Excellent Marketing Initiatives by Nike

Brands cannot ignore the fact that customers today are spoiled with choices. They have similar offerings or identical offerings among the various competitive brands worldwide. Today, the competition is not only your neighboring brand but all the brands on the internet. With the overload of informational and promotional content, consumers have decided to turn a blind eye.

By blind eye towards advertisement, we mean that even if you show promotional content to the customer or during a show that he was intently listening to, if you ask them about the product offering or brand name after the promotional content, they will not be able to recall. It is the famous problem of hearing and listening. They blackout towards the promotional content, and thereby, it has become urgent and important for brands to come up with innovative promotional content for their brand offerings.

In this article, we will discuss the various innovative and creative marketing initiatives taken by the Nike brand and how they have impacted customers' and viewers' purchase decisions or brand recognition.

Nike as a brand - Just Do It

Nike as a brand started running in 1962. Nike was originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports. It was founded by Philip Knight. The belief or value of the company is to design footwear as well as sports equipment for the athletes by the athletes. Nike's current focus has been on improving and maintaining this image. The major competitors of the brand are Adidas, Puma, Under Armor, and Sketchers.

Details about the marketing strategy of the Nike brand

Nike has always believed in using well-established or up-and-coming athletes with a clean image and hardworking personalities for their brand’s promotional content or as its spokesperson and ambassador.

"Pyramid of Influence" is the core of their marketing strategy. This means that the general public or athletes will only consider the brand's product or will be influenced to make the purchase decision in Nike’s favor when they see an eminent sports athlete using the product. If a person is interested in playing tennis or basketball and follows the same sport, they would prefer the brands that their favorite sportsperson is wearing. This was the simple logic that the brand has been using for decades now.

The focus of the brand is on shoes, wristwatches, basketball equipment, football, and soccer equipment, men’s and women’s training, and action sports.

Famous athletes that Nike has signed up for over the years in various sports domains

Nike understood that, though its main business lies in the creation of running shoes, it cannot ignore the potential and growing marketing of sports pieces of equipment, sports accessories, and most importantly, sports clothing. Hence, the brand partnered up with various renowned and dedicated athletes as their brand ambassadors over the years. We will be listing some of them for a better understanding of the concept −

  • Michael Jordan in 1985 and basketball − Jordan was an upcoming athlete when Nike signed him as the brand’s spokesperson. The Air Jordan basketball shoes generated revenues of more than $100 million in their first year. Sales spiked by leaps and bounds, and the company’s image was boosted like anything.

  • The launch "just do it" campaign by Nike in the year 1988 and 12 spots − The whole purpose of the campaign was to promote a self-empowerment attitude through sports. The campaign was featured in 12 different spots and was very well received by the viewers. The campaign cost the company around $20 million but was worth the investment.

  • Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal in Tennis − Nike wanted to expand its market in the tennis footwear and apparel industry. The company sponsored the entire sports attire from head to toe of both players, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, in the 2008 Wimbledon match. It was a five-and-a-half-minute Nike commercial launched by the company and valued at $ 10.6 million.

  • Kobe Bryant and LeBron James − To promote their basketball shoes and apparel, Nike as a brand partnered with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

  • Tiger Woods and Golf − He was the brand spokesperson for Nike’s gold accessories and shoes. Nike made a business of more than $523 million with Tiger, and it changed the way golfers dress and play today

  • Nike and the 2008 Summer Olympics − Adidas, the major competing brand of Nike, was the sponsor of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, but Nike, with their aggressive marketing strategy, not only won the hearts of the Chinese population but also created an impact for viewers from a different world. The company sponsored several teams and athletes, including most of the Chinese teams, and featured ads showing Olympic athletes during the game. Was successfully able to steal the limelight and boost sales.

Nike and its brand ambassadors

Nike as a brand is also known for staying in touch with the athletes even when they get off the track. For example, players like Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant will cut off ties in a second when they athlete is in the wrong shoes. For example, in 2012, it was proven that cyclist Lance Armstrong was using drugs as a mechanism during his peak years, and Nike came up with the statement that they were in no way promoting or supporting the consumption of illegal drugs.

Nike and Geographical Expansion

Nike also understood that, for entering different geographical locations, they would have to change the sports they played as well as the way they communicated in their marketing strategies. The US marketing strategies were considered to be very aggressive in Europe, Asia, and South America. Nike authenticated itself as per the boundary and also entered into domains like rugby, cricket, golf, tennis, basketball, and others.

Nike and Artificial Intelligence in sports and fitness

Nike as a brand is also trying to keep up with the latest technologies, like Nike +, the revolutionary running application; Nike + basketball; Nike + Kinect; and Nike + Fuelband.

The company also has roots in the sustainability domain. The company recycles the old shoes and develops them into new ones for their customers as a way to preserve the community, but you will never see the company advertise this. The major reason why Nike, despite doing a good deed, is not promoting it is that the brand feels like it would be taking away the limelight.

Nike wants itself to be positioned as a brand for athletes designed by athletes, and if they bring the concepts of sustainability and others into the picture, it will confuse its customers. Nike today as a brand is present in more than 170 countries, and the total net worth of the company as of March 31st, 2023, is around $190.16 billion. Consumer sentiments towards the brand are also positive, and Nike has more than 100 million members today.

Updated on: 12-Apr-2023


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