Nike is arguably the most dominant force in the field of athletic apparel and equipment in today’s world. The company was founded by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight in January of 1964 and was originally called Blue Ribbon Sports. In 1971 the name was changed to Nike which comes from the Greek goddess of victory. I think it is quite obvious why Nike is so wildly popular and that is sampling because of its ability to brand. Nike was able to latch on to the biggest athletes, starting with Bo Jackson in the “Bo Knows” campaign. When this campaign started in 1989, Reebok was still largely the most popular brand in athletic footwear. Nike used this incredible athlete that was wildly successful in TWO professional sports to promote its cross trainer shoe which promoted a shoe that was functional for multiple athletic activities.
Along with Bo Jackson, Nike has been extremely successful with Michael Jordan and the “Jordan” brand of shoes and apparel. Jordan shoes have become so popular that they annually make up about 60% of the basketball shoes sold in the United States. This is an unbelievable market share for just one sub-brand. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s Nike reached into one of the only market segments it had not previously apart of and that is golf. At the time there were not many similarities in terms of demographics between golfers and people that used Nike equipment. With the sponsorship of Tiger Woods, and the addition of equipment, Nike Golf went from $120 million in sales in 1996 to nearly $500 million in 2006. Nike managed to do all this while basically only sponsoring one golfer while the likes of titlist, ping etc. sponsored numerous tour players. Nike Golf became the popular choice among young athletes from different with different demographics than your typical golfer.
While using big name, ground breaking athletes to brand itself Nike grew into the giant it has become today. A lot of this work was done before the era of social media. With the integration of social media Nike has been able to enhance the promotion of its brand and spread it to the masses like never before. Social media that Nike is involved in includes Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, the company website, and Instagram among numerous more. Not only does Nike have a social media account through each of these for the brand itself but has numerous other account for each segment of Nike products.
Via twitter, Nike can promote new products, and often foreshadows new products in order to keep followers hooked and watching for the next big thing (as show by this tweet).
When followers are drawn in, they will often search the web or other Nike social media accounts to find answers which helps build Nike’s brand. Along with foreshadowing, Nike is able to build their brand when top athletes mention them in tweets. These athletes have so many followers and are so admired that when they mention Nike in a tweet their fans gain more and more belief in the brand.
Both of these tweets promote what Nike wants to be all about, which is hard work, dedication, and no excuses. Nike does a good job of using its motto ‘Just Do It’ as a hashtag to ingrain their message in the head of consumers. As far as Nike’s Facebook, they have over 22 million likes. Their main strategy in branding is to share photos of famous athletes in their triumphs, as well as inspiring messages often with the image of a famous athlete. Again, they are great on using the athlete and a few carefully chosen words to build and maintain the brand.
Nike is able to do similar forms of branding with videos on its YouTube account showing athletes in action, inspiring photos on Instagram, and detailed accounts of how Nike is doing good for its customers as well as society as a whole on its website. Each account is listed below.
With the addition of smart phones to our world, Nike, like most companies, has taken advantage of the use of mobile applications to offer users. These applications cater to a wide range of athletic interests. One popular app they have is the Nike SB app which gamifys skateboarding and allows you to learn new tricks, share videos, and track your progress. This app was rated 4 out of 5 stars by the Digital Buzz Blog.
The most popular Nike mobile app is the Nike+ running app. It is used to track each run you take. It saves data on your distance, number of runs, average Nike fuel points, and time spent running. The 9to5mac app mentions how Nike has added a health integration feature to the app which allows you to integrate Nike fuel data as well as elevation during your workout to the health feature the comes in the iOS 8 update.
As you can see, Nike has done a terrific job of branding to build itself into the power that it now is. They have become experts in using top athletes to gain popularity in their brand as well as appealing to all demographics in their advertising. They have maintained and continued to grow their branding through the use of social media and mobile applications. Nike is among the world’s top companies when it comes to branding.