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5 Marketing Lessons We Can Learn from Nike

Hit the ground running in your business by implementing these strategies.

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Hearing the words “Just Do It” resonates immediately in most people’s minds with Nike. It is one of the most famous slogans in all of marketing, known worldwide. Dominating the sports marketing field, Nike brings innovation and fresh ideas to the table. Delivering some of the most successful marketing to date, Nike shows no signs of slowing down.

These are five lessons we can learn from Nike's marketing approach.

1. Maintain a strong social media presence

With over 159 million followers on Instagram and over eight million followers on Twitter, Nike has amassed a massive social media following by creating fun and inspirational posts to draw in consumers. Under all posts consumers are able to reach out to Nike by tagging the account and either voicing a complaint or singing their praise. Nike will usually respond to negative comments in an attempt to mitigate the situation. Not only does Nike have their main account, but they also have smaller accounts such as @nikegolf, @nikewomen, and @nikefootball for fans looking for specialized content. 

2. Inclusivity

Nike strives to build a platform on diversity and belonging, and their mission is to be a “leader in advancing diverse and inclusive teams." One of its newest products is the Nike GO FlyEase which are hands-free sneakers. Meant for parents with their hands full or people with a debilitating disability, this shoe filled a hole in the footwear market for those who are unable to use their hands to put shoes on. Additionally, Nike is extremely supportive of racial equality and always includes men and women of all genders and races in their commercials and social media posts. 

Related: How Marketing Agencies Can Integrate Inclusivity Into Their Organization and Work

3. Celebrity collaborations

Some of the most well-known athletes such as Michael Jordan and Maria Sharapova, and influencers such as Kanye West and Travis Scott, have partnered with Nike to reach consumers worldwide. Kanye West worked with the company to create a line of shoes called the Nike Air Yeezy collaboration. Launched in 2009, the Yeezy collection was the first collaboration not done with an athlete. The shoes were an instant hit and were promoted by other celebrities such as Jay Z, who mentioned them at a concert. Michael Jordan had one of the most famous brand endorsement deals in history with his Nike Air Jordan shoes. Nike not only gets celebrities and athletes to endorse and promote their shoes, but the influencers also wear the brand’s shoes in their day-to-day life, showing true commitment to the brand. 

Related: 5 Considerations When Seeking a Celebrity to Endorse Your Brand

4. Spotlight athletes, not just the product

When looking at Nike’s Instagram account, the spotlighted posts rarely show their products. They are more focused on athletes and telling their stories. Sure, Nike products are worn by the athletes throughout the videos and pictures, but the ads themselves are not just close-ups of the shoes or apparel. They delve into the struggles and stories of how athletes got to where they are and work Nike into these stories. They play on consumers' heartstrings and make them remember the stories when seeing Nike products or apparel in stores or while shopping online.

5. Focus on sustainability

In 2009 Nike helped start the SAC (Sustainable Apparel Coalition) to work with retailers and suppliers on reducing the environmental impact for all their products. As time has passed, one thing has become evident: sustainability sells. Consumers have begun to value sustainability more and more, and choose brands that are more eco-friendly. In recent years Nike has switched to using materials that were made with less water and pesticides. 

RelatedHow to Make Sustainability More Than a Buzzword

Marketing strategy can make or break a company. Successful marketing can expand a  and keep the cash flowing. Ineffective marketing strategies lead to a decline in customer interest, thus less consumer traffic, which ultimately results in less sales. Nike's efforts illustrate that innovative and fresh marketing strategies are most effective and we should Just Do It.

Adrian Falk

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Founder of international advertising and PR agency Believe Advertising, Adrian Falk generates publicity for entrepreneurs, IT, fashion, luxury travel and beauty corporations across the globe, increasing their leads and sales.