Vans’ EMEA marketing chief on its secret to brand success

Originally adopted by the skater community in southern California, Vans’ shoes – epitomised by their rugged make-up and sticky sole, have gone on to become a global phenomenon. Vans European marketing boss Neil Schambra Stevens speaks to Marketing Week about the secret to its success and how the brand can remain relevant for the next 50 years.

This year marks Vans’ 50th birthday. Starting with a single shop in California in 1966, the brand now has more than 585 stores globally and sells its wares in 18 ecommerce markets. While the brand has been resolutely tight-lipped about its financials, it is projecting business growth of $2.9bn in 2017.

Marketing Week caught up with Vans’ European marketing boss Neil Schambra Stevens to find out the secret to its success, how the brand and its marketing has changed over the years to ensure it remains relevant, and how founder Paul van Doren’s offspring still play an important role when it comes to building the brand.

MW Live

You can’t conquer the world from behind your desk. Click here to register for Marketing Week Live, or here for more information about the event.

Hide Comments1 Show Comment
  • Benjamin Reed 4 Apr 2016 at 5:42 pm

    So, refreshing to hear Neil Schambra Stevens describe the power of experiences, being true to the brand story and creating an opt-in culture. Amazing work.

  • Post a comment

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here