Nike does business by actively responding to the market trends and changes in consumer preference by adjusting their marketing strategies, the mix of existing product offerings, developing new products, styles and categories and influencing sports.
Back in 1997, Nike entered the market by producing their own line of skate shoes. As they weren’t associated with the skateboarding community they found it difficult to sell in many specialist skate shops, as the market was already strongly in favour of companies such as DC, Globe and Vans.
In 2002, Nike came out with the SB Brand to re-enter the market. Nike released shoes with padded tongues and collars with the “Air Zoom” insoles. The core design of the shoe was similar to their competitor’s styles than their previous attempts.
Nike SB signed Paul Rodriguez in 2004 as a figurehead to the brand. In March of that year, Nike released the Nike Dunk SB collection, due to the increased popularity of skateboarding in California. A year later Rodriguez got his own pro model shoe named the Nike SB Paul Rodriguez Zoom Air Low. He now has an entire line similar to other athletes such as Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. This is typical Nike using the “pyramid influence” which is that the preferences of a small percentage of top athletes influence the product and brand choice.
Nike SB released their first video entitled “Nothing but the Truth” in 2007. The video included most of the Nike SB skaters which were either signed or sponsored and generated a lot of attention from video sharing sites such as YouTube due to the fact it was professionally produced and edited plus featured many famous skaters. This marketing approach, viral video was a tried and tested technique used by its competitor DC Shoes.
Reports emerged in August 2012 that Nike would be removing the “SB” from its brand and would sell the line in all stores, rather than exclusively skate shops. With Nike dropping the “SB” and moving into other Extreme Sports they released a new video commercial entitled “Chosen”. This features athletes shot at night in locations all over the globe. The video featured lighting and pyrotechnics that wouldn’t be out of place at a rock concert with extreme sports stars showing off their skills for Nikes global campaign. Highlighting sports the brand wouldn’t usually focus on, the ad includes skating, snowboarding, BMXing and surfing. Nike wouldn’t typically focus on these sports but it did so with a video contest calling for user-generated content covering each of the sports that the campaign targeted. Nike also challenged its audience to create as much buzz around their posts as possible, using a variety of social media tools. The campaign, heavily focused on social media and centred on Facebook driving online and offline interaction.
As a brand Nike has received negative feedback on some of its advertising related to extreme sports. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino criticised their t-shirt display in their Nike Store. The t-shirts included slogans such as “Get High” and “F**k Gravity”. Nike responded by stating, “are part of an action sports campaign, featuring marquee athletes using commonly used and accepted expressions for performance at the highest level of their sport, be it surfing, skateboarding or BMX.”
What’s the future for the Nike brand in this market, well my hunch is its going to be an on-going success, they’ve learnt from their mistakes, adopted strategies which have worked with competitors and are becoming a brand that the extreme sports community can identify with.