nike marketing

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.

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Emotional Branding

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.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.