Rather than being simply just a product and technology orientated company Nike began to put the consumer of the product in the spotlight. When asked if Nike is a technology company or marketing company, Knight replied “We’ve come around to saying that Nike is a marketing-oriented company, and the product is our most important marketing tool.” Nike’s decision to put customers interests first turned the from a million dollar company to a billion dollar company.
After receiving significant criticism during the 90’s for their alleged use of child labour, Nike began to make significant changes in their commitment to corporate social responsibility. Being a marketing-orientated company, Knight realised that visibility is important and “It’s not enough to do good things. You have to let people know what you’re doing”. Marketing plays a critical function for Nike, not just in terms of getting their brand to market, but also highlighting the positive steps they have made to improve their environmental record with initiatives such as the Reuse-A-Shoe program.
With Phil Knight’s vision Nike have oozed creativity and innovation from the very beginning. Pushing the boundaries of technology in sports apparel has seen them benefit from superior products in the marketplace. However, in the post Phil Knight era, Nike must remember that its greatest ability comes from successfully connecting with their many customers.
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School