A Q&A with Nike Basketball’s Charles Williams

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charleswilliams

At the end of last year, we reached out to an array of designers and product line managers and store owners responsible for some of our favourite releases for a Q&A. Some blanked us but plenty of folks replied. A lion’s share of the most interesting new silhouettes came from Nike Basketball who are on a roll at the moment, and as All-Star Weekend approaches, we’ve just upped a lengthy interview with Nike Basketball Senior Product Line Manager Charles Williams who kindly took the time out to talk us through current strategies, why the “Lebronald Palmer” never dropped and how relevant the connoisseur on the street is to the whole design process. Good dude, good conversation. Here’s an extract — click the image above or the link below for the whole thing:

Do you think back in the day, some of our favourite shoes would have happened or been held up if we’d had the same level of talkback? There seemed to be so much more controlled — you saw a shoe in a print ad, TV ad or on an an athlete’s foot for the first time. It was always fully formed.

I think it’s not just with sneakers — it’s with everything. You only have a very small window to keep a consumer’s attention. You can capture it, but things just happen so fast now because we’re just living in a different time. I always use the juxtaposition of Michael Jordan — an athlete that I admire immensely. If you think about the days when MJ was playing, we knew a little about who MJ was, but we only knew what he put out there. You wouldn’t see any of those Jordan products back then until NIke put ’em out! Whether it was a print ad or a display in a store, wow, that’s when you received it.

Now, it’s different. We have consumers that know everything about the athlete, know everything about the brand. There are some consumers who know things about projects as quickly as it becomes a reality! It’s a different day and time. We are in this era of digital technology and news extremely traveling fast — it puts a pressure on us to be as good as we possibly can and to have extreme confidence.

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