Could a famously masculine company finally click with female customers? That was the challenge behind Nike Goddess, whose goal was to change how the company designed for, sold, and communicated with women. In its 30-year history, Nike had become the undisputed leader in sports marketing. But beneath the success was an Achilles’ heel. Nike is named after a woman – the Greek goddess of victory – but for most of its history, the company had been perceived as being mostly about men. Could Nike do more to realize the full potential of female customers? And how could it afford not to, given the threats to its future with Air Jordan running out of air and brands like Skechers digging into the teen market with shoes inspired by skateboarding, not basketball. That was the huge question at Nike HQ. The launch of Nike Goddess was the makings of an answer. Just Doing It Differently
For much of its history, Nike’s destiny was controlled by its founders, Phil Knight and his running buddies, who signed up athletes in locker rooms and made the executive decisions. But by throwing together a diverse team of people with different backgrounds and different levels of seniority, Nike has found that it can keep many of its core attributes while adding new sources of inspiration. Take the combination of star designer John Hoke and newcomer Mindy Grossman, vice president of global apparel. Hoke designed the look and feel of the first Nike Goddess store. Then Grossman, whose career has included helping make Ralph Lauren into a retail icon, pitched1 the design ideas to Nike’s top retailers as stores within stores. Now it looks like Nike has a chance to reach a crucial objective: double its sales to women by the end of the decade. How to Sell to Women
Nike Goddess began as a concept for a women-only store, and there’s a reason why. Many of the retail settings in which...