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Q&A with Mathew Morgan, Vans Sr. National Marketing Manager China

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Q&A with Mathew Morgan, Vans Sr. National Marketing Manager China

January 13, 2016

He came to China with his father to teach English after completing an undergraduate degree in fine arts, not knowing any Mandarin. Now, 14 years later, Mathew Morgan leads marketing for Vans in China -- speaking fluent Mandarin.

“I'm sure I still sound like a foreigner,” said Mathew. “I’m not perfect by any means.”

After about two and a half years of living in China, he discovered the skate community. Born and raised in Canada, Mathew had always had a passion for board sports. He started skateboarding when he was in the 6th grade.

“Once I started traveling and found that there were skateboarding communities in China, that's when I got back into skateboarding,” he said. “I started to get involved with the people that were connected throughout different cities, and then one day it turned into doing marketing activations. I got into skateboard events – put on a few contests and things like that.”

That was in 2008, right when Vans was opening the market in China. Mathew was quickly tapped to join the team.

Today, Mathew works on creating marketing platforms that inspire creativity for youth culture in China. That includes brand activation platforms like the House of Vans, as well as product and marketing campaigns that invite Chinese youth to actively participate and engage with Vans.

What is the focus for Vans® in China?

The big thing we’re looking to do here is to be the brand that enables creative self-expression among youth culture. We're working on creating platforms for creativity, such as the House of Vans. We’ve also been trying to connect to consumers by enabling them to contribute to our product and marketing campaigns through true user-generated content and creative expression.

How has the market changed in China since you’ve been at Vans?

I've seen lots of positive changes, especially in consumer behavior and awareness of our brand. I’ve also seen an increase in young people’s interest in creativity and self-expression, and a strong willingness to participate, which is really fantastic. Now you see a lot of originality coming out of the creative community in China, from traditional creative arts to skateboarding and now in digital, and I think that's really exciting.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love the brand.  I love the culture.  I love what I do.  I mean, how can I complain about being able to provide kids with an opportunity to express themselves creatively? It’s pretty fantastic.  Some of the people we’ve seen over the years have created careers for themselves around artwork or design or skateboarding or even music. It's just such an exciting thing to be a part of.

How has collaboration contributed to Vans’ growth?

There are lots of opportunities to connect with people in the office and with the global team, so you can see what's happening at home and in other regions. That helps create more consistency across our markets and build the brand into become something even bigger than it already is today.