Nike Marketing Strategy: How They Do It And You Can Too!

Nike Marketing Strategy: How They Do It And You Can Too!

Simon Sinek, a British-American author and inspirational speaker, once said: “People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.”

Unquestionably, this idea is a perfect summation for our case study today, the Nike marketing strategy.

A tagline that checks all boxes (literally) of brand recognition, “Just do it,” became three words that shifted storytelling paradigms in ads.

So, how do they do it? Also, how did they turn a humble shoe store in Oregon into a multi-billion dollar company with global recognition?

Is it the famous athletes, sponsoring sports teams, large-scale advertising, or just the magic of their distinguished swoosh logo? 

In this blog, we’ll go through the essential elements of this success story with a complete breakdown of Nike marketing strategies!

Related:5 Blogs You Need To Follow To Up Your Marketing Game

About Nike Brand

About Nike Brand

Source: Pexels

Nike, Inc. is an American multinational corporation that specializes in the design, production, and global marketing of athletic footwear, apparel, and accessories.

It stands as a prominent global player, catering to the diverse needs of athletes and sportswear enthusiasts worldwide.

The brand’s commitment to quality, style, and endorsement by elite athletes solidifies its status as a premier choice for sportswear clothing fans.

Related: Secrets Behind Famous Brand Logos You Didn’t Know

Nike’s History

Nike's History

Source: Business Insider

Nike was founded in the year 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports by the University of Oregon coach, Bill Bowerman, and his student, Phil Knight.

Here are some important milestones in Nike’s history:

  • 1964: Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman founded Blue Ribbon Sports, which later became Nike.
  • 1971: The company was renamed Nike.
  • 1979: Nike introduced its patented “Air” technology with the new Tailwind shoe.
  • 1980: Nike completed its IPO with a price of 18 cents a share.
  • 1984: Nike signed Michael Jordan, launching Air Jordan.
  • 1994: Nike inked a deal with LeBron James.
  • 1996: Nike launched the first Nike website.
  • 2005: Nike introduced the Nike+ running system.
  • 2012: Nike launched its “Find Your Greatness” campaign during the London Olympics.
  • 2018: Nike released the “Just Do It” campaign starring Colin Kaepernick which sparked controversy and conversation about social justice issues.

Related:5 Epic Ingredients For A Successful Social Video Marketing Strategy

Brand Mission and Values

Brand Mission and Values

Source: Nike

In their own words, Nike aims to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” In fact, in the true spirit of fair sportsmanship, they believe in delivering their products to a diverse and inclusive community.

Moreover, they aim to design for comfort while stepping towards a more sustainable future, in addition to their global community outreach initiatives.

The result?

“As of October 2023, Nike boasts a market capitalization of $154.93 Billion, ranking it as the 66th most valuable company worldwide by market capitalization in our records.”  – CompaniesMarketCap.

Nike Marketing Strategy

Nike Marketing Strategy

Source: Pexels

Now that you have a grasp of the brand, its history, and brand values, let’s delve into an in-depth exploration of Nike marketing strategies.

Goals and Objectives – Nike Company Marketing Strategy

Goals and Objectives - Nike Company Marketing Strategy

Source: Nike

Here are some goals and objectives of the marketing strategy of Nike:

  • Empower audiences through sport, promoting emotive messages of strength, equality, and diversity.
  • Use the four Ps of the marketing mix – Product, Price, Promotion, and placement – to determine its marketing mix.
  • Implement sustainable manufacturing practices and ethical labor practices to address challenges surrounding labor practices and environmental concerns.
  • Building community by investing in organizations dedicated to economic empowerment, education, and equality.
  • Inspire unity among the current generation through sports and encourage an active lifestyle, empowering them to reach their potential future.

Related:How Email Personalization Can Up Your Marketing Strategy

Target Audience – Nike Marketing Strategy

Target Audience - Nike Marketing Strategy


Understanding the marketing strategy of Nike involves analyzing its diverse target audience segments. The strategy excels in connecting with various consumer groups. Here’s the target audience for Nike marketing strategy:

  • Athletes
  • Professional and casual runners
  • Sports enthusiasts
  • Women in sports
  • Young athletes
  • Advocates of sustainability

This comprehensive and inclusive approach contributes significantly to Nike Company marketing strategy success, resonating with a broad spectrum of consumers, from athletes to sustainability advocates.

Challenges – Nike Marketing Strategy

Challenges - Nike Marketing Strategy

Source: The Slice

Here are some of the challenges faced by Nike’s marketing strategy:

  • High-level competition with Adidas, Reebok, and other companies with similar product lines and common target markets.
  • Limited exports of Nike products due to legal restrictions can be one reason for fewer sales or revenues.
  • The negative influence of celebrities.
  • Less diversified strategies.

