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Company background- Nike
Before there was the Swoosh, before there was Nike, there were two visionary men who pioneered a
revolution in athletic footwear that redefined the industry. It started with a handshake between two
visionary Oregonians – Bowerman, and his University of Oregon runner, Phil Knight. They, and the
people they hired, evolved and grew the company that became Nike from a U.S.-based footwear
distributor to a global marketer of athletic footwear, apparel and equipment that is unrivalled in the world.
“If you have a body, you are an athlete”. When Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman made this observation
many years ago, he was defining how he viewed the endless possibilities for human potential in sports.
He set the tone and direction for a young company created in 1972, called Nike, and today those same
words inspire a new generation of Nike employees.
Bill Bowerman was a nationally respected track and field coach at the University of Oregon, who was
constantly seeking ways to give his athletes a competitive advantage. He experimented with different
track surfaces, re-hydration drinks and – most importantly – innovations in running shoes. However, the
established footwear manufacturers of the 1950s ignored the ideas he offered them, so Bowerman began
cobbling shoes for his runners.
Phil Knight was a talented middle-distance runner from Portland, who enrolled at Oregon in the fall of
1955, and competed for Bowerman’s track program. Upon graduating from Oregon, Knight earned his
MBA in finance from Stanford University, where he wrote a paper that proposed quality running shoes
could be manufactured in Japan that would compete with more established German brands. But his
letters to manufacturers in Japan and Asia went unanswered, so Knight took a chance.
He made a cold-call to Onitsuka Co. in Kobe, Japan, and persuaded the manufacturer of Tiger shoes to
make Knight a distributor of Tiger running shoes in the United States. When the first set of sample shoes
arrived, Knight sent several pairs to Bowerman, hoping to make a sale. Instead, Bowerman stunned
Knight by offering to become his partner, and to provide his footwear design ideas to Tiger. (1)
The company mission is:
To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.(1)
Product and services
Nike products and services include a wide range of sportswear that are designed and created under the
many categories such as Nike Action Sports, Nike Basketball, Nike Football, Nike Sportswear, Nike
Tennis, Nike Women's and Digital Sport. NIKE Inc.’s wholly-owned affiliates, reported as Other
Businesses – Cole Haan, Converse, Inc., Hurley International, LLC, NIKE Golf, and Umbro Ltd also play
a significant role in their future growth plans. (1)
Competitors – Reebok
Reebok is an American-inspired global brand that creates and markets sports and lifestyle products built
upon a strong heritage and authenticity in sports, fitness and women’s categories. The brand is
committed to designing products and marketing programs that reflect creativity and the desire to
constantly challenge the status quo. (2)
Nike Inc. is a multinational company that uses the concept of effective communications widely within the
organisation. It makes use of a wide range of marketing communications strategies that help the
organisation identify the needs and wants of different types of people in their target markets around the
world. Nike Inc. has been very successful in applying the communications concepts and strategies in their
One of the main objectives of Nike is to utilise a wide range of marketing communications tactics that
reach all the people, of different genders, ages, nationalities and culture, in their target markets around
the world. To achieve this, Nike has introduced a marketing communications group that is used when
introducing its latest products. The marketing communications tactics used by Nike includes various forms
of visual aids and point of purchase advertising that help the organisation strengthen the position of its
products and brand in the market, and deliver the marketing message effectively.
Nike produces products and services that cater for the needs and wants of people all over the world.
They develop quality and innovative products that meet the demand of their target audiences. As a global
marketer, Nike follows marketing communications tactics that are appropriate for different continents and
nations. Since Nike has branches in different parts of the world, such as Europe and Asia, they use
traditional marketing communications tactics that are most suitable for the different nations they operate
in. Marketing communications tactics include channels such as television, print media, billboards and
other promotional tools. Similarly, in order to reach their target audiences all around the world, Nike uses
contemporary marketing communications channels, such as the internet, which connects people around
the world with the business. Nike has introduced an interactive communications approach where
customers around the world are provided the opportunity to access different sites to customize Nike
products and order online. Thereby, Nike’s customers have access to its store from anywhere around the
Another form of effective marketing communications used by Nike is their celebrity endorsement. Nike
collaborates with internationally recognised athletes who can make the most effective appeal to the target
audiences. Television advertisements, sales promotions and branding are other forms of marketing
communications most commonly used by Nike to deliver its marketing message to its target audiences.
