Nike has become more popular than ever.
At the mention of its name, ‘Just do it’ comes to mind together with the swoosh logo, and the company’s endorsements by athletes.
What makes the brand so special? Each of their marketing campaigns have ingredients that differentiates them.
The company was founded by William. J Bowerman and Phil Knight in 1964. It was then known as Blue Ribbon Sports. Their objective was to import to the American market superior but affordable running shoes from Japan.
The company became Nike in 1978, and it launched its first major television campaign in 1987. ‘Just do it’ became the brand’s mantra. Today, the brand owns 48% of the American athletic footwear market.
What makes the brand striking is that, in all its campaigns, the focus is always on running and the euphoria associated with it, never on the brand.
Given below are marketing strategies that the brand adopts which helps it maintain the position of a ruling player in its market.
Positioning of Products
Product positioning presents the benefits of a product to a particular audience.
As a brand, Nike promotes sports and makes it clear that its target audience are sportsmen, professional athletes, and people who want a sporty lifestyle.
Bowerman’s goal was to manufacture the world’s lightest running shoe, and this differentiated the brand from the other products in the market.
The takeaway from this is, if a company is selling a product, that product should possess a trait that sets it apart from similar products in the market.
For instance, a company manufacturing t-shirts could focus on how sustainable the t-shirts are.
Nike has forged an emotional brand. It often creates non-traditional campaigns which emphasize the fact that real athletes can come from anywhere. They are masters in authentic storytelling and have created a sense of belonging for their customers.
The brand also takes a stand on issues like Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ rights. Their spokespersons are diverse.
One of their ads paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, and was launched on the day of his memorial service. To take a stand against racism, they twisted their slogan and changed it to ‘Don’t do it’ after the killing of George Floyd.
Evolving Marketing Strategy
Without losing its core identity, the brand embraced new trends and technologies. The content they use on different social media platforms promote the benefits of their products rather than their features.
The narratives in their ads result in particular feelings, the predominant one among which is the feeling of overcoming challenges.
It also embraces new technology and presents its customers with shoe customization options.
Its HyperAdapt 1.0 is called ‘self-lacing’. The shoe has sensors that mold the shoe to the shape of a foot when one steps into it.