The history of the brand Nike that has millions of customers all over the world began with an investment of 500$. The founder of the Nike brand sold the first pairs of shoes from the back of his car. In the next paragraphs, the specific ways of the organization, as well as personal qualities that helped Phil Night establish a world-famous brand, will be discussed.
How Did Nike Respond to Customers’ Demands so Successfully?
The two founders of the company, Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman, met in college; Phil Night studied journalism at the University of Oregon and trained as a middle-distance runner, and Bill Bowerman was his coach. He was also a former Olympic medallist. Later, when Knight studied at Stanford, a marketing assignment helped Knight formulate a business idea that would eventually become the famous brand. Knight and Bowerman had a great advantage: they both were runners and knew what kind of shoes runners needed. They knew many athletes personally and could understand and discuss their wishes. As the running track had changed, “Bowerman decided to create a shoe without spikes that could still provide good traction”, states Matsangou (2015, para. 5).
As the founders of Nike knew their customers personally, and the shoes they offered were more functional than the others present on the market, Nike’s popularity began to grow. After the famous logo had been designed, Bowerman created a new model that wore Nike’s symbol: in 1972, the Olympic athletes wore the new model during the competitions and helped the brand become more recognizable. Thus, the founders’ involvement in sports and understanding of the athletes’ needs helped them create a successful and unique product. As will be discussed below, the founders of the company used several marketing strategies, but the 3Ps strategy was proven to be especially successful. It helped Nike communicate with customers, work with stakeholders, and promote the product among retailers.
Personal Qualities of Phil Knight
Throughout its history, Nike used various marketing strategies to boost the popularity of the brand: the company had used the co-branding strategy (e.g. with Michael Jordan), product differentiation (e.g. Air Jordans, shoes designed for John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, etc.), and innovative marketing (the Flyease shoes for people with motor skills difficulties). One of the main strategies used by the company is the 3ps strategy or the push, pull, and profile strategy. Each strategy is used to assure certain benefits will be derived (Solomon 2014). The push strategy is responsible for promoting the product to retailers. The pull strategy aims to communicate with the customers and persuade them to purchase the product. The profile strategy is needed to satisfy the expectations and wishes of stakeholders. Statistical data also can be used to support the 3Ps strategy (Levens 2011).
Phil Knight’s personal qualities have also played a major role in the development of the brand. For example, Knight has practically invented the culture of celebrity endorsements in sports. He had also influenced the consumers’ perception of a product: Nike shoes are not simple sports shoes, they are an inspiration for millions who can emotionally connect with their dreams, their favourite celebrities, and their goals. Knight preached an individual, loyal approach to celebrities who would later become the icons of the brand; designers had to understand their personalities to create a suitable model for them. Such an approach helped Nike find fans among different kinds of consumers with different wishes. Nike, as well as Knight, are rule-breakers: when Air Jordans were banned by the NBA, the basketball star continued to wear them, and Nike paid every fine Michael Jordan had received. Another important quality that Nike has inherited is the understanding of perfect timing. Knight realized just in time what shoe athletes needed; the brand was transformed according to the cultural and social changes in society. The digital era was also used as an opportunity to promote Nike to younger generations and stress the brand’s “coolness”.
Levens, M 2011, Marketing: defined, explained, applied, Pearson Higher Ed, London.
Matsangou, E 2015, Nike’s Knight: the man who, when it comes to business, can ‘just do it’, Web.
Solomon, M 2014, Consumer behavior: buying, having, and being, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey.