Just do it


Nike was just named innovator of the year by Fast Company. Driven by its stated purpose of “Bringing innovation and inspiration to every athlete in the world,” Nike set itself apart as more than a shoe manufacturer long ago. Nike helped usher in the Participation Age as the first brand to start a conversation with their community. Now they are miles ahead.

It all started back in the 80s. Remember it? While other shoe brands followed the classic business school model of differentiation based on pushing price and product features, Nike spoke with the athlete in a dialog that motivated them to “Just do it.” No reference to nylon fibers, no diagrams of reinforced cushion pads and no hard sell. The buyer felt respected, even honored, to be part of the club.

Today, Nike continues its purpose beyond the sale of its shoes with the launch of the Nike Consumer Relationship Network. They simply call it Nike+. When you put on the FuelBand and register your personal data into their corporate CRN, then you are provided access to monitor and track your “Just do it” progress. Download the mobile app, track your miles, your speed, your friends and you can even join a worldwide race…all within the world’s most popular runner’s club.

Why would you buy any other shoe? Nike provides the motivation to get started. Nike provides tools to help track and maintain your commitments. Besides, it’s not very fashionable to wear Adidas with the Nike bracelet.

Since 2006, Nike revenues and profits are both up almost 60% and its market cap has doubled since the innovations of Nike+ and the FuelBand. When Nike was first founded, there was little hope for a Japanese built shoe to beat the Germans at their craft. Last week Advertising Age declared Nike the victor over Adidas by asserting “Adidas remains stuck on the sole of the shoe, whereas Nike has engineered a system for the soul of the athlete.”