Friday, 5 May 2017

Nike's marketing marathon

On Saturday, world-class athletes wearing special Nike shoes will attempt to do what has never been done--run a marathon in less than two hours. Nike has been promoting this effort for many months, identifying just the right elite athletes and selecting a track that is suited to setting this record.

The brand's lightweight shoes are a big part of this project, featuring technology that reduces effort, a salient functional benefit that even weekend athletes will appreciate. Even if none of the runners achieves the goal of 'breaking 2', Nike will be a winner for supporting the goal and celebrating sports performance (a key association for its brand, of course). In short, this marathon is also a marketing marathon.

Despite intense competition from Adidas, amongst other major brands, Nike enjoys strong brand loyalty and image. Yet Adidas has strengths that help it attract customers, including retro styled shoes favoured by many.

Nike UK has more than 400k followers on Twitter, where posts include promotions, 'where to buy', new product introductions and influencer images (think athletes). Nearly 200k followers watch the NikeWomen Pinterest account, and 450k followers check out Nike London's Instagram page. Nike UK has 28 million Facebook followers, many of whom also follow individual Nike sports accounts. Clearly, this is a brand with social media savvy, smart segmentation strategies and a good connection with its target markets.