Anywhere you look today you will see at least one person wearing the most popular brand in the world, Nike. Nike has been around for a few decades and has taken over the world as the biggest sponsor and brand in sports. In today's world you will see that Nike has taken over the NBA by designing and rebuilding team uniforms, they have the whole golfing world covered in head to toe with their Nike designs. The company has taken over the world, but it took a lot of hard work and major marketing to do so.
Starting off in 1962 Blue Ribbon Sports created their own line of high quality running shoes. They were slow in the beginning with only a limited amount of sales in its first few years. Blue Ribbon Sports redesigned and rebuilt the company adopting the name of Nike, based off the Greek Goddess of Victory. This was their first huge step in marketing, naming a company after the Goddess of Victory, showing their customers that they would win by using the product. Nike realized that branding themselves into sports would be the ticket to their success, the first endorsed Steve Prefontaine, a high level long distance runner. Prefontaine was coached by one of Nikes founders, Bill Bowerman. The attention Prefontaine brought the company made them realize that high level athletes would only get them more attention.
The most famous athlete that the company ever signed is Michael Jordan. Nike signed Jordan in 1985, a rookie at the time, but he "personified superior performance"(Kotler,2016), Nikes goal of being number one was right around the corner. The first year alone, "revenues hit more than One-Hundred Million Dollars.(Kotler,2016)" Nike was on top of the world with these numbers but they knew that they had to keep pushing and create more marketing strategies to increase their revenue sales. The first Nike ad was in 1988, where they premiered the "Just Do It" campaign, which is still going strong today 29 years later. The ad "subtly challenged a generation of athletic enthusiasts to chase their goals.(Kotler,2016)" The campaign was simple in promoting consumers that instead of beating around the bush, subliminally Nike was saying that anyone can accomplish their goals, but with the help of Nike products.
From starting as a small company manufacturing affordable running shoes to being on top of the athletic wear industry Nike has come a long way. With the change in the market and new companies being created to combat their sales, Nike has almost perfected their marketing strategies. Their product is known worldwide, and they have 1,142 retail stores to help with the growth of the company(Statista,2017). Not only that, but they have distributors such as Finishline, Footlocker, Footaction, Dicks, and many more selling their products. They have placed their product every single place they could think of, all with the simplest of designs on the box, a giant Swoosh sign. Placing their product on every top athlete in every sport has also increased sales in not only shoes but also apparel like hoodies, shorts, socks, wristwear. Although they are at the top of the food chain in their respective industry, they have kept their prices reasonably matched to the competitors.
Nike has kept their strategy for sponsoring the most famous athletes, especially in basketball. They started with Michael Jordan, the biggest name in sports in the 1980's and 1990's. They then jumped to Kobe Bryant, the biggest name in basketball around the time that Jordan was retiring. Keeping that same motive, they signed Lebron James, who has taken over basketball, and has released many shoes with his name on them, but with Nikes baseline on them. Sponsoring the biggest athlete has been predominantly a smart decision by Nike since their initial stages.
Nike has stayed true to their origins by advertising on television and sports, but that has also been a downfall for them. They have not adapted to the newest ways of advertising; social media. Social media is now the biggest form of advertising, consumers post pictures, reviews, comments, and promotions all over. The influence of one person about a product can change how an entire product or company is perceived by consumers.
The biggest competition for Nike