Nike Company: Digital Marketing, Branding and Strategy

Introduction

Taking the top spot in the global sportswear industry represents a major challenge doe several reasons, the key one being the need to meet the standards of both the sports industry and the apparel one. The strategy developed by Nike has been quite effective in handling the described challenge, yet the organization seems to develop the need for attracting new audiences due to the threat of overstaying its welcome with its current representation of sportswear. Given the recent economic downfall and the plummeting market share rates, Nike is in desperate needs for developing a long-term strategy that will allow it to cover the current losses and build a long-term competitive advantage. By introducing innovation and a greater extent of diversity into its brand image, Nike will be able to convince new types of customers to buy their product. Specifically, targeting the customers beyond the age of 15-45, as well as exploring opportunities in Middle Eastern markets. By creating the brand identity that will be easily pliable and applicable to any national or cultural identity, the company will be able to sell its products successfully to a range of new types of clientele.

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Moreover, the company may look at the necessity to diversify their products. Although the current range of sportswear and other brand production have been quite diverse, other merchandize including customizable clothing items and limited edition products will help to ignite customers’ enthusiasm for buying Nike’s goods. Moreover, the brand identity of the company will have to expand, embracing diversity by adding unique flairs of local traditions to the representation of their brand in each country. Specifically, for the Middle East, the company will have to incorporate the notions of prestige and social status into the brand.

Situation Analysis

Despite the crisis and the plummeting economy, Nike has been performing quite well so far. Having cemented itself as the most successful organization in the sportswear industry worldwide, Nike has become the household name, which still required rebranding due to the lack of a new brand image. To analyze the situation that Nike has been witnessing in its sportswear recently. As the PESTEL analysis below shows, the current environmental situation, namely, the presence of the COVID-19 virus, cause the greatest concerns and serves as the major point of content.

Nike: PESTEL
Figure 1. Nike: PESTEL

Another issue that Nike will have to pay very close attention to us the presence of competitors, including both current and potential ones. Although presently, the company tops the lists of the organizations that function in the sportswear industry in the global market, a new organization with a unique brand could easily substitute Nike. The ideas relayed above suggest that Nike, indeed, needs to revamp its image. The specific task will help the company not only to attract new customers in a cultural unique market but also create the framework that will keep the audiences’ attention peeled to the changes within the firm and the promotion campaign that it will launch to represent its products.

Brand Audit

Granted that the current brand position of Nike in the global economy is quite strong, it sis still very underrepresented in Middle East markets. Moreover, the fact that the company lacks a digital presence deserves a mentioning as one of the core issues. Indeed, with most industries having developed rather strong and very active digital environments where their companies function, it is important for Nike to study these opportunities and integrate into the one of the sportswear industry.

A look at the current brand that Nike has been promoting shows that it could use revamping. The lack of the digital presence is one of the most characteristic qualities of the current Nike brand. Although the organization has been making attempts at operating in the e-market by having created opportunities for purchasing products online and having them delivered by appropriate services, the lack of online applications that would make the delivery and order processes simpler is glaring.

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As far as thee brand itself is concerned, it has a doubtless strength of having ben in the market for decades and having built a uniquely strong presence. Nike has been marketed [particularly actively in the 90s, which means that most of the images and symbols associated with the company and its products are still alive and well in the target audiences’ memories. However, the specified observation concerns only those who are old enough to remember the described point in Nike’s development. For the rest of customers, the organization is not as relatable, which means that the company needs to create a strong media presence. For this purpose, modern media will have to be integrated into the process.

In turn, the lack of cultural identity and the easily generalizable product is the main weakness of the brand. Nike will absolutely have to create a new image that would help the old audiences to retain their nostalgia, at the same time appealing to younger audiences. By continuing the current tendency to generalize the brand image, Nike will eventually disappear its uniqueness completely, dissolving in a range of similar products and finally losing its audience.

Conceptual Map

Conceptual Map

The conceptual map of the brand provided below indicates that the long presence in the global market and the fact that the company has become a household name by this point is doubtlessly one of Nike’s min strengths. However, the firm also suffers from the absence of a diversified approach toward its customers from different backgrounds. By introducing customer diversification, Nike would be able to appeal to their needs in a more pronounced way, thus gaining their loyalty and affection.

