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NIKE - A lesson in building a multi billion dollar brand.

Updated: Nov 30, 2018



Nike faced a number of ups and downs and restructuring in its promotion strategy and in 1986 the total sales touched a figure of 1 billion dollars. Nike as of 2018 is valued at around 90 billion.


Building a brand and a loyal fan base had never been as easy as it is now. In the recent times, we have seen plenty of brands getting created and become global sensations courtesy of social media platforms. We are living in an interesting era which is witnessing tremendous changes in the way people communicate and share about their likes and dislikes.

Though technology and social media have created newer ways for brands to reach and interact with their customers, yet building a brand is still driven by the same old classic rules of building an unforgettable image in the minds of the customers and delivering products which gives a sense of possession of something rare.

There’s one such brand from the previous era which has done all the things right even when there was no social media or technology and even till date enjoys a dominant position in its niche- That brand is none other than Nike whose logo the red swoosh or the tick mark and their tagline “just do it” are the most recognized brand elements across the world. Nike enjoys the same brand perception and customer desire right from far east Asia till south America from Europe till Oceania. The Nike Story

Nike was born out of a collective desire of a coach and his student to make better shoes which enabled athletes to improve performance and build a sustainable business around it. Phil Knight who was the co-founder of Nike Inc. was an active athlete during his college days at the University of Oregon and was coached under Bill Bowerman. Phil would later revisit his coach after eight long years when he was in the process of setting up Blue ribbon sports company which would later become Nike.


Phil Knight after his graduation served in the US army for eight years and later joined Stanford Graduate School of Business for a masters in business. It was at Stanford that Phil discovered that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. Post graduating from business school he set out on a trip across the world to discover the opportunity which would give wings to his entrepreneurial dreams.


While he was in Japan at a place called Kobe he discovered that opportunity he had been searching for; which was to import Japanese shoes from Onitsuka Tiger into the US as he believed that the US had a great demand and supply gap for such shoes. Phil then went on talk with the head of the shoemaker company Onitsuka and convinced him on selling 300 pairs which would then be sold in the US. After he returned to the US he took an accounting job to support himself with the delivery of the first consignment of the shoes arrived after almost a year.

Phil got in touch with his coach Bill Bowerman who was more than happy to work as the product specialist at Blue ribbon sports. There was no looking back for this duo after this as they kept on importing and selling more and more shoes until it reached a point where Onitsuka raised a concern on maintaining the exclusivity of their brand and thus came the ending of collaboration between Onitsuka and blue ribbon sports. This moment was more of a blessing in disguise and helped shape up the origins of Nike from Blue ribbon sports. The Sweet Success

In the 70’s Nike was busy breaking its own records and was growing it’s annual sales figures exponentially year on year and in the year 1981 Nike went international and expanded to Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Nike faced a number of ups and downs and restructuring in its promotion strategy and in 1986 the total sales touched a figure of 1 billion dollars. Nike as of 2018 is valued at around 90 billion.

The brand has become such a phenomenon now that they have elite athletes of the world endorsing their brand and their products encouraging the young and the old alike to have an active lifestyle. Nike has become no less than a cult among their customers throughout the world and is contributing in its own way to the growth of sports and adoption of sports as a part of life.

Let us know in the comments, what did you learn from the story of Nike. #Nike #SuccessStory #BrandBuilding #SaurabhBhandari #BusinessCoach #NikeStory #BusinessRead #NikeHistory #Branding #Entrepreneurship #BusinessMentor

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