When a company has been making shoes for more than 150 years, you have to assume they've done something right.
In the case of Johnston & Murphy, they've actually done several things really well. Most importantly, they've built a strong fan base by manufacturing classically-styled shoes with mainstream appeal. They've earned the loyalty of those customers by placing an emphasis on quality, comfort, style and tradition.
Having said that, the people in their marketing department haven't exactly been slouches either. Their first slogan boldly proclaimed theirs to be "The best shoes anybody can buy."
In the 1920s, '30s and '40s, the company ran their "handsome lifestyle" advertisements in popular, high profile magazines. The illustrated, text-rich ads depicted situations in which a man might want or need a pair of stylish shoes. Consumers didn't just buy into the vision of an idealized lifestyle; they bought into the brand identity. Most importantly, they bought the shoes.
And finally, there are the Presidents' shoes. Since 1850, the company has made a tradition of sending a pair of shoes or boots to every U.S. president. This practice has certainly one of their most cost-effective campaigns -- and arguably been one of their most valuable marketing tools at that.
Not only does the "Shoes of the Presidents" title subliminally suggest an endorsement of the brand; it shows that the company itself has an enormous degree of confidence in their product. That what confidence has paid off. After all, what man wouldn't want to wear the same shoes as a President of the United States? It's like having a guarantee on the box. To further quote Tommy Boy, it "makes a man feel good."
Narshville, United States