Few sports equipment manufacturers have created more trends than Nike. Established in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports, this public traded Fortune 500 Company became Nike, Inc in 1978. The name is from the Greek goddess of victory which is an apt trademark for a company that has won over the sports public and professionals as Nike has.
By sponsoring high profile athletes and sports teams, Nike has made its “Just do it” slogan a term recognized by sports enthusiasts around the world. The simple Swoosh logo was introduced with the first Nike running shoes in 1972 and is used to this day. For Nike products, the name isn’t necessary as the simple Swoosh clearly states “this is a Nike product”.
The growth of this powerful company has been due to the expansion into various sports in a targeted and effective way. By marketing its products under its own brand name and also marketing through subsidiary companies, the reach of Nike extends worldwide from its US base in Oregon.
The marketing strategy used by Nike positions the brand products as premium quality with superior design. Though once associated with very affordable products, the focus in recent years has moved toward higher end pricing which is marketable due to the high profile of the brand name. What sets Nike apart is the willingness to expand into related markets quickly. A simple ad in print media in 1977 was so successful Nike immediately created a poster featuring the ad. Featuring a runner alone on a country road with the tagline “There is no finish line”, that simple ad led to a new poster business for Nike.
In recent years, Nike has become the sponsor for many of the world’s top athletes and sports teams. With a clothing line as well as footwear and all of the sports equipment and gear to go with them, Nike is a leader in promoting athletic with sales in over 160 countries. Products are sold directly from the manufacturer but also through independent distributors, subsidiary companies and license agreements.
The favorable public view of Nike as a company is promoted by contributing to local and regional sports teams, local distributors who sponsor events in the Nike brand name and the award winning commercials the company has produced over the years. Though there have been complaints about working conditions in some production facilities that might harm the public image of other companies, Nike has been able to address the complaints without suffering harm to their image.