Marketing Management Case Study 1
Marketing Excellence >>Nike
Nike hit the ground running in 1962. Originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports, the company focused on providing high-quality running shoes designed for athletes by athletes. Founder Philip Knight believed high-tech shoes for runners could be manufactured at competitive prices if imported from abroad. Nike’s commitment to designing innovative footwear for serious athletes helped it build a cult following among U.S. consumers.
Nike believed in a “pyramid of influence” in which the preferences of a small percentage of top athletes influenced the product and brand choices of others. From the start its marketing campaigns ...view middle of the document...
However, for Nike to build authenticity among the soccer audience, consumers had to see professional athletes using its product, especially athletes who won. Nike’s big break came in 1994 when the Brazilian team (the only national team for which Nike had any real sponsorship) won the World Cup. That victory transformed Nike’s image in Europe from a sneaker company into a brand that represented emotion, allegiance, and identification. It also helped launch Nike into other international markets over the next decade, and by 2003, overseas revenues surpassed U.S. revenues for the first time.
In 2007, Nike acquired Umbro, a British maker of soccer-related footwear, apparel, and equipment. The acquisition helped boost Nike’s presence in soccer as the company became the sole supplier of uniforms to over 100 professional soccer teams around the world.
Nike focused its efforts on international markets, especially China, during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Although Nike’s rival, Adidas, was the official sponsor of the Olympic Games, Nike received special permission from the International Olympic Committee to run Nike ads featuring Olympic athletes during the games.
In addition, Nike sponsored several teams and athletes, including most of the Chinese teams and 11 of the 12 high-profile members on the United States men’s basketball teams. That year, sales in the Asian region grew 15 percent to $3.3 billion and Nike’s international divisions grew to 53 percent of the company’s revenue. Some believed Nike’s marketing strategy during the Olympics was more effective than Adidas’s Olympic sponsorship. In addition to expanding the brand overseas, Nike successfully entered new athletic footwear, apparel, and equipment product categories by using endorsements from high-profile athletes and consumer outreach programs. The Nike Golf brand, endorsed by Tiger Woods, has changed the way professional golfers dress. Tiger’s powerful influence on the game and his Nike emblazoned style have turned the greens at the majors into “golf’s fashion runway.” In addition, Nike has used the superstar to help build its relationship with consumers. In 2009, it launched a Tiger Web Talkback session at nikegolf.com, where fans could ask questions and hear Tiger talk about golf. The session was part of a nationwide Nike Golf consumer experience day, which included equipment demos, long-drive contests, and in-store specials.
In tennis, Nike has aligned with Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal to push its line of tennis clothing and gear. Some called the famous 2008 Wimbledon match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal—both dressed in swooshes from head to toe—a five-hour Nike commercial valued at $10.6 million.
Nike teamed up with seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong not only to sell Nike products but also to help Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG campaign. Nike designed, manufactured, and sold over 70 million yellow LIVESTRONG bracelets, netting $80...