468 Retail and Channel Management Blog

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Athletes Serving Athletes

Nike is the Greek god of victory. Who could have imagined how fitting of a name that would be five decades ago when Jeff Johnson proposed the name to Blue Ribbon Sports owners Phil Knight and Bill Bowermen. From a small corner store in Eugene, with the primary purpose of importing the best shoes for University of Oregon trackletes, to the world largest athletics footwear, apparel, and equipment retailer, Nike has found success by holding true to one driving point. Let athletes (the customer) tell you how they want there gear to preform, then make it for them.

Like I had said Nike started out as track coach Bill Bowerman's way of ensuring that his athletes had access to the products they would need to find success in competition, namely Asics; a Japanese running shoe now in direct competition with the footwear giant it helped create. The next step would be the creation of custom products to help his alma mater excel, Runners wanted a shoe that could grip the track better. This lead Bill to the creation of a product and the destruction of a waffle iron. Flip over your favourite running shoe, the pattern you see of a rubber sole with raised knobs is a direct result of a retail asking its consumers what they need, and finding a way to fill that need so well we still use it 50 years later.

The Nike commitment to having the customer drive the creation of product to even the most subtle details goes way beyond what you would expect from a retailer. When fashion houses plan a season release that take into account what people are wear, and what trends they expect to see that year. When Nike plans a new product the go to the end user and have them go through every minor detail to create exactly what they need. the most iconic image from this years NFL season is Odell Beckham Jr. making a crazy catch in the end zone.

The glove he has on in the photo is crucial to executing what he did. But why did he choose that glove? Well Nike consulted him and many other player when designing the product line for this season to ensure it was what they wanted.

This commitment to delivering the products that are the best fit for the customer doesn't just apply to the pros either. From the Partnership with the University of Oregon, where product set for release years down the road are developed based on feedback from Ducks athletes and coaches about prototypes, to the new retail experience Nike is creating for the everyday consumer.

In the last year Nike has made there retail experience a truly two-way line of communication for with consumers. we've seen highlights of this in class with pop up shops for the FUEL Band. but is goes beyond that. stores around the world are opening with fitness studios, practice nets, and test tracks, where consumers can use the products and give there feedback on how to improve it for the next generation.

As an athlete I personally find it reassuring that when i put on a shoe, or glove, or helmet, i know that every minor specification was made to help me preform, whether its in front of 10000 fans or my ten friends at a pick up game. Nike is truly about athletes serving athletes.



  • i realize i forgot to link the photo i mention, i also don't really know how. but if your interested, here is the link.


    By Blogger Branden Fithen, At January 31, 2015 at 12:05 AM  

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