Related:28 Instagram Tools To Boost Your Instagram Marketing Strategy In 2023

Solutions and Approaches – Nike Marketing Strategy

Solutions and Approaches - Nike Marketing Strategy

Source: Unsplash

Nike has implemented several solutions and approaches to addressing the challenges it has faced over the years:

1. Sustainable Manufacturing and Ethical Labor Practices

Sustainable Manufacturing and Ethical Labor Practices

Source: Nike

Nike has implemented sustainable manufacturing practices and ethical labor practices to address controversies surrounding labor practices and environmental concerns.

The company has taken several steps to reduce its carbon footprint, including using recycled materials in its products and reducing waste in its manufacturing processes.

They have also implemented ethical labor practices to ensure that workers are treated fairly and that working conditions are safe and healthy as per Nike marketing strategy.

2. Product Line Diversification

Product Line Diversification

Source: Lili

Nike has diversified its product line to include non-athletic consumers interested in fashion and style. The company has expanded beyond its traditional athletic wear to include lifestyle products such as sneakers, clothing, and accessories.

This has allowed Nike to reach a wider audience and appeal to consumers who are interested in fashion and style.

3. Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Source: Instagram

Nike has used social media to connect with its customers and build brand loyalty. The company has a strong presence on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, where it shares content related to its products, athletes, and events.

By engaging with its audience, the brand fosters a deeper connection and builds loyalty. The brand often encourages its followers to share their own stories and experiences, using hashtags as a part of Nike digital marketing strategy. It helps to spark conversations and create a sense of community.

Related: 13 Steps to Execute an Inbound Marketing Strategy to Grow Your Business in 2023

4. Content Marketing

Content Marketing

Source: Nike

Nike has leveraged content marketing before product development to build a customer base. In the marketing strategy of Nike, content marketing came before the product. The customer base was built before the idea of the product was even thought of.

Nike sold shoes only when customer awareness was shifted from Unaware to Solution-aware. This approach helped Nike build a strong brand identity and establish itself as a leader in the sportswear industry.

5. Storytelling and Emotional Branding

Nike: What will they say about you?

Nike’s marketing campaigns are known for their storytelling approach that sells touching stories instead of amazing products.

The company’s marketing campaigns often focus on the stories behind its products, such as the journey of an athlete or the inspiration behind a design.

By telling these stories, Nike creates an emotional connection with its customers that goes beyond the product itself.

Related: 5 Evergreen Marketing Strategies That Never Fail

Examples of Nike’s Marketing Strategy That You Can Follow

Examples of Nike's Marketing Strategy That You Can Follow

Source: Unsplash

Here are some examples of Nike marketing strategies that you can use for your brand:

1. Athlete Endorsements

Athlete Endorsements

Source: Instagram

Continual partnerships with high-profile athletes like Michael Jordan, Kylian Mbappe, and Serena Williams contribute to Nike’s brand visibility and influence, shaping perceptions and driving sales.

2. Focus on Customer Relationships

Focus on Customer Relationships

Source: Nike

Nike emphasizes the importance of building strong customer relationships by offering timely customer support and providing social proof.

Use of Viral Trends

Source: Complex

Nike has capitalized on viral trends such as the “Ice Bucket Challenge” as a part of Nike digital marketing strategy to promote its products and raise awareness for charitable causes.

Related:AI Ad Generators That Will Fast-Track Your Next Marketing Campaign

4. Emphasis on Innovation

Emphasis on Innovation

Source: Nike

Innovation is one of Nike’s core values. The company has been at the forefront of developing new technologies such as Flywire and Dri-FIT that enhance the performance of its products as a part of Nike marketing strategy.

5. Use of Influencer Collaborations

Use of Influencer Collaborations

Source: Instagram

Nike has collaborated with influencers such as Billie Eilish and Travis Scott to promote its products on social media platforms like Instagram.

6. Limited Edition Releases

Limited Edition Releases

Source: Sotheby’s

Nike’s marketing strategy of limited edition releases, such as the Air Jordan series, or exclusive collaborations like the Off-White collection by Virgil Abloh, creates hype and scarcity, driving demand and brand exclusivity.

7. Sponsorships and Sports Events

Sponsorships and Sports Events

Source: Inside Sport

Nike’s support and sponsorship of major sports events like the Olympics and strategic partnerships with sports leagues globally amplify brand exposure and engagement.

Related:Using Simplified’s AI To Create AIDA Framework For Your Next Marketing Campaign

8. Community Engagement

Community Engagement

Source: Gear Patrol

Initiatives like the Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club apps foster a sense of community among fitness enthusiasts, encouraging engagement and loyalty beyond just selling products.

