Manly Man Cross Branding

It used to be that an old-school agro-industrial company like John Deere or Massey Furgeson would be satisfied with producing farm equipment, and maybe a line of promotional gimme caps, something their sales reps could give away to corn farmers, which could be as as a badge of allegiance to their favorite brand of tractors.

John Deere Gimme Cap

John Deere Gimme Cap

Nowadays, things are different. Now the modern multinational industrial conglomerate feels the need to cross-brand itself into a variety of markets. Witness how Caterpillar has used its position as one of the world’s preeminent brands–the most storied and best-known maker of earthmoving equipment in the world–to cross-sell us boots and shoes.

At first glance, this would not appear to make sense, Caterpillar D-9 bulldozers and ladies shoes don’t seem like a good fit. But if you follow the progression in this market, it makes perfect sense.

Caterpillar has a brand famous for toughness and reliability, and nearly 100% name recognition among working men. So, sell tough and reliable work CAT boots (available at Uttings Outdoors) to working men

Colorado Boot from Caterpillar

Colorado Boot from Caterpillar

Not only does this make perfect sense, but it turns out, it’s a big money maker for a brand that suffers when construction goes into a slump, as it has over the past four years.

Much more interesting than work boots, however, is something like this…

Zachary Chelsea Boot from CAT

Zachary Chelsea Boot from CAT

The Zachary Chelsea boot from CAT, a moderately priced casual boot with a distressed urban flair.

This sort of boot above would seem to have almost nothing to do with this…

Caterpillar D-9

Caterpillar D-9

And, yet, here we are, crossbranded from heavy equipment into vaguely metrosexual footwear.

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