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The Science Behind Nike’s Marketing

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One of the most common brands that anybody can see in a shoe is Nike. And for good reason. The shoe is one of the top 10 largest footwear companies in the world (as of 2020) and has only expanded its influence since then. From celebrities to daily acquaintances, Nike is sported on almost everyone. Now, this can bring up the question as to how Nike is able to make their influence so widespread, and how they are able to maintain this influence when they have tough competition from other competitors such as Adidas and Puma. In this article, we hope to give you reasons as to why Nike is such a well-known brand and is able to sell its sneakers to a large audience.

What Makes Nike’s Marketing so Good?

Nike has greatly worked hard at marketing and invested a lot into it.

In their 2014, fiscal report, Nike reported spending 3.031 billion dollars on what they named “Demand Creation” (essentially a term Nike made for advertising). This number is so huge that it is hard to put in perspective. Nike is essentially spending 100 dollars per second on advertising. It is essentially spending the same amount on marketing that another shoe and clothing brand Under Armour makes in sales. This large amount of money in marketing allows their product to spread in numerous countries around the world and make consumers remember their product. This results in many people recognizing Nike as the first shoe brand that they think as they have been accustomed to seeing the brand in advertisements. This is similar in situation to other brands such as Coke. Whenever you think about a soda, chances are that you will think about Coca-Cola first. This is due to the fact that Coca-Cola spends just as much as Nike, if not more on advertisements, and many people are simply accustomed to seeing Nike in advertisements. This effect of essentially spending to make more greatly applies to Nike and other brands and is partially responsible for their success.

One key marketing technique that Nike uses is promoting its products with celebrities, namely professional and college athletes with sponsorship agreements. Many key celebrities are adored by the public, and many people look up to them. If someone is seeing their favorite athlete wearing a specific brand in all of their games, chances are that person will get more attached to that brand as their favorite player “likes it” as well. Nike understands this concept and as a result, tries to get players from all sports to use their brand so they can target numerous people of different interests. Some examples of Nike’s Sponsorships are:

  • For Golf, they have Tiger Woods
  • For Basketball, they have key figures such as Michael Jordan (a huge investment), Lebron James, and Kobe Bryant
  • For Baseball, they have Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols
  • For Hockey, they have Alex Ovechkin
  • For Soocer, they have immensely popular figures such as Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo
  • For Tennis, they have Roger Federer and Serena Williams (targeting different demographics as one is for males and the other is for females).
  • For Football, they have Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, and Joe Flacco.

Another key marketing technique that Nike uses is emotion. Nike tries to sell a lifestyle, taping into an emotional part of the consumer that wants to aspire to live healthier and have their own greatness (something that is commonplace in sponsorships Nike has with other athletes that dominate their field). This can especially be shown in how Nike advertisements are normally made. Instead of showcasing Nike’s products and talking about why they are so great, Nike advertisements normally focus on the benefits of exercise and the joy that people get when they are doing something with Nike’s products.

Some of the biggest things that allow Nike’s Marketing to flourish are focusing on their products and the developments they have made. Over the years, Nike has added a ton of additional features to their frontline and other products, which greatly helps when advertising and explaining why their products are superior to competitors.

  1. Nike Embraces New Technologies: Nike has established a variety of new technologies over the years that are associated with its brand. For instance, Nike developed a shoe that will auto lace when you put your heel in the shoe. This is a huge jump in sneaker technology as that greatly eliminates the time needed to lace your shoes (this technology can be seen in the HyperAdapt 1.0). They have also adopted a new technology that helps make the shoe lighter and sturdier such as Flyknit. They have also made advances through a shoe called Nike Air Vapormax that has eliminated foam and has replaced the shoe with airbags.
  2. Nike Focuses on the Quality of Their Products and Creating Products that Help Athletes Perform Better: Nike values the consumer and the importance of providing quality in the product. Nike’s quality and durability are a huge part of their strategy to gain consumer recognition for their products. This helps their brand be associated with providing top-notch products for athletes that help them perform better. Throughout their advertisements, Nike is consistent in their message to consumers that they stress the importance of their needs and preferences. The message to consumers is that Nike wants to make your life better at something you have a passion for (any sport or activity) and to improve your overall health.

An additional marketing technique that Nike uses is staying ahead of competitors. Having additional features that are not seen by competitors greatly improves adverting their product and making it stick out to consumers. For instance, Nike launched their website before their competitors (1999) which greatly improved advertising on the web and got a larger consumer base. In contrast, Adidas launched its website in 2006 (7 years later) which greatly hindered marketing for the people who use the internet frequently. Staying ahead of competitors is a strategy that Nike adopts very strictly and as a result, they gain a lot more (and make a lot more).

One final marketing technique that Nike uses is keeping things simple. One of the most iconic parts of Nike is its logo, which is a simple swoosh. Having a simple swoosh allows people to easily recognize the brand extremely easily, without feeling as if the company is too heavily trying to showcase that they made this product. If Nike simply put their name on every product that they made, the consumer wouldn’t feel as comfortable with a simple swoosh logo, which doesn’t take up most of the footwear or other Nike Product. This strategy is so popular that other brands such as Puma and Adidas try to put a simple logo or their name in such a way that it naturally flows with their product design and doesn’t appear as if the company is simply trying to market their name on their product.


There are numerous marketing techniques that are truly responsible for Nike’s success as a brand and company and will help it flourish for years to come. If you are a business owner or are part of a business, you could potentially adopt some of Nike’s time-proven strategies in your own marketing campaigns. It will definitely be interesting to see in the future how Nike expands on their marketing and tries new strategies to make sure that they stay on the top.

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