Main Customers

Characteristics

As emphasized above, most of the customers that currently buy Nike’s sportswear include people aged 14-45. While Nike needs to strive to increase the specified range, it will also need to cater to the needs of its key buyers. Specifically, Nike will have to consider developing a children’s sportswear brand, while adjusting its image to appeal to people over 45 and at the same time keeping its current clientele satisfied. While seemingly impossible, the mission in question can be implemented with a clear set of strategies in mind. Stratifying Nike’s customers into their age-based groups, namely, adolescents, adults, and aging people, the company will have to admit that each has unique characteristics. Namely, children are interested in the connection of the company’s brand to innovative technology, namely, the presence of representation in the social media, as well as the relatability that may be obtained by having the company being introduced by popular characters as done in the 90ies (Johnson et al. 22). In turn, young adults that purchase the company’s product are likely to be interested in the social status that it will guarantee. Adult buyers of Nike’s sportswear will be inclined to purchase the product if it meets the requirements for quality, durability, and sport-related purposes. Specifically, the opportunity to feel more comfortable during sports activities will define their interest in the company’s products.

Finally, the aging population, which is currently out of the company’s’ reach, is concerned with the options for maintaining their health status, which companies can offer them. For the products distributed by Nike, the specified demand will imply producing sportswear that will allow addressing health issues and preventing new ones from developing. For instance, producing sports shoes with orthopedic silicone layers inside will help to attract the attention of aging customers that have difficulties adjusting to new shoes (Reis et al. 307). Thus, Nike will have to take into consideration that each of the target client groups represents age-appropriate demands.

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In turn, given the fact that the company will need to market its products to Middle Eastern countries, the key cultural characteristics of the specified type of customers will have to be considered. Specifically, the fact that customers in the Middle east and, particularly, Saudi Arabia prefer to consider different pricing options and compare them online before making a decision concerning buying a product needs to be taken into account.

Potential Target Audiences

Profile 1

The first profile to be described is that one of a middle-aged man belonging to the middle class, and looking for sportswear that he could use when attending a gym or a similar facility. Due to the habit of being mindful about the way in which he allocates his money, the customer in question typically tends to compare prices in different companies and outlets before making a choice of whether to buy a product or not. In addition, the person in question is likely to see for the products that will establish their belonging to a specific social class, hence the requirement for the updated look. Last but not least, the issue of quality stands particularly prominently for the specified type of customers, which means that they prioritize durability, comfort, and reasonable price-quality correlation. However, due to the tendency to develop loyalty to a particular brand, they are unlikely to try new products designed by the companies other than the ones from which they have been buying for years (Bhatt 4). Therefore, gaining the support of the specified type of customers is going to be particularly challenging.

Profile 2

The second type of customers is represented by children and adolescents ages 14 or less. However, the specified type of audiences has a unique characteristic that very few others share. Namely, children aged 14 and less cannot buy sportswear on their own, and the decisions concerning the choice of their clothing will be made by their parents, most likely their mothers (Ahsan t al. 34). Therefore, in order to gain the loyalty of the specified demographic, it will also be necessary to ensure that parents view Nike as a suitable brand as well. For this reason, Nike will have to incorporate the elements that will appeal to kids, in their marketing model along with the ones that will appeal to parents.

Considering other unique characteristics of the target buyers, one should also bring up the fact that children spend a lot of time on social media, which is why social networks will have to be the platform for the company’ digital marketing program. Namely, advertisements using popular characters from TV shows and other types of entertainment will have to be used. For this reason, Nike will have to need either to develop a mascot that will become particularly popular with children or to purchase the rights to an already existing one. While the latter is a safer choice due to high recognizability, the former will be less costly.