9. Social Media Campaigns

Nike / Dream Crazy (United States)

Nike’s impactful and viral social media campaigns, like the “Dream Crazy” ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, create conversation, emotional resonance, and visibility across digital platforms.

10. Brand Activism

Brand Activism

Source: RGA

The “Just Do It” campaign featuring Kaepernick reflects Nike’s stand on social issues, showcasing a brand identity aligned with contemporary movements and fostering consumer loyalty.

Related: What We Learned From The Best Marketing Campaigns of 2020

11. Retail Store Experience

Retail Store Experience

Source: Nike

The immersive and tech-savvy store experiences, like Nike’s flagship stores, offer interactive elements, customization options, and exclusive in-store events. This Nike marketing strategy improves overall brand engagement.

12. Personalization and Customization

Personalization and Customization

Source: Nike

Nike’s ‘Nike By You’ platform allows customers to design and personalize their sneakers, enhancing consumer engagement and a sense of ownership.

13. Powerful Brand Imagery in Nike Advertising

Finally, here’s a compilation of the best Nike advertising campaigns and commercials to serve as inspiration for your marketing strategies.

Related: 10 ChatGPT Prompts for Crafting Killer Marketing Campaigns

14. Video Content

One of Nike’s effective marketing strategies was as innovative as its brand identity – long-form video content, a.k.a. an entire YouTube mini-series!

Called “Margot vs. Lily,” it features a pair of interracial stepsisters who are both insecure about each other’s natural ability with sports and social skills. And what’s more, it highlights their latest gear with immaculate subtlety and sophistication.

Related: 5 Inspiring Brand Video Ideas To Fuel Your Next Campaign

Use Simplified to Build a Strong and Timeless Brand Like Nike

Use Simplified to Build a Strong and Timeless Brand Like Nike

Source: Simplified

Feeling inspired? So why not use one of the Nike marketing strategy highlighted above to boost your brand image?

Branding and marketing can be expensive and time-consuming but Simplified makes it easy for you. It is an all-in-one app for designers, content creators, marketing teams, and small businesses

Simplified offers a range of services that allow you to plan, execute, and measure the success of marketing strategies and campaigns.

Related: How Do Timeless Brands Like Ray-Ban Stay Relevant?

Here are some ways Simplified can help brands build a similar presence to Nike:

1. Social Media Scheduling and Publishing

Social Media Scheduling and Publishing

Source: Simplified

Simplified allows you to schedule and publish posts on all major social media platforms. You can easily deliver images, videos, descriptions, and ad campaigns.

2. Content Calendar

Simplified’s content calendar allows you to plan and schedule all your online content. You can schedule over 10,000 posts with preset posting times.

3. AI Content Writing

AI Content Writing

Source: Simplified

Simplified’s AI writer generates SEO-driven hashtags, quotes, and descriptions. It offers short-form writer, long-form AI writer, and full blog writer capabilities.

Related: Lessons From The Biggest Rebranding Debacles Simplified

4. Graphics Design

Graphics Design

Source: Simplified

Simplified offers unlimited design projects with thousands of free templates and premium templates available for purchase.

Here are a few graphic design templates by Simplified tailored for marketing and branding. You can customize these templates and use them for your marketing campaign.

marketing campaign
Use Template
marketing campaign
Use Template
marketing campaign
Use Template
Use Template
Use Template
Use Template

5. Video Editing & Animation

Video Editing & Animation

Source: Simplified

Simplified helps you to create ad videos with thousands of video templates and a built-in video editor with AI capabilities.

6. Social Media Analytics

Social Media Analytics

Source: Simplified

Simplified’s social media analytics tools help modern marketers measure the success of ad campaigns. In just one click, you can see up to 12 different metrics that can enhance your campaigns and increase your ROI.

Related:Building Brands People Love: Lessons From Tesla’s Branding Strategy

7. Custom Brand Kit

Custom Brand Kit

Source: Simplified

Simplified helps you make special brand kits for your marketing. You can easily create unique logos and designs to make your business look good and stay the same everywhere.

8. Teams Collaboration

Teams Collaboration

Source: Simplified

With Simplified, you can create a workspace and share it with your team and clients to streamline the marketing campaign. You can add comments and share projects seamlessly.

By leveraging these features of Simplified, brands can build a strong online presence like Nike. What’s best is that you can start using Simplified for free.

So, what are you waiting for? Nike did it, and you can do it too with Simplified!

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Ajay Yadav
Ajay Yadav is an AI enthusiast and author of various topics on AI. He writes about the latest developments in AI and its impact on society, business, and technology.

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