Nike's digital marketing strategy in 2021

How Nike as the most successful sportswear brand leveraging digital marketing in pandemic (Case Study)

Vinay Hankare
Vinay Hankare

Professional digital marketing with 3 years of experience in consumer facing industry.

I usually try to cover digital marketing strategy for brands which I have worked in past. If you are a D2C brand owner, you must be looking to step into a new strategy to build a high competitive strength and one of the most successful brands using digital marketing even during a pandemic is Nike (Just do it). 

In this blog, I will be evaluating Nike’s digital marketing strategies and on top of that providing recommendations on how the company can improve its digital marketing strategy but before we head into Nike’s digital marketing strategy there are a few objectives that are needed to build a successful digital marketing strategy. According to Vinay Hankare, there are three key objectives to any marketing related to online presence or activity the three objectives are a brand development, revenue generation and customer care. 

  • Brand development is an online presence that complements and reinforce your organization. 
  • Revenue generation refers to an online presence as a business or channel that increases an organization revenue through direct sales or commerce channelling. 
  • Customer channel is the use of the web to enhance the service and support provided to the customers it can be considered as part of the customer experience of a product or service with these three objectives it should be enough to lead you through digital marketing. 

So let’s get back to Nike. I believe every one of you who is reading this case study has heard of Nike but did you know that Nike’s brand name isn’t just a meaningless larger sequence it was named after the Greek goddess of victory, speech and power which is also known as Nike. Nike’s huge logo represents the wing of the Greek goddess. 

So where does Nike come from? Nike is a global sports brand founded in the United States in 1964 specializing in apparel and other services in the sports industry. The foundation of the organization has become the leading sportswear brand in the united states.

Nike’s early marketing strategy focuses on cream publication then they went on to other media such as television in the 1980s and the 1990s and then through today’s modern digital platforms knowing that marketing in the digital age has evolved into a demand. Nike cuts its television and print advertising spending by 40% between 2010 and 2012 but increases its total digital marketing budget to 2.4 billion dollars in 2012. In 2020 Nike has spent 3.59 million dollars on advertising including digital marketing. Several digital marketing tools that make Nike successful are implemented into the marketing strategy of their business. The main digital marketing tools used by Nike are social media marketing and website marketing. 

Let’s look into Nike’s social media marketing strategy. The Major social media platforms at the moment are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube. A major strategy for social media marketing is to develop information and content that individual users can share with their family, friends and colleagues. 

Most social media marketing strategies rely on word of mouth and offers several advantages like going viral. Marketers can create viral content that will spread quickly from user to user. The advantage, for example, is that it can attract current and potential customers from social media. In the case of Nike, they go beyond the product. They sell more than a product, they are selling aspirations to their customers. Nike’s advertising has shifted from delivering a big message of his product to telling about inspiration, ambition and overcoming obstacles. It uses the form of storytelling in its photos and videos to build meaningful stories and taglines through social media. Nikes showcases its influencer as inspiration Nike sponsors some of the world’s biggest sports stars to gain brand awareness, for example, Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James are the biggest stars in Nike’s book. So far the positive image of the ethic means the positive image of the brand. 

Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James promoting Nike
Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James promoting Nike

Nike can choose to buy products within seconds which is called impulse buying. Impulse Buying is a theory of consumer behaviour in which consumers choose to buy products without any pre-buying objectives. As the top brand in social media, Nike’s social media achieved two of the objectives, brand development and revenue generation. Nike not only able to expand its brand to a larger community but has also increased revenue growth by using social media. Social media provides an extended option to Nike over traditional media to build awareness, motivate purchasers and even build relationships with the stakeholders. Through the extended application of this social media strategy, a well-connected brand community can be formed. 

Nike's India website
Nike’s website homepage

The next digital marketing tool used by Nike is website marketing. Website marketing is the practice of using web channels to spread information about a company’s brand product or service to potential customers. Through channels when they serve online there are also many benefits when it comes to website marketing. Since it uses digital mediums to attract and engage customers it also has the potential to convert virtual registers into real customers. Today anyone with an online business can participate in website marketing and build customer accusation campaigns at little costs.

Nike's Men Collection
Nike’s Men Collection

Nike’s online website has a unique layout and user-friendly navigation that creates a pleasant experience. The first thing you will see is the categories page, each information is displayed on the web page so users can browse the product they want by clicking on the category boxes. The newly launched product appears on the site’s homepage as a video snapshot and capturing the audience’s eyes by building awareness of the new product not only that Nike also offers great shield personalization. Nike’s customers can edit the features based on their preferences. This will satisfy the demanding customers and increased interactivity. In addition, Nike has done an incredible job of using social media and its website for live chat support to ensure that all support questions are answered in the way customers can understand in all kinds of language and available from 24×7. 

As a global brand, it shows that Nike will not take the short route when it comes to helping its customers but also to evaluate this digital marketing tool. Nike’s website is user friendly and effective in attracting customers. The user-friendly website makes digital feel special and feeling that the company cares about them which will invoke brand loyalty. This has led to the achievement of three digital marketing objectives brand development, revenue growth and customer care however since mobile innovation is so advanced in this digitalization era the mobile application of Nike is only available in certain countries. With customers opting for their devices over their stock Nike should focus on the availability of these apps to the worldwide market

Another recommendation is that Nike can take its influencer strategy way further by extending the current strategy. Nike can schedule their sports star to have a live session with his fans to talk about how effective the sportswear is when they are wearing it or what performance it gives. Live streaming allows the streamer to show the product in real-time providing customers with more detailed product information through live streaming. It allows customers to ask question live which the streamer can answer and provide guidance. It can meaningfully influence customer purchase behaviour. 

In conclusion, Nike didn’t sell their products instead, they saw the benefit of their product that comes with it. Running issues that matter to people who jog, so selling them on jogging is always a good first step. This should make us as a marketer to think outside the box. Instead of selling our products, we should be selling the benefit of the product. We should always spread ideas, not products. It is about providing value and building trust with customers in the digital marketing world. If you like this case study please share it with your fellow marketers. 

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