“There’s no value in selling things anymore,” – Phil Knight

Nike is no stranger to selling a lifestyle. ‘Just do it!’ has been the manta and tagline behind the brand since its inception in 1964, 52 years ago. Nike’s new softer approach, Better for it aims to inspire women by uniting subcultures, celebrating insecurities and helping women be the best that they can be. Nike’s 2015 commercial, Better for it, beautifully captures the inner dialogue of women’s internal struggle with exercise, self-criticism and ultimately the celebration for the achievements.

#betterforit is about the power of women to motivate and push each other to the next level. The advert follows a young female gym-goer critiquing the size of her arms, another one intimidated by the models/actresses on the exercise bike in front of her and an aspiring marathon runner pushing through mental doubt in the early stages of a run. Nike’s actual product range is never mentioned. Its products portfolio ranging from running shoes, to outer wear, lounge wear, sporting equipment is never mentioned. This brand doesn’t ‘sell’ those tangible goods, it ‘sells’ fitness, confidence and motivation.

The beauty of story telling

Nike has a gift in telling compelling stories in an emotive, authentic, genuine fashion. That’s how we as humans communicate – why would brand communication be any different?

If you visit one of Nike’s ten Instagram accounts, you experience the brand story pretty much told exclusively through online video (OLV). The stories are simple and direct, honest and deliver beautiful imagery – click here for six other great storytelling examples.

Why women?

Nike uses its own customer-centred fitness app to learn more about its market, cleverly and intentionally motivating brand advocacy, driving profit and gaining the competitive advantage. Nike+ Running is used primarily by females, accounting for 54% of users, who have logged more than 50 million runs covering 170 million miles.

Nike’s decision to move away from the male dominated basketball culture can be attributed towards the growing demand of the women’s footwear and apparel industry. Nike’s women business is expected to reach $11 billion in revenue by the end of 2020, compared to $5.7 billion in 2015.


The Nike swoosh

The shape depicts an arc of movement and speed and is now one of the most recognised logos in the world. Even from its inception, there was nothing product-focused about Nike. From mythological eras, Nike is the Winged Goddess of Victory. The associations are flight, victory and speed. While the brand still represents these things, it now carries with it affiliations of gym class, brunches and river strolls. Nike founder, Phil Knight famously said, “there is no value in making things anymore”… it’s all about the lifestyle. Nike’s logo is a symbol of athleticism and fitness – it says “I’m motivated” without having to prove exercise.


Brand behaviour

Nike is one of the most effective communicators of the holistic sporting goods range. Its Air Max range is for the casual cool dude, the Flyknit for the stroll to the yoga studio and the Pegagus for those who actually want to run.

Nike connects and interacts with its consumers through multi-channel experiences. Their social media accounts encourages brand advocacy. Its apps create subcultures of fit women uniting through online forums such as Nike+ Training Club. Taking the online subcultures into reality, Nike has recently launched #betterforit women’s events: marathons, group workout series and yoga to further connect with its users and create brand champions for life.

The competitive edge

You’re a Ford or a Holden, a Vegemite or Marmite and a Nike or Adidas. What Nike has done better than its competitors is connect with its customers and create an aspirational lifestyle. In reality, Nike and Adidas aren’t dissimilar – they both design, create and sell athletic goods. In fact, when it comes to the Boston Marathon shoe count, almost 50% of competitors were running in Asics or Brooks.


Nike doesn’t talk about its products, services, growing number of smartphone apps or millions of dollars spend on R&D. Nike has the insight not to interrupt online users but to grow with them, train with them and inspire them. The brand has evolved almost seamlessly, promoting the benefits not features, helping customers enhance their lives, not through buying products but by buying into the lifestyle.

Author: Lucy Vadasz (900286226)


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