Greatness Only Cost $35
Posted: September 26, 2014, 9:35 a.m.
by Doug Killough.
“Everywhere we go; people want to know . . . who we are, so we tell them.” It’s safe to say that one particular company doesn’t have to tell anyone who it is anymore. This company is everywhere you look and everywhere you go.
I am willing to bet that someone you know, if not you, is currently wearing something Nike. That’s because Nike has branded itself as an international athletic apparel powerhouse.
Blue Ribbon Sports paid Carolyn Davidson $35 to design the famous “Swoosh” logo in 1971. Then, with the decision to change the name to Nike, the mammoth brand was born. Davidson was a graphic design student at Portland State University. That $35 “swoosh” logo is now recognized by people around the world and has helped turn Nike into a multi-billion-dollar company. But why? Why does this particular logo resonate with everyone who sees it?
One reason may be the people who wear it. It started with Michael Jordan. The world-renowned athlete endorsed Nike, and from there it only grew stronger. Names like Bo Jackson, LeBron James, Serena Williams, Carmelo Anthony, Derek Jeter, Chris Paul, Ray Allen, Drew Brees, Ladainian Tomlinson and Larry Fitzgerald all have appeared in Nike commercials or magazine ads. Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo also add an international presence to the brand.
This tactic is often referred to as celebrity marketing. Using a celebrity, in this case a professional athlete, effectively advertises a particular brand. Children always want to be like their role models and idols, so why not wear the same athletic gear? I know I did.
Another reason may be Nike’s extensive use of product placement. Have you ever seen “Friday Night Lights” starring Billy Bob Thornton? Have you ever seen “Back to the Future”? What about “The Terminator,” “The Goonies,” “White Men Can’t Jump” or “The Breakfast Club”? In “Big,” Tom Hanks wears Nike shoes in the famous keyboard scene. Nike is everywhere.
One strategy that has helped carry Nike to the top is its effort to appeal to everyone – everyone of all ages, races and physical abilities. You see, Nike wants to make sure everyone understands that even they can use its products. Its slogan is “Just Do It,” and the idea is that everyone CAN do it. It has a motivational factor that appeals to consumers.
Consider a 12-year-old boy named Nathan who lives in London, Ohio. He was featured in a Nike advertisement as a motivational presence. The tagline for that particular ad was “Find Your Greatness.” That tagline directly relates to “Just Do It” — as if we were left wondering, “Just do what?” Nike’s response: “Find Your Greatness.”
So you may be wearing the iconic “Swoosh” because your favorite athlete wears it in the game, because you saw it in a film or because you feel motivated to “Just Do It.” Either way, Nike has made its way into almost every home across the country and even across the world. Multiple strategies and tactics have helped Nike turn that $35 investment into a multi-billion-dollar success story.
Doug, this is a really good article. I always wear Nike when I am casually sitting in class or going to the gym. Nike is such a big powerhouse company, and I have never taken the time to think about how it came to be that way. It is interesting to see the many ways that Nike brands itself. Its use of celebrity endorsement, product placement and the “just do it” slogan truly engrain the brand into everyone’s lives. I feel there is one addition that would make this article even better and that would be comparing Nike’s branding tactics to other powerhouse companies such as Under Armour. It would show the competition Nike faces and would show how big it truly is.Permalink
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