Media Landscape

As emphasized above, it will be critical to utilize every available form of modern media and especially social networks to promote the new brand. Social media is most likely to be extraordinarily useful when promoting the product to younger audiences and their parents. Indeed, given the fact that the parents of the specified demographics are most likely to be in their 20s-40s themselves, it is highly possible that they will be the active users of modern media. Namely, the promotion campaign will have to take place with the help of social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter (Alghizzawi et al. 62). In addition, YouTube advertisements may have to be considered a possible vehicle for promoting the product. However, at this point, one will have to acknowledge the harsh reality of the present-day Internet and the fact that a significant number of users deploy various types of ad blockers when accessing social media sites (Alghizzawi et al. 64). Therefore, apart from the use of advertising in modern media, traditional advertising may be required. The specified strategy may involve the application of billboards and transport advertisements.

Communications Strategy

Since two primary types of customers are represented as the target audiences for the project in question, the company will have to develop a double-sided communication framework that will allow appealing to each type of buyers individually. At the same time, Nike has to create the framework that will represent the company’s mission and values, thus being built on the same platform. For this reason, the main communication strategy that the organization will have to utilize will be based on proving the importance of Nike products as a symbol of changing the lifestyle toward a more active and exciting one, thus becoming more physically fit.

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In regard to selling the items to younger audiences and their parents, Nike will need to transform its formula from the bare idea of success to the one that appeals to young students better. The emphasis on school sports achievements and the opportunity to excel in one’s school sport will have to be emphasized heavier in the company’s promotion campaign. For this purpose, when constructing the visual narrative for TV advertisements and social media ads, Nike will need to hire child actors to demonstrate the specified concepts. Moreover, the use of the imagery that can be appealing to younger children will have to be utilized. However, at this point it will be crucial for Nike to avoid pandering to children and using obnoxiously obvious selling strategies. Instead, the company will have to be very smart in its message, avoiding direct pandering and instead encouraging children to apply critical thinking, questioning sedentary lifestyle. For instance, creating a brand image of success, in general, and success at sports, in particular, possibly incorporating characters that could appeal to Middle East children and their parents, such as “Tunis 2050,” will assist in marketing the product successfully. In turn, the creation of the brand image that will present a healthy and successful person will allow reaching out to the target demographic and appealing to their needs.

Finally, to ensure that the parents of children, whom the future Nike project will target, also support the idea of purchasing the company’s goods, the usefulness, durability, and healthiness of the products that Nike offers will have to be emphasized. Thus, while the visual elements of the advertisement will have to be focused on appealing to children as more impressionable audiences, the verbal message and the implicit symbols that it will contain, such as the images of popular cartoon characters, as well as the mascots and characters that Nike will design specifically for the promotion program in question.

Customer Journey Map

Customer Journey Map
Profile 1: Customer Journey Map

The customer map depicted above is quite unique since it incorporates a combined customer profile of children and their parents. According to the map, the specified demographic types are quite different in their requirements toward the product. While children want the sportswear that looks appealing, is deemed as fashionable, and preferably includes stylish images or portrayals of their favorite characters, parents typically focus on utility and comfort. Therefore, the specified parameters can be used as the customer loyalty measure. Similarly, the change in customers’ perception of the brand product is expected to rise as parents purchase new items and use them to test their quality and prove that the products meet their expectations. For children, the specified change will occur as they realize that wearing Nike brand products increases their self-esteem due to the effective use of storytelling by the company.

In addition, as the map above illustrates, the future journey of the target customers in question will involve becoming familiarized with the brand closer and becoming more impressed with its qualities. Specifically, while children are expected to be fascinated with the multiple references to popular themes and concepts, such as TV show characters in Nike’s advertisements, adults will develop trust toward the brand due to the quality of Nike’s products. Thus, the UAE audience is likely to build quite high brand loyalty to Nike’s sportswear once appropriate digital marketing tools are incorporated into the promotion campaign.

Customer Journey Map
Profile 2: Customer Journey Map

According to the customer journey map above, it will be necessary to convince the target audience that Nike’s sportswear will allow them to change their lifestyle radically and acquire the desirable characteristics, such as the social status that Nike products will represent, along with the impression of a person that takes active participation in sport. As the customer journey maps above show, it will be necessary to convince the target audience that Nike’s sportswear will allow them to gain the attributes of success, as well as reconsider their lifestyle to develop the personal health management strategy that will allow them to become more athletic and more proactive in sport.

