Former University of Oregon track coach and co-founder of Nike Bill Bowerman once said: “If you have a body, you are an athlete!” (Nike Inc., n.d.) It is this way of thinking that describes the root of Nike’s approach to marketing. Every person is a potential athlete or “consumer”. This is a common thinking in the realm of athletics but when Bill Bowerman said this, it was in direct reference to the shoe industry. From their marketing strategies to their selling philosophies, Nike has developed one of the most recognizable and demanded names and logo ever. Nike, which is the name of the Greek Goddess of Victory, was born in 1972 when Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) launched its first branded shoe at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. A former University of Oregon track team member Phil Knight created Blue Ribbon Sports. At Oregon, Knight was coached by the legendary Bill Bowerman and then went on to become alumnus of the Stanford School of Business. BRS was crafted in 1962 when Knight made a deal with Onitsuka Tiger Company, a Japanese shoe company, to import their shoes to the United States. Knight had the idea to sell a low cost shoe with a very high quality, with high aspirations of taking Adidas out of the top spot in the athletic shoe market. In 1964, Bill Bowerman decided to join Knight as a partner at BRS to create a joint quest to be number one. Bowerman redesigned the Tiger shoes while Knight acted as the accountant/personal seller and the two went on the road to sell their newly crafted sneakers at track meets and local shoe stores. By 1966, Blue Ribbon Sports opened its first store in Oregon, which is where Nike is still currently headquartered. Knight and Bowerman managed the store with the only one employee, Jeff Johnson. By 1972 BRS was able to subcontract its own shoe line and began selling Nike Brand shoes. Over the next decade Nike expanded almost double its size each year from the previous year. BRS officially became Nike in 1978 and opened manufacturing plants all over the U.S. Nike was a household name for most athletes by early 1980’s. Today, Nike is the world's leading designer, maker and distributor of athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a series activities, as well as sports-inspired civic shoes. The company’s target market is in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, with its headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Nike employs around 38,000 people to produce footwear for running, training, basketball and soccer use. The company also sells tennis, golf, baseball, football, bicycling, volleyball, wrestling, cheerleading, aquatic activities, hiking, outdoor activities and other athletic shoes. The company provides these products for men, women and children. As the leading global footwear brand, Nike reported revenues of $7.0 billion for first quarter, 2014. Identification of Target Market(s)
In its beginning Nike’s focus was primarily on track and field, and for the most part track athletes were their target market. One of the first individuals to endorse a Nike product was a man who exemplified their style and way of conducting business, Steve Prefontaine. Prefontaine was a household name in the late seventies and has gone down in history as one of the best American track and field athletes ever. Prefontaine was a friend of Knight and had been coached by Bowerman at the University of Oregon. Prefontaine embodied what Nike wanted as its differential advantage of other companies, due to his brash attitude, high talent level, and cavalier mentality. This is why Steve Prefontaine and Nike were a tremendous tandem in the early years of Nike’s existence. Athletes are still currently the majority consumers of Nike’s products. This is because of the usefulness that goes along with the items. Nike focuses on these consumers by means of agreements with sports team, college sponsorships, and endorsement with individual athletes. Through this, Nike is able...
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