Over the years, Nike has used varied strategic approaches to advance its brand resulting in its current multinational corporation status serving different market segments in the world. It is engaged in production, design, and development of footwear, equipment, apparel and services depending on market specifications. Due to efficient branding and marketing functions, the company has been able to amass an excess of 24 billion dollars in sales, making it the most valuable brand among competition sports providers. Different strategies have been used with varied levels of success; however, it is also important to investigate current branding elements and come with improvements that promise to add additional differentiation to the company.
According to Rosenbaum & Percy (2013), traditional branding was designed to develop some form of discrepancies between authentic and generic products so that customers could easily differentiate the different products. However, the rise of market crowding from competition with similar products that are authentic has made this tactic irrelevant in modern times demanding to find additional ways that existing brand elements can be used for differentiation. The same has to be done by Nike by identifying which brand elements are useful for differentiation, and their applicability in increasing competitiveness.
The first brand element that can be used to differentiate Nike is its slogan since the logo and name have already become a worldwide concept. They can also not be changed since customers have already developed their recognition and associate the brand with their existence. However, the slogan can be changed according to situational conditions that dictate market strategies in the face of intensified competition. Currently, the slogan is considered strong due to its conciseness, directness, and reflectiveness of the intended brand message. Even though this brand element is considered effective, it can be worked upon to improve it’s efficacy.
A slogan, as a differentiating brand element, should be evolutionary as per industry dynamics. In the sporting industry, competition is intense among few providers and loss of market is sometimes disastrous. As illustrated by previous changes, Nike can improve its differentiation advantage by adding sub-slogans as well so as to address customers from disparate segments (Abbott & Hoeye, 2013). The company deals with products and services and having one main slogan may not suffice the branding intentions at a global scale; therefore, creating sub-slogans promises to advance the brand to specific market segments with an outcome of outperforming competition despite their offers.
Another brand element that has been used by Nike is brand ambassadors who promote the company in their daily routines. Over the years, the company has used different athletes in their advertisements and branding campaigns to illustrate the effectiveness of products, as well as their performance capabilities. In fact, the company has managed to use this brand element to create the perception that when it comes to purchasing commodities like shoes, equipment, or clothes, what we need is stepping into these products and become fully fledged athletes. This is the reason why people like Ronaldo, Roger Federer, and other famous athletes have been used to illustrate how Nike products facilitate their ability to achieve victory.
To make brand differentiation effective requires the engagement of different ambassadors for different sports and products elevating the company in terms of market recognition. More so, packaging is an element that cannot be disregarded since it reflects elegance, brand efficacy, and appeals that influence customer decision making. Packaging is most useful since it contains slogans, logos, and other branding aspects. In addition to these components, the packaging can become a differentiating tool in terms of color variations, shapes, forms, and aesthetics. For instance, the company can use boxes and bags on different products with different branding elements depending on market segments being targeted.
Another branding element that has made Nike unique is the capacity to integrate performance technologies in every product. In the long term, technological advancement has played a major role in differentiating Nike’s brand, especially in sporting equipment. For instance, some shoes have been developed with technologies that increase comfort, performance, and ball handling making this brand a favorite for professional footballers. Therefore, using unique technologies is an effective branding element that can continuously be used to outperform the competition through differentiation (Love & Okada, 2015).
Unique utilization of the mentioned elements has made Nike a formidable brand that is always beating its competition despite their attractive offers. The Nike brand promises efficiency, precision, and durability of products which many competing companies cannot achieve. Over the years, the company has leveraged on these elements to come up with solutions that suffice specific customer needs hence its current success in the highly competitive sporting industry. Even though there are strong contenders in similar markets, their products have been unable to break dominance from Nike in spite the fact that they have some similar attributes, and others acting as complementary.
Some similar attributes from competition include design elements of shape, comfort, and rivaling performance when used for sporting. On the other hand, Nike has taken these attributes to the next level by integrating innovative development technologies, materials, and research to come up with exceptional products with massive brand following despite pricing competition. These attributes relate to target market segments where the clients are professional athletes playing in elite leagues. Their only requirement is performance handling, and comfort. As long as these needs are fulfilled, they have the budget to spend on these products hence the reason for Nike being a strong and highly competitive brand.
- Abbott, S., & Hoeye, T. (2013). Nike: The Global Brand. New York, NY: SkyHouse.
- Love, E., & Okada, E. M. (2015). Construal based marketing tactics for high quality versus low price market segments. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 172 – 181.
- Rosenbaum, R., & Percy, L. (2013). Strategic Brand Management. Oxford, UK: OUP Oxford.