Phil Knight is the founder and CEO of the athletic gear company, Nike. He was born in Portland, Oregon, on February 24th, 1938. Knight and Nike helped start a sports business revolution in the 1970s, changing old-fashioned tennis shoes into highly specialized equipment and promoting them as symbols of athletic prowess and success. Nike's success made Knight one of America's wealthiest men. Celebrity Endorsement Strategy
Known as a taskmaster CEO, Knight is also particular when it comes to matters of promotion. "Hi, I'm Phil Knight and I don't believe in advertising," was the way Nike's ad agency president remembered meeting his new client. Signing up perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, the former Chicago Bulls' superstar Michael Jordan, was only one of the breakthrough strategies that made Nike-wearers the envy of schoolyard pickup games everywhere. The Nike image has been also linked closely with notable "bad boys" names like McEnroe, Andre Agassi, and Charles Barkley. Redefining the Shoe market
High interest in sports gave Knight the impetus to study the way track shoes were being made and marketed in the late 1950s. For assistance he consulted his coach, the University of Oregon's famed Bill Bowerman, who himself would become a senior member of the Nike team. Together they determined that American shoes were inferior in style and quality, too heavy, and too easily damaged. The Japanese, on the other hand, were experimenting with new, trimmed-down styles fashioned in lightweight, hardy nylon. Knight wrote his Stanford business-school term paper on the subject, then a few years later got involved personally by visiting Japan and arranging to import new-design running shoes himself.
"In the early days, anybody with a glue pot and a pair of scissors could get into the shoe business," Knight told Geraldine Willigan in a Harvard Business Review interview. "So the way to stay ahead was through...
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