Content brand of the week: Crooked Tongues, the online store with fresh kicks and fresher content

Le Coq Sportif x Crooked Tongues
Le Coq Sportif x Crooked Tongues

What’s Crooked Tongues then? Some kind of novelty orthodontist?

Nope, it’s a shoe shop, or rather it’s an online sneaker store that’s made big waves on the famously insular sneakerhead scene.

You mean those guys who spend hours arguing over whether the new Adidas Micro Pacers can ever measure up to the ’87 original?

Yep those guys. Impressive sneaker knowledge by the way.

Thanks, no idea where it came from. Just sort of flowed out of me.

Crooked Tongues is unusual for one of our content brands as it is much more of a retail brand and, barring a few very small collaboration collections with much larger names in the business, it doesn’t have any of its own products to sell. In one respect that makes the marketing team’s life easier because Nike and Adidas are doing half the work for them already, but it also poses its own problems.

Like ‘why should I buy my kicks from Crooked Tongues when I can get them for the same price at three other retailers and the brand that produced them?’

Exactly. And that’s why content is so important. Reading a news article in the Crooked Tongues ‘Magazine’ (essentially a blog channel) is like stepping into a real-life trainer store, complete with delicious new rubber smell and a seemingly impenetrable coded language. It’s an enjoyable shopping experience because it makes you feel like part of a supercool subculture, even if you don’t actually know your Huarache from your Hi-Tech. It marks Crooked Tongues out from other more generic e-commerce sites.

So they’ve got all the info on the latest kicks so I don’t have to embarrass myself in front of a scathing shoe-store assistant. What else?

As well as the newsy stuff about fresh products introduced to the store there are also features, pieces with a bit more scope. In the past Crooked Tongues has interviewed legendary shoe designers Tinker Hatfield, Mark Parker and Hiroshi Fujiwara, the men behind some of Nike’s most iconic shoes of recent years. Sadly this content strand has recently gone quiet.

And on social, how’s the brand getting its message out there?

We think the Crooked Tongues Pinterest account is a perfect example of how to use the social scrapbooking site to boost e-commerce (read more on this here). Every product in the online store is pinned to the brand’s boards, and the news stories are also represented there. That means whenever a user clicks on a shoe they like the look of for their own pinboard, a second click instantly takes them back to the relevant Crooked Tongues product page. No mucking about, just a clear three-click user journey from content to conversion.

Don’t they face the same problem with multiple competitors posting pictures of the same shoes to Pinterest though?

True, but there’s a lot to be said for the quality of a brand’s product photography, faced with the choice between something that looks like this… (from another, much better known online shoe retailer).

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 14.30.12 And something like this…

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 14.31.18

We know which pair we’d pick.


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More from Tom Owen
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Author: Tom Owen

A strategic storyteller and compelling content creator, awash with acuity and adept at alliteration. I work for Speak Media.

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