The line “Just Do It”, associated with the brand, has been one of the most effective marketing
communications channel. These three words have brought in a worldwide recognition for Nike. Whenever
someone utters these three words they unknowingly promote Nike amongst the people around them.
Nike has been able to remain topmost of the multinational companies mainly due to its usage of effective
marketing communications concepts and strategies together with the wide range of marketing
communications tactics used to reach to its target audiences. (1)
The above case study is based on different sources, however, information has been changed for
assessment purposes and does not reflect the current situation or the management practices of
1. Based on the case study material and using your own understanding, give recommendations as to
how Nike could use Push and Pull strategies of communications to improve their marketing
Push and Pull communications strategies are used in marketing as two distinct methods of promoting
products and services. These strategies are persuasive communications strategies used to influence the
purchase decisions of consumers. Thereby, marketers persuade consumers to buy certain products and
services favourable to the marketer. As marketers, it is important to know how to differentiate between the
two strategies, as well as how to use these strategies in conjunction in order to gain the maximum results
by applying the Push and Pull communications strategies in their marketing communications tactics.
In Push strategy, the customers do not request or demand the product or service. Instead the product or
the service is pushed to the customer through marketing communications methods such as personal
selling, advertising, email marketing and direct marketing. The Push strategy represents ways and means
to be proactive in marketing communications when approaching the target markets. This strategy is
commonly used by small businesses or start-up companies to create awareness for their products and
In Pull strategy, the customers request or demand the products and services through delivery channels.
This strategy mostly targets long-term objectives, such as customer and brand loyalty. Different marketing
communications channels are used in the Pull strategy to generate publicity for the products and
services, and attract customers to create and increase demand for the products and services.
Nike Inc. uses many marketing communications strategies to achieve success in their marketing
communications campaigns. With all the current marketing communications strategies already used by
Nike, considering Push and Pull communications strategies will help them enhance their existing
marketing communications tactics. To apply the Push communications strategies, the company sales
force and trade promotion activities can be used, and thereby promoting the Nike brand and products,
and creating demand for the products. Similarly, the Pull promotional strategy can be adopted through
continuous advertising and consumer promotions in order to create demand for the products. Nike
already spends and invests highly on their advertising and promotional campaigns. These promotional
campaigns can be focused around Push and Pull strategies to gain optimum results and effective market
success. These strategies should be considered in creating their marketing communications plans.
Effective use of both Push and Pull communications strategies will help Nike to influence and persuade
consumers to purchase more Nike products, and gain competitive advantage in the market.
For successful application of the Pull strategy, effective delivery of information is also important. A
properly informed customer will demand more products from the company. Therefore, Nike should focus
delivery channels to share proper and accurate information with their target audiences. Nike introduces
new products and innovations more often to the market. Therefore, the company should invest more on
advertising and promotion to communicate information about the new products to the target market
effectively. Thereby, the company can create awareness among the customers and create demand for
the products in their target markets to increase sales and profit. The pull of the consumers to the products
helps the organisation to continue innovations and investments on new technology and communications.
Thereby, the company gets the opportunity to render improved products and services to their customers.
Using the Push and Pull strategies effectively can help Nike to function well in the industry and maintain a
balance in their marketing communications strategies that will help them render efficient service to their
1. Nike [homepage on the Internet]. No Date.[cited 2012.05.30]. Available from: http://nikeinc.com
2. Reebok [homepage on the Internet]. No Date.[cited 2012.05.30]. Available from: