Nike

I don’t watch TV or pay attention to social media. I don’t see the commercials that companies spend so much on. The only ads I see are on internet sites, which I ignore. Prior to a week ago, I thought marketing was just advertising in order to make money, and I thought it was annoying because I hate commercials. After reading two chapters of the book, I realize that there’s a lot more to marketing…

I have always been an Adidas fan. They make high quality products, and in my opinion, most things they make look great. I have never been a Nike fan. I imagine they also make high quality products, but I’ve never really liked the way their clothes or shoes look. I’ve never thought about marketing strategies for either company. I don’t pay attention to advertising, which company is more popular, what recent fashion trends are, or who is sponsoring big sports events. I imagine that there are many people out there that do pay attention to these things, and the way an Adidas or Nike product is marketed probably has a huge impact on profitability.

Until today, I thought that Adidas and Nike were close competitors. When I looked on Yahoo! finance, I realized that I was very wrong. Nike is destroying Adidas; in 2014, Nike had 6x the net income that Adidas had, and it’s looking like that pattern will continue. I had to find out: what is Nike doing to beat Adidas? My first thought was that it’s because Adidas is headquartered in Germany and Nike is headquartered in the U.S., and the U.S. is responsible for a huge part of the world’s sales in shoes and clothing. This could be part of the reason, but I also looked into Nike’s marketing strategies and started thinking about things from a marketing perspective…

Both Nike and Adidas sponsor star athletes that promote their brand and products. However, when I think of a star athlete sponsored by Nike, I think of Michael Jordan and the famous Air Jordan sneakers. When I think of Adidas, no athlete or brand comes to mind (and I’ve been an Adidas fan for many years…). Nike teamed with Lance Armstrong and made the “livestrong” bracelet, which gave them huge opportunities for advertising, and I can’t think of anything similar to this done by Adidas. Nike recently created Nike+ technology to help consumers track their workout data, and this helped create a community for consumers and it turned out to be the world’s largest running club. Again, as far as I know Adidas has never done anything like this.

Nike’s marketing strategy is much more than just television ads. Their slogan, “Just Do It” is motivational to both their employees and customers. When I hear “Just Do It”, I think of people getting motivated to complete difficult tasks. I think of victory, which is the meaning behind the name of Nike (Nike is the Greek goddess of victory). The name Adidas is simply the concatenation of the founder’s first and last name, and it has no real meaning. I never thought about this; the name Nike is much more marketable. I also never knew that Adidas had a slogan: “Impossible is Nothing”. The slogan has changed recently to “All In”. Maybe it’s because I don’t watch TV that I didn’t realize Adidas had a slogan…however I know Nike’s slogan without watching TV; it’s very popular and catchy.

I like the way the Adidas traditional three stripes look. I think it looks better than a Nike’s swoosh, but this is just my opinion. When I look at the swoosh, it reminds me of something going fast. Just associating swoosh and fast makes me realize that it’s probably a lot easier to market the Nike brand because most people playing sports want to be fast. The Adidas three stripes are more visually appealing in my eyes, but I don’t really see any meaning behind it. I don’t care about the meaning behind a name, I want the Adidas product because of the way it looks, but I can imagine that there are a good amount of people who buy something because there is an underlying meaning.

No matter what either company does to market their brand, I will probably never switch from being an Adidas fan to a Nike fan. I buy clothes and shoes simply based on quality and the way they look, not based on what star athletes are showcasing, not based on the meaning of a company name or slogan, and not based on consumer communities or catchy TV ads. Maybe I’m not the average consumer that gets attracted to products because of the way they are marketed. I’ve always thought that people were either a Nike or Adidas fan and they stuck with one brand. Thinking from a marketing point of view, I can see that companies have lots of strategies and tactics to bring in new customers. I wish I could see data for Nike and Adidas about the effect a marketing strategy has on customer gains or profitability. I understand how and why Nike is doing a great job marketing their products, and it is reflected in their net income figures. It seems that the swoosh is more marketable than the three stripes, and the name Nike (victory) is more marketable than the name Adidas, and “Just Do It” is more marketable than “All In” or “Impossible is Nothing”. Perhaps these are the reasons that Nike is beating Adidas so badly in net income over the last few years.

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