I came across a great article from Scott Cendrowski at Fortune on what Nike is doing with their Nike Digital Sport. It details the heightened emphasis Nike is placing on the digital possibilities for their brand. Secretive and intense, these efforts are less about marketing a new product and more about deepening a connection between brand and consumer. The latest example of why smart marketers are saying it’s not about ads, it’s about engagement. And that makes perfect sense, because Nike has nearly unlimited possibilities for strong daily engagement with its fans. This new division has only been around since 2010, but from the sounds of things, it will become more and more integral, in fact central, to the marketing of this brand from this point forward. The data capture and relationship building is amazing in its approach. The shift in marketing spend and emphasis is fast and furious. And frankly from a customer viewpoint it’s all a little creepy and intimidating. But hey, with a stock increase of 120% vs. 2.5% for the S&P 500 it appears that someone thinks they are doing something smart.
Found it interesting that it works so well for some athletes/customers but not as well for certain other sports. The test and revise approach though will surely yield a connection at some point. Only now it will continue to evolve in a more and more direct way – and the bet is that it forms even more powerful connections than those that used to be based on the mega-celebrity athletes they built the Nike brand upon.
But to me, the most interesting thing I found in reading the article is Nike’s fear that their size was a detriment. The concept that biggest is rarely best in the brand game. That they were worried they were too big to be nimble and cool. Seems to be in line and to validate the shift that terrific brands large and small are making. Those that see great value in having smaller more nimble agencies in the fold. Great thinking is certainly not unique to large established companies. In fact, more and more brands everyday are concluding that less layers equals less bureaucracy – which often means an increased likelihood that a significant number of good ideas and insights can stay alive long enough to flourish and become great.
Regardless of your size, you need to be smart as hell and able to more fast. You’ve heard it a million times, but bigger isn’t better, better is better. Even as we grow, that mantra drives the thinking around here every single day.
Kinda gets the adrenaline flowing…makes me want to go work out.