Delivering inspiration and innovation to help you run your best
Two ambitious men with backgrounds in running, Bill Bowerman a track and field coach at the University of Oregon and Phil Knight a middle distance runner from Portland, formed Blue Ribbon Sports and placed their first order of 300 pairs of shoes in January 1964. During Bowerman’s career as a track and field coach, he tried many different things to try to five his runners a competitive edge; one of those passions happened to be designing footwear. After partnering with Knight, Bowerman ripped apart the Tiger shoes they were selling in hopes to find a lighter sneaker for athletes. Unfortunately, Bowerman and Knight had full-time jobs and could not focus all of their attention on Blue Ribbon Sports. Jeff Johnson, a friend of Knight’s from Stanford University, was the solution. He was the first full-time employee of Blue RIbbon Sports in 1965 and within five years, determined an efficient distribution system, opened the first Blue Ribbon Sports retail store in California, printed advertisements, and came up with the name Nike in 1971. Knight and Bowerman were mainly focused on athletic footwear and so they created the “Swoosh” brand mark and debuted the new Nike line of footwear in 1972. With a brand name and logo, Blue Ribbon Sports thought it would be to its advantage to have celebrity endorsement – Steve Prefontaine. Prefontaine had an incredible track record during college; “he had never lost any race at his home track over the one-million distance.” He sent sneakers to prospective runners including a note of encouragement and was the face of Nike up until his tragic death in 1975. After this, Nike transitioned and expanded its marketing campaign by:
- becoming a publicly traded company in 1980
- creating a signature design for Michael Jordan in 1985
- featuring visible Nike Air bags in its new footwear Air Max in 1987
- creating a tagline for all of its ads “Just do it” in 1988
Now, Nike’s main goal has been to continue innovating to provide the best quality of athletic products, while staying connected with customers on a global scale.
Use of Social Media:
Nike has created a Facebook page dedicated to running. Its purpose is to inspire, give customers a platform to share their connection with the products, discuss the advantages of their various sneakers, promote features of their new products, share current news from Nike initiatives like Nike Free, and to celebrate the brand in general. Facebook users can “like” and “follow” the page. Nike has many different pages on Facebook, but Nike Running page has 2,025,352 likes and 62,837 talking the page or its content. All of the posts are created by Nike, but followers are allowed to comment, like, and share any of the posts. This strategy gives Nike the power to control their page and provide a focus that customers can feed off of if they choose to do so. The page also gives customers the ability to ask any questions they may have about any of the products such as the Nike Running app, and most of the respondents have had experience with the recent products and so they can help others, and they usually comment on how the products work for them and encourage others to use them.
Examples of encouraging posts by Nike, and comments from followers:
(below, Nike Running also comments – whenever necessary)
Applying Evans’ model of the social feedback cycle:
Although Nike created the page and the posts, users are free to comment whatever they want as long as it is not offensive in terms of Facebook’s policies. The posts wouldn’t be as influential without “likes” and support from other Nike customers. In this case, Nike did its job in generating awareness, but people’s decisions to buy are affected by other followers’ opinions of the products.
Nike Running Facebook Page is achieving all levels of engagement:
- Consumption – Nike Running Facebook page wants people engage by viewing the page
- Curation – archive the content via “following”, “comments” and “liking”
- Creation – followers can post on their own pages and refer to content from Nike Running; users cannot created their own content directly on the page
- Collaboration – followers can comment on posts by Nike Running and other users can then comment or like that follower’s comments; Nike Running also interacts with followers through their comments