to the outlet mall in Pleasant Prairie, WI where, after first stopping at Culver’s for a burger, rings, and shake, we spent a few hours shopping. There was a sale at the Converse store and I bought a pair of red Chuck Taylor’s.
Fast forward to a meeting of the Executive Network Group. I felt the need to dress like a grown-up, so I put on a sport coat, but I also felt the need to act out a bit, so I wore my Chucks. I did the networking thing. At the next meeting, I wore them again and someone came up to me, telling me he had been referred by someone else in the group. He said something like “Bob didn’t remember your name, but said you’d be wearing red sneakers.” And with that, I realized that I had developed a brand!
I made a point of wearing those Chucks to every networking event, despite the fact that they’re just as uncomfortable as they were when I wore them for gym 50 years ago. People remembered me (in a good way, I think), and that’s one of the big points of networking. As I developed my website, it made sense to carry that brand onto the web, business cards, etc.
And that’s the story.
Thanks to Iris B for the graphic!