The journey of the other target group is significantly different from the one described above, mainly due to the fact that children cannot make choices independently, hence the need to involve parents into the process and, thus, target them as well in the promotion campaign. The aging population, in turn, will have to make the journey from understandable skepticism toward the company and its brand to the acknowledgement of its qualities and the development of loyalty toward it.

Metrics and Performance Evaluation Mechanisms

In order to measure the efficacy of the proposed promotion strategy, one will need marketing metrics. The increase in the number of customer, as well as a rise in the number of sales, will be utilized as some of the key metrics. In addition, the levels of customer retention, which will be calculated by considering the percentage of customs that will stay with the company after a specific amount of time, such as one year, will be used as an important criterion of success.

Communication Strategy

Overall, the company’s approach toward communication with its target audiences will incorporate the use of modern media, primarily, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, as well video hosting sites such as YouTube for generating video content. Thus, Nike will be able to capture the immediate and undivided attention of its target groups, including both people over 45 and children under 14. Moreover, Nike will maintain its integrity by ensuring that the parents of children are also aware of the advertising content that will be presented to children. Maintaining ethics is critical in improving relationships between the company and its buyers, which is why Nike will have to comply with the existing standards for ethical advertising.

In addition, for Nike to be successful with the aging population, which its new strategy also targets, the organization will need to show that the company cares for its customers and their well-being and comfort especially strongly. Namely, Nike will have to point out that the products that it offers are particularly useful and easy to wear in gyms and fitness centers. However, by far the most important aspect of the communication strategy that Nike will have to utilize is to show the complete understanding of the local culture and traditions. Specifically, Nike will have to market its products as the sportswear specifically for gyms and fitness activities without introducing the idea of wearing Nike products as casual clothing. The failure to understand the UAEW traditions and dress code, namely, the fact that most men and all women wear garments that cover their bodies as casual clothes will lead to a marketing catastrophe. Therefore, the organization will have to position its goods as those that are produced solely for sports-related purposes, including personal training and workouts. While the specified strategy will limit the company’s potential for appealing to the target demographic, it will help to keep the company’s reputation, as well as the extent of customer’s loyalty toward it, very high.

Conclusion and Recommendations

It is highly advised that Nike should perform a thorough research of the traditions of the UAE, especially concerning clothing and the choice of appropriate attires for specific situations. Thus, the organization will avoid possible blunders and reduce the threat of the target audiences being disappointed or offended. In addition, it is recommended that the company should deploy the advertising strategies based on the use of modern media and especially social networks. However, to avoid the scenarios in which advertisements are blocked by corresponding extensions, the company will need to appeal to its audiences by offering them blog posts and vlogs that they can watch to gain insight into Nike’s products and services.

Works Cited

Ahsan, Rakhshan, et al. “Brand Consciousness, Brand Loyalty, Consumer Satisfaction and Buying Behavior of Teenagers for Apparel and Clothing.” European Journal of Business and Management, vol. 9, no. 2017, pp. 34.

Alghizzawi, Mahmoud, et al. “The Role of Social Media in Tourism Marketing in Jordan.” International Journal of Information Technology and Language Studies, vol. 2, no. 3, 2018, pp. 59-70.

Bhatt, Arti. “Media Habit: An Engagement with Current Trends in Media Consumer Preferences.” International Research Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, vol. 3, no. 8, 2017, pp. 1-12.

Johnson, Lauren M., et al. “Globalized Sport Management in Diverse Cultural Contexts: An Introduction.” Globalized Sport Management in Diverse Cultural Contexts. Routledge, 2019. 1-26.

Reis, Thiago Simão Marcondes, et al. “NIKE CORRE: Generation Y Moves the Running Market.” Journal of Sports Science, vol. 4, 2016, pp. 300-310.

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NerdyRoo. (2022, February 13). Nike Company: Digital Marketing, Branding and Strategy. Retrieved from https://nerdyroo.com/nike-company-digital-marketing-branding-and-strategy/

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