Nike is a renowned multinational corporation that engages in designing, developing, marketing and selling of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories and services worldwide. These are in most cases related to sporting activities; athletics included. It is American based but with adorable marketing, it has been recognized all around the world. Its products are witnessed in various sports including golf, basketball, American football, soccer, tennis, rugby, cricket, baseball and various athletic activities. Building a brand as witnessed with Nike took years and it is in a position that may be the founders envisioned for more than 40 years ago.
It was founded on 25th January, 1964. At that time, it was known as Blue Ribbon Sports. The founders were Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight. It is important to note that Knight was an athlete while Bill was his coach. On 30th May 1978, it was officially regarded to as Nike, Inc. The name Nike originates from a Greek goddess associated with victory. Its trademarks are widely recognized. They are “Just Do It” and a swoosh logo. (Chirls, S. B. (1989, January 2). Nike’s bright Knight. (Phil Knight). Daily News Record, 13, 5, 7).
Blue Ribbon Sports established itself by engaging in the distribution of sporting shoes produced by a Japanese shoe maker. Sales were a success due to Knight’s influence as an athlete. In 1964, they managed to sell an estimated 1,300 pairs which resulted to a gross income of $8,000. This improved in 1995 to a gross income of $20,000. From here, they opened a retail shop which resulted to the birth of many other retail shops due to the sales they made. Blue Ribbon Sports launched its first footwear in 1971 was followed by the development of Nike that sought its own patent and trademark. By 1980, Nike had attained a 50% of shares in the U.S market and proceeded to going public on December the same year. It was able to move to its current headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon in 1990. This was after they had encompassed various sports and different regions. By the end of the year 2012, Nike is in a position to boast of a total of 44,000 employees and a revenue increase of up to US$24.128 billion. (Nike influence keeps growing. (1997, September 14). Chicago Sun-Times, p. 33).
Nike has established itself much better in the developed countries. However, it has recognized the need to make sales in the developing countries. Nike has been manufacturing its products in Asia and this has enabled them to enjoy quite an influence especially in footwear. They have not stopped there; African countries now feel the impact of Nike. For example Nike has involved African icons such as Didier Drogba and Paul Tergat in their marketing strategies (NIKE, Inc. Announces Strategic Management Changes.. (2010, June 5). Marketing Weekly News, 18, 7-9).
Currently Nike faces competition from companies such as Reebok, Adidas, Converse and New Balance. The competition is around the globe. However Nike can boast of being the best performer against them. This can be associated with its marketing strategy that involves the use of multiple sporting celebrities recognized and appreciated all over the world. It does not follow that Nike should relax because it has been noted Adidas is recording a 6% growth increase for instance. Reebok is currently the second after Nike and is viewed as the biggest competitor especially when it comes to footwear.
Human nature and behavior is not constant. What influences the society’s taste and preferences has changed over time. However, society has always had that person(s) that they would like to be associated with and they end up adopting the behavior and practices they observe in the person(s). Such include actors, models, musicians, athletes and reality stars. They are noted and their lives unfold in the media in many occasions. Marketing agencies have thus realized the need to incorporate the celebrities in their marketing strategies which has proved to be of great benefit in matters of sales and convincing.
Looking at Nike, they have been in the frontline in this marketing strategy. They are now valued at the world’s 31st most valuable brand (Annual Business Week’s Global Top 100 Brand Survey). A celebrity who comes to the mind of many when Nike is mentioned is Michael Jordan. This was a successful collaboration between a company and a celebrity. Jordan became very successful in his basketball career and remains as the most decorated basketball player of all time. It was so successful that a new brand developed from their collaboration that is, Air Jordan. The influence of this is still felt even after he has been long gone. Movies were produced in his respect and it would be noted that he was always wearing Air Jordan attire bearing Nike’s symbol. This has had a great impact on the growth of Nike and it is due to the love, respect and admiration that the society has for Michael Jordan. They have thus sought and are still seeking to buy products that have the Nike’s symbol.
Previously, Nike never invested in the production of golfing products and services. However, when they identified an opportunity to market themselves through a star, they wasted no time. The star in this context was none other than Tiger Woods. Nike went for the best golfer at the time. He possessed headlines all over the world and his success was amazing. Had Nike chosen another method to market in this field, may be their success would not be as it is currently. Tiger Woods endorsed the brand and it is noted today, Nike is very successful in golfing. (Melville, G. (1997, April 21). Tiger’s win proves Nike master stroke.
Aside from these celebrities, Nike has sponsored Mario Gotze, Landon Donovan, Wayne Rooney, Wesley Sneijder, Mario Balotelli, Ronaldo, Christiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. These have an influence on their fans and their team mates.
David Rudisha, a Kenyan athlete, was named the World’s Male Athlete of the year 2012. The young man was able to break the 800m record in the Olympics. Not only is he an African champion, he is a world icon. He is associated with a humble background. If Nike would involve this African celebrity in their marketing strategy, benefits would be felt. The benefits would result from the acceptance and appreciation of Nike’s product in Africa. These countries, especially where he comes from, are developing. The basis on which Nike markets its product in these countries would be strengthened and the sales would record a positive development at the current moment or for the future.
The Reebok brand in response to competition has its own strategies. For instance, in 2010, Reebok gave much attention to the sporting needs of women and made them a priority. Adidas on the other hand has strategized itself by committing in country by country competition. For instance, it has made India a priority in recent times. It has focused in sponsoring games that are most popular in the country for example cricket. It has hired ‘A’ class sports personalities to market and endorse their products. It has gone further to target young audience by sponsoring music production and rock shows.
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