Nike Branding Strategy

Just do it

The History of Nike

Originally called Blue Ribbon Sports (1964 – 78), founded in 1964 by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, today the brand Nike has become a titan in the sporting world. The history of Nike can be an inspiration and a history worth reading for people who are interested in sporting goods or running a business. Bill Bowerman was a field coach at the University of Oregon and he wanted to improve the performance of his students on field. Phil Knight was a runner enrolled in the track program of Bowerman and he also wrote a paper on quality shoes that that could be manufactured in Japan and would be in competition with many well-known brands at that time. Both Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight felt that there should be something more to improve the shoe technology. It was then that Bowerman convinced Knight that a partnership would work best for them.

We can say that there are 2 keys in the successful outcome of the company Nike. The first one is the continuous improvement in the shoe technology. They believed that the best performance shoes would automatically improve the performance of the athlete. Bowerman and Knignt never stop looking for new ways to improve the shoe technology. The second key to their ultimate success was the endorsement of celebrities. Some of famous athlete that Steve Prefontaine, Federer and Jordan.

Now, let’s have a look at the expansion of Nike. In the 1990s and 2000s, the company expanded in many other sporting areas such as clothing, golf and soccer. Furthermore, the company continues to acquire celebrities to promote their products. In addition, the brands Converse, Jordan and Hurley also form part of the Nike, they are the main subsidiaries of the company. Today, the brand Nike is known and wore around the globe and the giant company employs more than 50,000 staff overall and only the brand is worth at nearly $10 billion.

Branding Strategies

Before looking at the branding strategies of Nike, we will have a look at the different types of branding strategies and how to choose one. So what is branding ? It is the marketing practice so that an individual can differentiate a product or a service from that of others. The branding process usually involves a logo, a mission statement and a design that is used in every communication type. A brand represents who you are as a business. Below we will talk about 6 branding strategies that a company can use to build its brand equity and add value to its business.

1. Personal Branding

Personal branding refers to branding that is used for an individual person rather than the whole company. This branding strategy is used to establish a person’s character or personality as a brand. Some examples of personal branding are politicians, athletes or celebrities so as to present themselves to the public.

2. Product Branding

Product branding is the most popular branding strategy that is used by companies. The objective of product branding is to differentiate a product from others. So as to help identify easily the products, symbols, logo and designs are important in this strategy. One example is Monster Energy drink, with its unique packaging and logo, it is easy to differentiate it from that of its competitors such as Red Bull.

3. Corporate Branding

Corporate branding is to promote the brand name of a company as a corporate entity. Corporate branding is also used to present a company to the world and to its employees. A company’s mission, personality and values forms part of an effective corporate branding. For instance, Nike, as a corporate brand positions itself as a brand in the sporting world.

4. Service Branding

A company use service branding when the want to provide their customers with quality service. They will use excellent customer service so as to give value added to their customers.

5. Co-Branding

Co-branding is promoting a product under two or more brands or businesses. It helps businesses to grow, spread brand awareness and reaching new markets. Once again, let’s talk about Nike. In 2016, Apple and Nike introduced the Apple Watch Nike +, the ultimate tool for running lovers.

6. Online Branding

Online branding or internet branding is used by many businesses and it’s kind of a trend now. It helps a business to position itself on the online marketplace. It includes a company website, social media platforms or blogging.

Nike Branding Strategies

In the above, we have looked at the different strategies of Nike such as corporate branding and co branding. So now, we will have a look about the different elements that have made Nike branding strategies successful. The first element is the logo and the name. Everyone has ever heard about Nike, the brand has a highly significant brand awareness. And did you know that Nike is the Goddess of Victory in the Greek mythology, yeah, a really good name for the brand. In addition, the logo of Nike is often related to speed and elegance. Therefore, it is easier to associate the brand and the logo of Nike to sport. The second element that makes the Nike branding strategy successful is its slogan. The famous slogan that we have all heard about is “Just do it”. Nike uses others slogans such as “If you have a body, you are an athlete” or “If you can control the cage, Control the pitch”. The slogans of Nike are very strong and it sends a message that sport is for everyone, just do it.

Another element that form part of Nike branding strategies is endorsements, yep, we have seen it above, it is celebrity endorsements. In the early days, celebrity endorsements have been the main growth driver of Nike. It was a good way to attract attention of to spread the word. Seeing your favorite celebrity wearing the brad Nike, is a sure way to persuade you to buy. Some famous celebrities who have become synonymous with Nike are Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.

What to Retain from Nike Branding Strategies

To conclude, Nike is not only a sporting brand. It is a brand that inspires people to achieve their best and that all they have is to just do it. We have seen the history and the evolution of the company and how a partnership has become a major brand in the sporting world. So if you are in the sport industry, the key is to be passionate, make your buyers believe that they are not only buying a product, but they are buying a brand that inspires them and has an impactful personality.


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